moving boxes represented by a child playing with empty boxes

Different Sizes of Moving Boxes Explained

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Whether you’re buying wholesale moving boxes from a retailer or packing with ones already around the house, choosing the right box size for your items can make a massive difference in the efficiency of your move.


Using too large boxes leaves them only partially full. Meanwhile, undersized boxes mean you might need to repack some items. Knowing what small, medium, large, and extra-large moving boxes are best suited for can help you pack strategically. In this article, we define and explore each size of the wholesale moving box. We also give some recommendations for how much weight to pack in them and typical uses for each size.

Small Moving Boxes

Small moving boxes, typically under 15-20 gallons in size, are best for lighter items that don’t require a lot of protection. Clothes, linens, pillows, and similar soft items that can be loosely packed make good use of small boxes. Small kitchen items like cups, glasses, and cutlery can also fit nicely into a compact small moving box. Lightweight decorative items like potted plants, vases, and figurines will be protected enough within a small box. 

For optimal stackability and lifting, you should pack around 30 to 40 pounds in each small box. Overstuffing a small box will make it bulky and hard to carry or stack stably. Standard exterior dimensions for small moving boxes are around 12 by 12 by 10 inches or 10 by 10 by 12 inches. Standard small moving boxes can typically hold 6 to 8 moving layers of folded clothes and light items. Small moving boxes are a good choice for packing lightweight, low-priority items that you won’t need access to during your move.

Medium Boxes

Medium moving boxes that range from 20 to 40 gallons are well suited for moderately heavy or bulky items. Packed dishes and glassware will benefit from the added protection of a medium moving box compared to a small box. Medium boxes also work well for kitchen appliances like blenders, coffee makers, and toasters that have some heft but don’t need an overly large box. Books, binders, documents, and home office supplies are ideal for medium moving boxes. This is because they can fill the space without being crammed in. 

For medium moving boxes, aim to pack around 40 to 50 pounds of weight. This makes them easy to transport without straining. Exterior dimensions for medium moving boxes commonly fall between 15 by 15 by 16 inches and 18 by 18 by 12 inches. These medium moving box sizes have 8 to 11 layers available for packing. This allows you to fill the space without overloading.

Medium moving boxes offer a good balance between capacity and manageability. This makes them suitable for moderate-weight and bulkier items that are part of everyday use. Packing these types of things in medium boxes can make your move day go more smoothly.


Large Moving Boxes

You will need large moving boxes of 40 gallons or more for the bulkiest items in a home. Lamps with long shades, electronics like computers and TVs, fitness equipment, and bundles of seasonal linens are all suited for large boxes. Because large boxes have more space, they minimize the total number of boxes you’ll need to pack, label, and load while still properly containing their contents.

To get the full benefit of a large moving box’s capacity without causing issues during your move, aim to pack between 50 and 70 pounds of weight in each one. Large boxes that are underfilled can become unbalanced and harder to manage. On the other hand, overstuffed large boxes may become too heavy and unwieldy.   

Typical exterior dimensions for large moving boxes range from 24 by 18 by 18 inches up to 20 by 20 by 24 inches. These measurements allow for 12 to 16 layers of packing. Therefore, large boxes can hold multiple items of varying sizes while maintaining some separation between them.

Large boxes are always a good choice for bulky and heavier items that tend to waste space in smaller boxes, like extended surface areas items like mirrors and large artwork. Packing large items in large moving boxes right from the start can help maximize efficiency during your move.

Extra-Large Boxes

Extra-large moving boxes over 60 gallons in size provide the ultimate in packing capacity. They are used for the bulkiest items in a home move, including large appliances like washers, dryers, stoves, furniture parts like table legs and side panels, and bulkier home decor such as sculptures and large rugs.

Because of their significant size and weight, extra-large moving boxes require more care when packing and lifting. Aim to pack between 70 and 100 pounds in an extra-large box. Then enlist help when lifting or moving full extra-large moving boxes.

Typical exterior dimensions for extra-large boxes start around 30 by 24 by 24 inches to accommodate oversized items. Extra-large moving boxes give over 20 layers of packing space. Therefore, they can hold multiple bulky parts that need to stay together during a move. Properly packing large, unwieldy items in extra-large boxes from the start helps maximize efficiency, safety, and protection during your relocation.


In summary, choosing the correctly sized moving box for each type of item in your home can greatly improve the efficiency of your move. Small boxes work well for lightweight items, while extra-large boxes are needed for bulky appliances and furniture. Matching items to optimal box sizes will minimize wasted space and repacking during your big move day.

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