A common question when moving is if purchasing moving boxes is necessary. The answer really comes down to needs and costs. Any fragile or sentimental items, at the very least, should always be packed in professional moving boxes. Moving boxes are usually the same weight and quality as shipping boxes, unless you purchase specific boxes made with thicker cardboard for heavier packing. There are many different types of moving boxes and most have a specific purpose. Also, remember that no matter how big the box is, it shouldn't weigh more than 50 lbs. That way they are liftable, whether it is professional movers or yourself moving them. Below, About.com breaks down the boxes by size and function.

Type of boxes you may need and what they're used for:

Box Type



1.5 cubic foot moving box

16 x 12½ x 12½ inches

The box used the most and can safely carry up to 60 lbs. Again, keep weight under 50 lbs. This box is great for books, for packing kitchen items, dishes, fragiles and small appliances, lamps or shades

3.0 cubic foot moving box

18 x 18 x 16 inches

Can safely carry up to 65 lbs. Great for clothing, pots and pans and electronics.

4.5 cubic foot moving box

18 x 18 x 24 inches

Can safely carry up to 65 lbs. Great for larger lamps, linens and larger kitchen appliances.

6.0 cubic foot moving box

22 x 22 x 21 ½ inches

Can carry up to 70 lbs, but a word of caution: Do not over stuff this box as it can become very heavy. Use this box for pillows, toys, large blankets and couch/chair cushions.

6.1 cubic foot moving box

24 x 18 x 24 inches

This box is a rectangular shape and may work better for blankets and comforters and cushions. Use it for objects that do not fit properly into the 6.0 cubic box.

Hanging wardrobe boxes

Various sizes (small, medium and large)

Each boxes has a metal bar and shaped just like a wardrobe. They are great for hanging closet items that you can't pack flat. Just remember that they are heavy and take up a lot of room. If you can pack clothes flat, this will save you some money. Some movers use these boxes to move chandeliers or delicate wind chimes that are better to move hanging than flat.

Lay Down Wardrobe Box

approximately 32 x 19 7/8 x 9 inches

This resembles a dresser drawer and is great for packing clothing that you prefer to only fold once. Just remember not to over pack this box as it cannot withstand heavy items.

Picture and/or Mirror Boxes

All mirror boxes can be telescoped, meaning that two can be put together to get a longer fit.

When fitting two boxes together, make sure you use a strong filament tape to secure them together and to handle the additional weight. Mirror boxes are designed to handle framed pictures, artwork and mirrors. Bubble wrap is recommended for all framed items.

Dish packs

Great for packing glasses, cups or liquor/wine bottles. Just make sure you don't over pack them. Check the weight to ensure they are still manageable. Over-packing dish packs can result in dropped boxes and shattered items.

Mattress boxes

These boxes aren't necessary as most movers will wrap your mattress in plastic bags which are much cheaper to purchase. However, boxes will keep your mattress from being punctured or if it's being stored for a while, it'll protect it better from outside forces. Mattress boxes come in many sizes from cribs to twin to king-size.