If you’re moving soon, you might be pricing out moving options of all kinds, including using a shipping or storage container. When you’re thinking about a self-pack container, knowing how to pack that container is the key to using it effectively. Read on for advice on how to pack a moving shipping container.
Make a Packing Plan
The company that provides your storage container will drop it off at your starting location for you, or they might offer you details on how to obtain it from them. It will be at ground level with a door to allow for simple loading and unloading.
Many companies will allow you to keep a packing container at your location for as long as it takes to load it. This will enable you to pack your shipping container at your own pace, taking as much time as you need to load your things in it. Once you finish packing your storage container, the rental company will pick it up and transport it to a storage facility or your final destination, depending on what you’ve asked them to do.
Before you can pack your storage container for moving, you have to have it wherever you’re starting from and pack your items in boxes, totes or other containers. Make sure to use as many of the same-sized packages to pack as you can. This will make it as easy as possible to pack your storage container. Tape the bottoms and tops of your boxes correctly, and use all the available space in your boxes without overstuffing them. Your objective here is to make your boxes uniform and level so you can easily pack them on top of and next to each other. If your boxes bulge, you have packed too much in them and need to take some items out!
Load Your Storage Container
A solid foundation in your container is necessary so that nothing shifts while it’s being transported to your destination.
Building a Box Wall
Relive your childhood and play with blocks. Only now, those blocks are your moving boxes! Start in the back of your shipping container, and place your boxes against the back wall between your two side walls. Continue until it reaches the ceiling of the storage container. Place furniture or other non-packable items adjacent to this box wall, and then build another wall in front of those items. Continue this pattern until your container is loaded.
Distribute Weight Evenly
You must evenly distribute the weight of your items in your storage container. Look at the side-to-side weight distributions, as well as end-to-end. Put your heaviest items at the bottom; if you can’t do that (because of oddly shaped items or space issues), put your heaviest possessions in the center of the storage container and put lighter things on top.
Making the Most of Your Space
Take a step back and look at each row in your shipping container as you pack it. You’re looking for both maximization of space and stability, so fill any open spaces with small items or boxes. If you have spaces near the top of your storage container, fill them with soft items like towels, bags of clothing, linens or even stuffed animals.
You can take the legs off furniture such as tables, couches and desks, which can also help you use your storage container to its fullest potential. And when you’re getting close to the front container, place your mattress in last to give your load even more stability!
How to Pack Delicate and Important Items
Any heirlooms, valuables, important papers or essential daily items should not go in your moving container. Take those things with you as you move. You’ll have peace of mind knowing the most important things are with you, and when you reach your new home, there will be no question of where these items are. Because there are natural shifts and movements, it’s crucial to pack your containers properly. Because we are an agent of National Van Lines, we have plenty of experience in packing for long-distance moves. We know what can go wrong and we’ve developed technique and strategies to minimalize risk as much as possible.
For everything else that is going in your storage container:
- Tie-down to keep things stable—Use tie-down rope or ratchet straps to keep your items from moving while they travel. Most storage containers have places to secure loading straps. It’s crucial to tie things down near the storage container door, so things don’t shift and block the door from opening later on!
- Wrap those fragile items—pillows, newspapers, and even clothing can help protect breakables in a shipping container. Wrap TVs and glass in or furniture pads (you can get these with your storage container when you put in your order) or bubble wrap. Furniture pads (also called moving blankets) are especially useful when wrapping wooden furniture.
- Consider the humidity—Moisture could be an issue inside a storage container, depending on where you’re heading (or starting). Make sure your books and fabrics arrive in the same condition as you loaded them by placing some humidity absorbers in your container.
- Lock it up—After all that work, make sure your items make it to your new home. Ask your shipping container rental company if they provide locks or if you need to have your own.
Carefully Load and Unload
Take your time as you load and unload your shipping container. Damage during a move occurs when people are stressed and tired. Exhaustion can make them clumsy and rushed. Most people want to finish as soon they can because they can. Remember moving is challenging and takes time! Give yourself enough time to do things the right way, and make sure to take lots of breaks!
Shipping containers can be an excellent tool if you know how to use them correctly, are up for the mental and physical challenges they’ll provide and enjoy the satisfaction of moving yourself. However, if you’re not sure you want to deal with things like tie-downs and load balancing, give Folkestad Moving Services a call at 928.771.2704 and see if maybe we can take some of the stress of moving off your shoulders. We’ve got the know-how, materials and labor to make your move as simple as possible.