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5 Types of Containers to Use in Storage When You’re Moving

Moving is one of those tasks that seems to get more complex the farther you get in the process. The more you pack, the more you realize you still have to pack.

A storage unit can be a huge help throughout this process. It can give you a place to store the non-essentials you’ve already packed while you finish packing the rest of your home.

If there’s a gap between moving out of your old home and moving into your new home, a storage unit is dramatically less expensive than renting a moving truck for a full week or whatever the interim may be. Or, a storage unit can just give you a place to store non-essentials while you start setting up your new home.

Regardless of the reason, keeping your storage unit organized with the right types of containers is key.

Try on these tips for size.

Best Types of Containers for a Mid-Move Storage Container

As you prepare for your move, one of the many questions you need to ask yourself is what containers to use for packing and moving. There are more options than you may think, so here are some popular choices as well as the pros and cons of each:

Standard Cardboard Boxes

You know these old friends: your standard brown boxes everyone thinks of when they picture a move.

There are definite advantages to using these budget-friendly boxes:

  • These are probably your least expensive choice, especially if you aren’t planning to move again in quite a while.
  • Many home improvement stores carry these boxes in several sizes and shapes so with a little bit of planning, it’s easy to get exactly what you need.
  • They’re easy to recycle after your move.
  • They can be easy to stack as long as you use boxes that are consistent sizes and shapes.
  • They’re often available in standard weight and heavy duty, which makes them ideal for heavy items like dishes.

While they’re cost-effective and easy to use, cardboard boxes do have some disadvantages as well:

  • Most boxes will take some wear and tear during a move so they can rarely be reused. This makes them expensive if you move often and need to buy all new boxes with every move.
  • If you don’t have a temperature-controlled storage unit, cardboard boxes may not be the best option. They’re easily damaged by rain and humidity, so the items inside them can get damaged too.
  • They might be easy to stack but you probably can’t get more than four or five of them in a stack without damaging the bottom ones, especially if the bottom ones aren’t completely full.

While most movers see these standard cardboard boxes, they’re not always the best choice.

Plastic Storage Bins

These handy bins, which are usually quite large, are a staple for college dorm-dwellers but they can be great for anyone who’s moving.

Below are a few of the best reasons to consider plastic bins:

  • They’re reusable for future moves and long-term storage. If you move often or if you can use these bins for storage in your new home, they’re a bargain.
  • They’re easy to stack, but only if you buy many of the same size or complementary sizes.
  • They protect your items from the weather better than cardboard boxes do.

Of course, these bins have some issues you want to consider:

  • They primarily come in large sizes. As any experienced mover can tell you, heavy items should be packed in smaller containers to make them more manageable. Most plastic bins are too large for this purpose.
  • If you’re only using them for a one-time move, they’re expensive.
  • If you’re only buying the bins for a one-time use, they’re not accepted by as many recycling centers as cardboard boxes are, so they can be less eco-friendly.
  • They aren’t as compatible with a hand truck as smaller boxes are.

All in all, plastic bins make sense if you plan to use them in the future but not if you only need them for a one-time move.

Wardrobe Boxes

If you have lot of clothing to move, wardrobe boxes can be your best friend. They’re tall boxes with a bar in the middle where you can hang your items without folding them.

You might want to consider wardrobe boxes if you want to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • They save you a lot of packing time. You never know how much clothing you have until you try to fold it all for a move, but wardrobe boxes eliminate that problem.
  • The clothes don’t get wrinkled like they would when they’re folded to pack, so there’s need to re-launder and de-wrinkle all your clothes after the move.

Still, wardrobe boxes do have their disadvantages:

  • They can be top-heavy and difficult to keep upright. This is especially true if the boxes aren’t full, so pack as much as you can into each box.
  • These specialized boxes require more materials than a typical cardboard box and they aren’t sold in as many places, so they have a higher cost.

While they have their challenges, if you use wardrobe boxes correctly, they can be a huge asset in keeping your packing time to a minimum.

Your Own Suitcases

So many movers forget about using the containers they already have by packing other items inside the suitcases that they need to move anyway. The benefits include:

  • This reduces the total volume of the move by using all that available space inside your suitcases.
  • It’s free because you already own your suitcases.

However, the benefit you can get from your own suitcases is limited because of the following factors:

  • They’re not easy to stack.
  • You may need your suitcases before you’re ready to take the stored items out of storage.
  • It can be difficult to optimize space within your suitcases. Suitcases are form-stable, so they’re only effective if you’re using them for clothing, bedding, or other soft items that can be re-shaped to fit.

Overall, suitcases should be only a small compliment to your overall moving strategy. They’re too cumbersome to be your primary solution.

Vacuum Bags

You’ve seen these space-saver bags on infomercials: the plastic bags with a seal on them where you can attach a vacuum to remove all extra air and compress your items.

When it comes to moving, vacuum bags have distinct advantages:

  • They save space. You’ll be in awe of how much space your clothing and other soft items will take up when they’re vacuum-packed in these handy bags.
  • They protect your items against the elements. If your storage unit is outdoors, you should pack all your items in plastic to protect them from potential weather leaks. Vacuum bags do that rather well.

As with all the options above, vacuum bags also have some limitations:

  • They’re not helpful for form-stable items, only for clothing, bedding, and other soft items.
  • They’re expensive. Vacuum bags are great tools for long-term storage, but if you only need them for your move, the cost may not be worth the benefits.
  • Once these bags get even the smallest of holes, they’re not useful for their intended purpose. Many brands use thin plastic that is easily damaged by pets or the wear and tear of a move, so they need to be used with caution.

Depending on the type of storage unit you have and whether you plan to use them for future storage, vacuum bags can be a great option for your move.

Planning Your Move with a Storage Unit

Understanding your options for the types of containers to use in your move can help the entire process work more efficiently. Countless movers have lost precious items during their transition, and in some cases, using the right containers can make all the difference.

If you’re planning a move and want to take advantage of a storage unit, call our self-storage facility to get the process started.

1 Comment
  1. Vacuum bags definitely weren’t the first thing that came to mind when you said containers for moving, but I can definitely see the benefits. My husband and I have a lot of stuffed animals between our three kids, and vacuum bags would certainly save a lot of space by sucking out all of that air trapped in the fluff (though we’d do it when the kids weren’t looking, of course.) Getting a storage container sounds like a great way to store some of the more delicate items we have, as well, and I may get one designated for our electronics.

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