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The Essential Cardboard Storage Box Guide

Jon Fesmire | June 10, 2019 @ 9:50 AM

Whether you’re preparing to put a bunch of your belongings in storage, or you’re packing for a big move, it’s important to pack your things safely.

There’s a wide variety in types and sizes of boxes. Some are for specific classes of items, while others are more general use. We’ll start with small boxes and go from there. The measurements are listed in inches.

Small boxes

Small boxes and document boxes are sturdy and excellent for a variety of heavy items. . Small boxes are generally around 16x12.5x12.5 while document boxes are 15x12x10. If you decide to use only one type of box, use one of these sizes. Many items fit well into them, including dishes, books, clothes, and toys. In fact, we often recommend using primarily one box size for storage as they’ll be easier to stack and will maximize your space.

Medium boxes

Medium sized boxes are also sturdy.The typical dimensions for a medium box are 18x18x16. They’re good for semi-heavy and bulkier items. Use these for pots, pans, and some small appliances. They also work for toys.

Large boxes

Large boxes can’t hold much more weight than medium boxes, but the extra room is great for towels, clothes, and bedding, and even pillows. They work well for toys, too. They’re generally 18x18x24. Since they’re not as sturdy as small or medium boxes, pack wisely.

Extra Large Boxes

Extra large boxes are tall at 24x18x 24. Again, they’re not as strong as smaller boxes, but are great for bulky, but light objects, such as comforters and big pillows. You definitely won’t want to pack heavy items in one of these, as that will make it really difficult, and awkward, to lift.

Specialty Boxes

Now, we come to boxes by function. Ever worried about packing a dress, coat, or pants that you have hanging in your closet, because you don’t want them to wrinkle? Wardrobe boxes allow your clothes to hang just like they do in the closet. These 20x24x49 boxes come with an interior bar you can hang your clothing from.

After the winter holidays, it’s nice to have a box to keep your ornaments in so you’ll know they’re safe in storage. You can find ornament boxes with a variety of compartments, and these boxes stack well. If you have a TV to store, you can even find flat screen television boxes.

Want to protect your drinking glasses and wine? There are specialty boxes for both glasses and  wine, and they are often corrugated for extra protection.


Whether you’re primarily using one box size or a variety, stack lighter boxes on heavier boxes. A good way to do this is to stack by size and weight. You’ll stack your small or document boxes on top of each other, from heaviest on the bottom to lightest on the top. In another stack, you’ll do the same with your medium boxes, and so on. This will help maximize space and keep your stacks sturdy.

Climate Control

Using the right boxes is an important step when putting your belongings in self storage, and it shows that you want to make sure your possessions remain in good shape. Depending on where you live, seriously consider getting a storage unit with climate control. These units rent for about 30% more than standard ones, but protect our belongings from heat, cold, humidity, and dryness.

We hope this guide makes it easier for you to move or prepare various belongings for storage. If you’re wondering how to pack and store specific items, peruse our blog. You’ll find help on storing everything from art to washing machines.

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