You Break It; You Lose It -- 4 Tips For Packing Portable Storage Units

Those portable storage units are immensely convenient. The storage company brings the container right to your home and drops it off, and you take your time filling it with your belongings.Sometimes people forget, however, that the container is eventually going to be picked up an moved to a new location -- at least if you're using it as part of a move. And if you fail to pack your portable storage container securely, you'll be left with broken and damaged items and nobody but yourself to blame. Play it smart, and use these four tips to help your valuables get from one place to another without any casualties:

1.  Allow Yourself Plenty of Time

Packing a storage container from a place like with a lifetime of belongings is not something that should be done in an evening. It could be, but it's never a good idea. 

For the easiest, most stress-free packing adventure, pick a time when you're well-rested and have all day. This eliminates those few hours before and after work. Embarking on a huge endeavor like this when you're already tired, or hungry, or cranky only makes the job seem that much bigger. Order your container to coincide with a few days off from work or school or other engagements, and then take your time packing it properly.

2. Use Boxes That are Similar in Size

If possible, use boxes that are all the same, or at least similar, in size. This allows you to anticipate exactly how many boxes it will take to build a nice, secure wall that stabilizes itself. Place your heaviest boxes on the bottom, and work your way to the top of your storage unit using successively lighter ones. Wedge your boxes tightly to the top and sides of the unit, and it will help keep them immobile during the move. 

3.  Make Use of Clothing, Bedding and Pillows

Place soft, insulating items such as clothing, bedding and pillows in clean garbage bags and use them as packing materials around your more delicate items. Stack them around mirrors, fragile collectibles, boxes full of dishes and breakable housewares and more. You'll still want to invest in bubble wrap to safely enclose your most breakable items, but using your jackets and comforters as a buffer will help you accrue fewer packing expenses.

4.  Strap Everything Down

Once you have your portable storage unit packed and ready with all of your belongings inside, take time to strap down anything that's still loose. Bicycles, odd pieces of furniture, small appliances such as vacuum sweepers -- these can all do serious damage if they shift during the move. There are an abundance of various types of packing straps on the market to help you move safely:

  • Hook-and-loop straps
  • Bungee cords
  • Bungee nets
  • Mini Bungees
  • Cinch straps
  • Cargo straps
  • Tie-downs

Most are available at your local hardware or home improvement store, and all will help make your move more successful.

Taking the time needed to pack your portable storage unit securely and in a way that makes sense will save you time and heartache when it's time to unpack everything. Make sure you check with your storage company so you know which items are safe to pack and which are taboo. According to PODS, there are certain belongings you should never place in a portable unit, including pets, hazardous materials such as pool chemicals and pesticides, and items that have a gas engine -- lawn mowers, weed trimmers and more. Failure to follow the rules could result in disaster if your pod suffers an accident or if items shift too much during moving.