Planning a large relocation takes a lot of time, effort, and forethought. Before you begin to pack your possessions, take a moment to consider which type of packing and storage container is best for your needs and budget. Here, we have compiled a side-by-side comparison of the pros and cons of moving boxes and plastic totes.


The first aspect of potential storage and moving containers that you should consider is the price. Chances are, you’re already struggling to stay within your budget due to the expenses of moving your entire household into a new home. You have very little wiggle room when it comes to purchasing moving containers. Let’s take a look at how plastic totes and moving boxes stack up in price.

  • Moving Boxes. The wonderful thing about cardboard boxes is how affordable they are. If you know where to look, you can even find discarded cardboard boxes at your local grocery store that can be obtained free of charge. If you’d rather use brand new boxes, they can be purchased at your local home improvement or office supply store for cents per box.
  • Plastic Totes. Plastic totes that are large enough to move and store items can be found at your local home improvement, office supply, or department store. While they are easy to find, they can be rather costly. Expect to pay at least $30 for a quality storage tote.


This is a property to consider when you want to make a worthwhile investment in storage containers and moving boxes. This is based purely on personal preference because some people prefer disposable items.

  • Moving Boxes. Due to their light construction and thin material, cardboard boxes rank very low on the re-usability scale. There are heavy duty boxes that can be reused, but this can only occur so many times before the box is completely spent.
  • Plastic Totes. Plastic totes are the pinnacle of re-usability. They are crafted from sturdy plastic and withstand being dropped and stacked. A quality plastic tote can serve you for years as a packing or storage container.


For the environmentally conscious consumer, the ability to recycle damaged storage containers is an important issue.

  • Moving Boxes. The great news about moving boxes is that you can recycle them! Not only can they be taken to a local recycling plant that accepts large cardboard boxes but they can also be used to make compost since they’re made of wood pulp and will decompose naturally.
  • Plastic Totes. Plastic totes are tricky when it comes to recycling. No matter what size or type of plastic totes you purchase, it’s going to be difficult to find a recycling center to take them. However, there is a multitude of other ways to recycle your plastic totes.


The ability of your containers to protect your cherished possessions is the main reason that boxes and totes are purchased. Let’s take a look at the level of protection you’ll receive from each container.

  • Moving Boxes. Cardboard boxes will offer a moderate amount of protection during their first use. After the first use, their integrity will quickly degrade as they become damaged, torn, and worn down. Cardboard boxes also cannot protect against water damage.
  • Plastic Totes. Plastic totes offer the highest amount of protection. Their strong construction provides multiple uses for storage, relocation, and packing. They are also waterproof and are resistant to crushing damage.

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