For personal portable storage containers as well as business storage and shipping containers:
1. Mind Your Box Sizes
Use smaller boxes for heavy items, and larger boxes for lighter items. You’ll thank yourself when you load. Also avoid using a random assortment of box sizes——try to stick to 2-3 uniform sizes if you can, as this will make it easier to load efficiently. Box your boxes tightly, but don’t overload them.
2. Avoid Loose Items
Loose items tend to be a hassle during loading, and especially during unloading and unpacking. Pack as many items as you can into boxes, rather than leaving them loose. Some items make more sense folded and placed in plastic bags, rather than in boxes, such as bedding. That said, some soft and malleable items can come in handy during loading, as they are usable as cushioning or filler, so set some of these aside accordingly.
3. Wrap Fragile Items
It’s always possible that unprotected items could get damaged during loading or transport. Wrapping your electronics, glass, ceramics, and other fragile items in bubble wrap before boxing greatly reduces this risk. Remove very fragile components like lightbulbs, wrapping and packing them separately. It is also recommendable to cover anything which could get scratched, like wooden furniture. Moving pads and bubble wrap, as well as household items like blankets, pillows, or clothing, all work well for this.
4. Disassemble Your Furniture
Furniture often takes up much more space than it has to. Disassembling minimizes the footprint of your furniture. Remove chair and table legs, for example. If the parts are unwieldy, wrap or bind them together neatly, protecting fragile parts or edges with pads/cloth. This will protect your furniture and create a significant amount of space in your container.
5. Wrap Soft Furniture
While your textiles and bedding will be kept clean in boxes or plastic bags, steps must be taken when it comes to larger items. You can use stretch wrap to protect couches and sofas. As for any leather furniture, moving pads or blankets are better suited. Use matched-size covering for items like mattresses and rugs.
6. Have A Separate Plan for Prohibited Items
Perishables, ammunition, and flammables are not generally allowed in portable storage containers. Make sure to check out your rental agreement for this information, and plan accordingly.
7. Label Boxes and Take Inventory
As you pack, you should label your boxes, taking note on a sheet of paper which boxes will be needed sooner versus later. This will make loading and unloading a breeze. It will also prevent future hassles, like trying to find a particular item, without knowing which box or container it is in.
8. Keep valuables and essential items accessible
Plan ahead to make sure that anything you might need sooner is packed into the same set of boxes, so that they can be loaded onto the container last, for easy access. If you are packing personal items, set aside essential documents and other valuables, ideally keeping them with you rather than in the container, if possible.
1. Distribute The Weight
It is essential that you distribute the weight of your cargo evenly, both back to front and side to side. Don’t load all of your heavy items at once, distributing them in both directions instead.
2. Use the “Wall” Method
If you plan to fill up most of the space on the container, the cardinal rule is to pack vertically. Start with the far wall, packing from the floor to the ceiling, packing heavier items on bottom. Pack the items tightly. Before beginning another vertical layer, examine any remaining space in the area you just worked on, and find an item that can fill up that space. Use large, rectangular objects like mattresses to keep layers securely in place. If you don’t plan to use all the vertical space, packing horizontally across the floor is better, because it prevents shifting and distributes the weight.
3. Fill in Empty Space
Filling in empty space is important because it maximizes your use of the storage space, and prevents items from shifting or falling. You can use soft items to fill up oddly-shaped openings. Try to plan ahead, so that you have some smaller items available as you go, to use as filler.
4. Protect Objects During Loading
When fragile, oddly shaped, or exposed items are loaded next to each other, protection is recommended. You can place cardboard, blankets, or bubble wrap in the space between such items. You should do whatever you can to prevent the items from shifting or bumping into one another during transport.
5. Use Loading Straps
Loading straps are essential if your container is going to be transported. They can be used to secure layers or “walls” of items in place, as you work your way from the far end of the container. They can also be used to secure items to the sides of the container. Most containers have rings dispersed throughout, for use with loading straps. Rope can also work for this purpose, but straps tend to be more secure.
6. Save Important or Time-Sensitive Items For Last
Any items that you are going to need sooner should be saved for last in the loading process, so that it is near the entrance. It is also recommended that you create a final barrier at the door, to ensure that items don’t fall out when you open the container, and to make sure the door doesn’t jam.
7. Plan for Weather
Plan your load for a clear, dry day. Not only could moisture negatively affect your packed materials, but adverse weather will make your load slower and more difficult.
8. Consider Moisture Protection
If you are storing for a long time, or in a humid environment, moisture absorbers are recommended for protecting the contents of your container from mildew, mold, and odors. Contact your provider for information.