All my US life, the ritual leading up to moving was to scavenge and beg for reasonably clean, sturdy cardboard boxes from wherever you could get them. For free. For my last UK move, I was fortunate enough to be employed by a company that received loads of things in nice, clean, sturdy boxes and they let me have tonnes of them for free. (I then gave them away to another needy box-hunter on freecycle.)
Apparently, this generous box situation is not so common here and the norm seems to be paying for new boxes when you need them. I read something about laws that tell companies how to dispose of empty boxes and although I agree with needing to get it done in an eco-friendly way, I don’t understand why people shouldn’t be able to reuse them for moving house. Perhaps it is because the fate of the boxes cannot be guaranteed after the move. I don’t really know. What I do know is that there is a huge market for expensive cardboard boxes on the web, and it takes time and effort to find a company that won’t rip you off. I found an inexpensive box shop after comparing maybe a dozen different moving/removals/office supply/storage companies. They’re perfectly good boxes, but I had no idea that boxes are an expected expense to consider when moving. Tape, yeah, I was prepared to buy some packing tape, maybe some bubblewrap too, but the boxes?
This expat learned something new, even after years of living here. 🙂