Are Cardboard Boxes OK for Storage?

If it’s time to pack some things up, remember that putting things into a self-storage facility is a significant decision. When you take the time to go through your belongings to determine what you want to keep for a later date, you want to make sure that those items remain in good condition for when that later date comes.

This means that the way you pack your items is important. The packing material and type of moving boxes you choose will have a large impact on the condition of your belongings when you decide to take them out of storage.

While there are many types of boxes out there (including specialty boxes) there are two primary box types – cardboard and plastic.

Cardboard Boxes

Because they are less expensive and more easily accessible, most people want to know if it is a good idea to use cardboard boxes for storing their belongings.

There really is no right or wrong answer to this question. There are many factors that play into an answer. Let’s consider a few questions:

  • Where did these boxes come from? Are they used boxes that have debris in/on them, or are they fresh boxes?
  • Do these boxes have lids that can be taped down or will they remain open at all times?
  • Are they sturdy boxes with reinforced bottoms?
  • If these are previously used boxes, have they been broken down multiple times and compromised?

The integrity of the box is very important. While you can go to the supermarket and get a used box for free, it may cost you in the long run if a grease stain on the box attracts pests.

Cardboard boxes do have their pros and cons. On the positive side, they are lightweight to carry, inexpensive, and easy to stack. On the negative side, cardboard boxes can easily attract pests, tear easily, and often attract moisture

In either case, if you do decide to go with cardboard boxes, remember that they are a good temporary storage solution, but not the best long term solution.

Alternative Storage Solutions

If you decide that cardboard storage is not for you, do not fret. There are a lot of storage container options out there.  

The other main storage solution is plastic containers.. These come in every shape and size. When the lid is correctly sealed, no water or moisture can permeate the bin. This makes plastic boxes a much better option for long term storage solutions. You also don’t have to use any tape seal the lid.

Because these bins come in a variety of colors, it is easy to stay organized according to seasons and to determine what’s inside simply by the color of the box or the lid. You can also purchase clear boxes so that you more readily see what is inside the box without having to open it.

Plastic containers come with removable lids or with lids that come unhinged and lock in the middle so that you never lose them. Additionally, plastic containers have built-in handles for guaranteed easy carrying. Unlike a cardboard box, the handles will never rip and leave the contents of your box spilled all over the ground.


In the end, the decision between cardboard boxes or plastic boxes is all about what is most important to you. Weigh the pros and cons and decide which features provide the best solutions for you.

If you are looking for low prices and are storing inside a climate controlled environment, cardboard boxes may be a good choice for you. They stack easily, are light weight, and you can mark the contents right on the box.

If you are looking for something that is more air-tight, will keep out moisture and pests, and will stand up to the test of time, then you probably want to invest in plastic containers.If you are in the Jackson, Tennessee area and are looking for an affordable self-storage facility, contact Markham Self Storage today. No matter how you choose to store your items, we have the space for you. We even offer moving supplies and U-Haul rentals.

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