I move a lot—every year or two. I hate buying lots of expensive moving boxes only to throw them away after a couple of weeks. It wastes trees and energy. But now there’s a better way if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
For my last few moves, I used a stack of file boxes from the office supply store. File boxes are relatively inexpensive, assemble quickly without tape, and are sturdy enough to hold heavy loads like books.
This time I stumbled on a San Francisco startup company with a great new idea. ZippGo delivers big, plastic boxes to your old home, and then picks them up two weeks later after you move. The boxes can be reused hundreds of times. The cost is about the same as buying cardboard boxes. My ZippGo boxes were roomy, sturdy, easy, ecological—what’s not to like?
I started by ordering the 24 box package online. I wasn’t sure from the website how big the boxes are, or if there was an assortment of sizes. 24 boxes turned out to be enough for my one bedroom apartment, with 10 of the boxes devoted solely to books. I had to use a few old file boxes too.
The ZippGo order form allowed me to request two, 2 hour windows on my delivery and pickup dates. They called me the night before to confirm my delivery. One thing I didn’t like is that they charged extra for delivery because I had an elevator in my old apartment. That didn’t slow things down at all. The new place had stairs and a gate to deal with, which did require a lot more work. I can see charging extra for stairs, but not for an elevator.
I was surprised how compact the boxes were. They stack up like food containers. I had visions of piles of boxes turning my apartment into an obstacle course, but it wasn’t like that at all.
I was also surprised at how big the boxes are inside. This is really helpful for bulky items like kitchen equipment and clothes. Here’s a picture of a file box inside a ZippGo box to show the size.
The boxes come with adhesive labels and several colors of cable ties. You don’t need tape with ZippGo boxes. You just shut the cover and hold it closed with a cable tie. The different colors enable you to indicate to the movers which room the box should go to. ZippGo removes the labels after your move, so you don’t have to deal with that. I guess it’s part of cleaning the boxes (and they were all very clean).
Notice the boxes don’t have an URL on them, only a phone number and a Twitter @ name. Thinking ahead there!
The boxes are made of heavy plastic. You can easily stack them four or even five high. This was really great after the move. They didn’t take up so much room that I felt like I had to dig myself out right away.
ZippGo provides a special dolly that fits under a stack of boxes. The movers really liked this.
I had two weeks after the boxes were delivered to move and unpack. The pickup time was scheduled when I ordered, but I was ready to turn them in a couple days early. I emailed ZippGo and they immediately scheduled an earlier pickup.
The ZippGo truck shows their whole value proposition. It looks like a web page on wheels to me.
And here go the boxes.
I would recommend ZippGo boxes for anybody who would throw away their moving boxes after they move. The cost is the same, unless you are reusing random boxes from the grocery store dumpster, but I stopped doing that a long time ago. The service is only available in the Bay Area for now, but hopefully they will expand their range in the future.