How to Pack a Shipping Container

Considering a Shipping Container?

How to pack a shipping container

If you’re planning to move soon, you may be pricing out different moving options. Extra pricing options include using a storage or shipping container., knowing how to pack that shipping container is key to using it effectively. If you are considering a self-pack container, read further for tips on how to fill a storage container for moving.

Making a Packing Plan

The company providing your shipping container will drop it off at your start location or provide you with details on how to come to get it. It will be at ground level with an opening to allow for easy loading and unloading.

Most of the time, you can keep a packing container at your location for as long as it takes to load it. This can allow you to pack your moving container at your own pace, taking as much time as you need to load your belongings in it. Once you finish packing the shipping container, the company you rent from will pick it up and move it to your destination or storage facility, depending on what you need.


Pre-packing Preparations

Before you can pack a container for moving, you have to obtain and pack your possessions in boxes or other containers. You’ll want to make sure to use many of the same-sized boxes to pack your belongings in, which will make it much easier to pack your moving container. Tape the tops and bottoms of your boxes well, and make good use of the space in your boxes without overloading them. The key here is to make your boxes level and uniform so you can pack them on top of each other and next to each other easily. No bulging boxes!


Loading Your Moving Container

It’s essential to build a solid foundation in your container, so nothing shifts during the move to your following location.


Build a Box Wall

Go back to your childhood and play with blocks, only this time, those blocks are your moving boxes! Start in the back of your moving container, and place your packages against that back wall between the two side walls. Continue until it reaches the top of the shipping container. Place furniture or other non-packable items next to this box wall, and then build another wall in front of that furniture. Continue in this pattern until your container is full.


Evenly Distribute Weight

Make sure to distribute the weight of your items evenly in your shipping container. You’re going to want to look at side-to-side weight distributions, as well as end-to-end. We suggest you put your heaviest items on the bottom. If you can’t place items on the bottom because of cumbersome shapes or space issues, put your heaviest items in the center of the moving container and put lighter items on top.


Make the Most of Your Space

Take a step back and look at each row in your storage container as you pack it. You’re going for both stability and maximization of space, so fill any open spaces with boxes or small items. If you have gaps near the top of your shipping container, fill it with soft items like bags of clothing, towels, linens or even stuffed animals. You can take legs off furniture such as couches, tables and desks, which will also help you use your moving container to its potential. And when you’re nearing the front of the container, load your mattress last to give your load even more stability!


Packing Delicate and Important Items

Any heirlooms, important papers, valuables, legal documents or essential daily items should not go in your moving container. Take those things with you on your moving journey. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you have the most important things with you. Even if your move travels 10 different states, there will be no question of where these items are. Because we are an agent for National Van Lines, a leader in long-distance moves, you can only expect the best from our team.

For everything else that is going in your moving container:

  • First, tie-down to keep things secure—Use tie-down rope or ratchet straps to keep your items from moving during travel. Most shipping 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!
  • Second, wrapping fragile items—pillows, newspapers, and even clothing can help protect breakables in a storage container. Wrap TVs and glass in bubble wrap or furniture pads (you can get these with your storage container when you put in your order). Furniture pads (also called moving blankets) are especially important when it comes to wrapping wood furniture.
  • Third, think about humidity—Depending on where you’re heading (or starting), moisture could be an issue inside a moving container. Make sure your fabrics and books arrive in the same condition as they started by placing humidity absorbers in your container.
  • Finally, Lock up—After all that hard work, make sure all your possessions make it to your new home. Ask your moving container rental company if they provide locks or if you need to provide your own.

Load and Unload Carefully

Take your time as you load and unload your storage container. Damage during a move happens when people are tired and stressed. Becoming clumsy trying to rush can cause you to unpack incorrectly. Moving is tough! Give yourself enough time to do things correctly, and take lots of breaks!

Give us a Call

Storage containers can be a great tool if you know what you’re doing, are up for the physical and mental challenge and enjoy the hands-on aspect of moving. But if you’re not sure you want to deal with such things as load balancing and tie-downs, give American Way Ohio a call at 937.898.7294 to see if we can take some of the stress off you. We’ve got the right materials, labor and expertise to make the moving process as easy as possible.

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