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Simple Tips for Packing a Portable Storage Unit

Moving can be both stressful and frustrating, but it can be made a little easier with the proper method of packing a portable storage unit and the right supplies.

hand truck helping with east bay move.Even with our smaller portable storage containers, you get 768 cubic feet of internal space.

How you pack and organize your unit will determine how much of that space you actually use, get the most storage for the price by properly packing your portable storage unit.  At UNITS Moving and Portable Storage we want to take the stress out of your move or ease you into freeing up that extra space in your home or office.

Keep reading to get some simple tips on packing a portable storage unit to maximize space.

Use Uniform Box Sizes

When you have all of your boxes the same size, it makes it significantly easier to fit them all together. While it’s not likely you’ll be able to fit everything you need to in just one shape or size of box, if you can however keep most of them at a certain size you will greatly be able to maximize space.  Make sure to label all boxes with the room in which it belongs and some key contents to remind you of what’s inside.

If you are having trouble filling boxes you can save soft items like plush toys, blankets, and clothes to fill in the empty space in your boxes.  Just save the larger boxes for the items that are just too big for your average size box, to put into larger boxes. To make it even easier for you, we sell both new and gently used boxes so you can do this.  You can also save money and the environment with our box recycle program. Always get more boxes than what you think you’ll need – you’ll need them! 

Fully Pack Boxes

While it seems obvious, but when packing your things, you also want to make sure that each box is completely full. This will keep things from moving within the box and help the boxes stack more easily when packing them into the unit.  When the boxes are completely full you reduce the risk of your items breaking since they won’t have any room to move around. Getting more storage space out of your UNIT is just a bonus. When packing your boxes keep all objects from the same room together where possible for easy unpacking and wrap all items with paper to reduce scratching of items.

Move in will be easier and confusion reduced as you can just leave each box in the room that the items are for.  It’s a small bit of extra work upfront that saves you a huge amount of time later, when you unpack the boxes.

Use Your Furniture To Your Advantage

Furniture and other heavy items should be distributed evenly throughout the portable storage unit. This will ensure minimal shifting during the move and help protect your belongings.  Once your furniture in secure in the UNIT, you can use couches and chairs as an extra layer or two to stack boxes to better utilize the space. You can also create “walls” using boxes mattresses, etc. every few feet to keep items from falling. If you do this make sure the boxes will remain secure during transit.  Stacking boxes on the couch won’t help if they aren’t kept secure and will just fly off and onto the ground or into something else while on the way to your new destination.

To better protect your furniture use moving blankets to wrap and protect your bigger items while utilizing straps to secure large items such as couches, refrigerators, dresser drawers, and entertainment stands.

Pack Vertically

While it may be tempting to create a bottom layer in the unit before you start building up, this will make it extremely difficult for you to completely fill the portable storage unit. Like with painting a floor you want to work from the back first and fill it up as much as possible before getting closer to the UNIT door. Place large or heavy items and boxes in the back or on the side of the UNIT.

Use the strips on the insides of our containers as a guide. Fill the first section from top to bottom before moving onto the next one.

Pack it Tight

Once you get one vertical section filled with boxes, look for any empty spaces to fill with things like blankets, curtains, pillows, and cushions that will keep it from moving during transportation.  The tighter you pack everything the more open space you take away and then reduce the risk of items breaking during travel. 

Take Furniture Apart

If you can easily remove any part of a piece of furniture, do it. That way, you can move the furniture safely and reduce the chances of pieces breaking off during transportation.  By removing things like chair and couch legs and attachments you can also make these items fit and pack better within the dimensions of your UNIT. Also make sure to remove all light bulbs from lamps before packing and place all liquid containers in a sealed plastic bag to reduce the chance of leaking.

Go Heavy to Light

Although it should go without saying, as you stack boxes all the way to the ceiling, you need to put the heaviest boxes on the bottom of the stack. Then, the lighter boxes can go on top of those.  If your stack is top heavy with bigger items at the top the greater you chances are of the stack falling and breaking. Always try to put heavier items in smaller boxes for easier lifting. Lightweight items can go together in larger boxes. Distribute the weight of your contents throughout the container, wherever possible.

Use Packing Straps

The metal strips along the walls that you can use as a guide for packing section-by-section actually serve a purpose. They’re for placing straps that will keep your belongings in place during transportation. Strap down all your belongings a section at a time using the channeling system inside all of our UNITS.

When you’ve completely filled a section, add packing straps or netting to help ensure that section stays put. Then, move onto the next section and do the same. Reinforce all boxes with at least one strip of packing tape – both bottom and top of the box.

Keep Important Things in Front

If you’ve got things that you know you’re going to want to access first, set them to the side. Make sure these get placed right next to the door. This way, you’ll be able to get to them as soon as you arrive. Essential items (cooking supplies, some clothes, toiletries, etc) are good things to keep towards the front so that you have access to them first when unloading. Make sure to pack your hand truck (dolly) on the back of the truck – it will be there for unload.  Create a list of all items (boxes, furniture) for each room. This will help you confirm everything has been received for each room.

Other Tips for Portable Storage

Portable Storage in a DrivewayAlways secure your UNIT by placing a lock on the container – you can even use two locks for additional security. Never pack or store any items that could cause a fire or damage to the UNIT. For example, DO NOT move or store any gasoline, chemicals or heavy machinery. Always notify UNITS at least five days in advance for scheduling a move so that we can ensure you have your items where and when you want them.

Want More Tips on Packing a Portable Storage Unit?

Now that you’ve learned a few tips and tricks to packing a portable storage unit, you should be ready to make your move.

If you want more, then be sure to check out our blog where we have more tips and some advice on packing specific items such as pictures and televisions.

Review the UNITS Helpful Packing Supplies List for items you may need for your move. Just let us know what you need and we will deliver it when we deliver your UNIT.  With the right supplies you’ll find packing a portable storage unit easy and fun.

We hope that these tips help make life a little easier! Please do not hesitate if you have any storage or move related questions. We are always here for you!

The friendly Team at UNITS Moving and Storage of San Francisco – East Bay

I needed extra storage and fast. Donna was so courteous and helpful over the phone. I live in the area so they were able to deliver a UNIT the next day. The driver was prompt and friendly. The UNITS were solid and very clean. I just gave them a call when I was done and the UNIT was picked up the next day. Not only was the UNIT exceptional but their customer service was exceptional. They are a very courteous and professional service. I highly recommend UNITS Mobile Storage. Donna and the UNITS Team … thank you for helping my stressed out situation go smoothly.

-Sharon C., Pleasanton, CA

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