How to Load a Moving Container in a Do-It-Yourself Move

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Planning a do-it-yourself move using a portable moving container? Renting a container for short or long term storage? Before you begin piling your stuff inside, read these tips. They will help you maximize the available space within your container and load properly to help minimize any chance of damage to your items during transport.

If you are undecided about whether to rent a container or moving truck for a do-it-yourself move, read Portable Moving and Storage Containers: What You Need to Know before Renting first. It might help you decide.

Tips on How to Load a Moving Container

When relocating with portable moving containers, use the same care in packing as you would before loading your items into a rental truck. You can  get household packing tips here and  tips for moving office furniture here.

Gather the supplies you will need for loading: paper pads, furniture pads, stretch wrap, loading straps and at least one dolly. Then use the following tips on how to load the moving container:

loading portable moving containers

  1. Portable moving containers set at ground level, making loading much easier than loading a moving truck. It is also easier to use a dolly when loading a moving container. If you have a dolly available, use it to move any appliances and heavy crates into the container. If you don’t have a dolly, but have several heavy items to move, consider renting one. Your moving container company may rent them, or could refer you to someone that does.
  2. If possible, do not use a dolly to move furniture. Get someone to help you carry furniture by hand to avoid damaging it.
  3. Wrap any items not packed in crates with paper pads or furniture pads to help minimize the chances for scratching or other damage. Wrap upholstered furniture with stretch wrap.
  4. Begin loading heavy items such as furniture and appliances into the container.  All of your heavy items should be placed on the floor and furniture placed on a pad.
  5. Fill the space around furniture and appliances with boxes and smaller items. If you load furniture such as an entertainment center with shelving, fill any spaces with small, light items. Stack heavier boxes below lighter ones.
  6. Stack in sections as tightly as possible from the floor up to the ceiling of the container. Keep the weight of your load evenly distributed from side to side, front to back, as much as possible. This will help prevent shifting of items during transport, which could cause damage, and also maximize your space.
  7. Secure each section of your load with loading straps using the sturdy tie-down rings inside the container. If you load any large items on wheels, such as a rolling file cabinet or toolbox, secure them separately.
  8. To avoid damage to your items, do not apply excess force when tightening the loading straps.
  9. Some quality moving containers have a translucent roof for natural lighting, making it easier to see when loading and unloading. If you plan to store items in the container for an extended period of time, cover items at or near the top to prevent exposure to light.
  10. When your moving and storage container is tightly loaded and secured with straps, lock it and relax.

Know What Items You Cannot Load in Portable Moving Containers

For safety reasons, you cannot transport or store items that are explosive, corrosive or flammable in portable moving containers. A few common hazardous items not allowed include:

  • Any batteries, household or auto
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Cleaning solvents
  • Gasoline
  • Motor oil
  • Propane tank
  • Kerosene
  • Sterno fuel
  • Charcoal / lighter fluid
  • Matches
  • Ammonia
  • Liquid bleach
  • Lamp oil
  • Fertilizer
  • Ammunition
  • Paint / paint thinner / varnishes
  • Nail polish / nail polish remover
  • Pesticides
  • Aerosols
  • Fireworks
  • Chemicals, including swimming pool chemicals, chemistry sets, etc.

Perishables, including food and plants, are also not allowed, nor are animals or other living things. Portable moving container companies also recommend you keep important personal/ irreplaceable items with you rather than storing them in the containers. If you have questions or are unsure about what can and cannot be loaded, discuss it with your company representative.

For additional tips on how to load a moving container, watch the video  here.

To get a free estimate for portable moving containers, or to discuss your options,  contact Chipman Relocation & Logistics.

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