Questions About Portable Moving Container Companies (That You Didn’t Know to Ask)

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It’s probably not hard to guess that the portable self-storage business is booming. Those boxes are everywhere. What might not be so well-known is how differently the many players out there operate.

In this spirit, here are some answers to questions you may or may not know to ask, but a lot of “movees” everywhere ask us all the time.

If a meteor pulverizes my container, who is liable for the damage? Will I be reimbursed?

Obviously, damage is more likely to occur in some other, less dramatic way while the container is parked somewhere. But regardless of how it gets damaged, it still depends!

If you didn’t purchase coverage (sometimes incorrectly called “insurance”), you may not be covered for anything – and that includes damages to the container. You might be thinking that, say, a meteor qualifies as an Act of God and is one of those things you’ll be covered for no matter what, but tell that to the couple from Houston who found out a little too late that the portable storage company they used didn’t offer flood insurance.

It is critical that you ask your portable storage provider about coverage against loss and damage. Not just for your stuff, but for the container itself, as some companies require you purchase coverage for both their stuff and for the container itself. Make sure to ask if you don’t want things left to the whim of floods. Or meteors.

Can I arrange to keep my storage container on my property until I am able to load it up?

PODS, like many companies, will tell you that you can keep it there on the driveway as long as you want, as long as you pay. The municipal authorities, however, might not be so accommodating. Make sure you double-check. 

Are portable storage containers weatherproof?

PODS containers aren’t, though they will say their containers are weather-resistant. Barring a headline flood, however, they might hold up. On the other hand, Packrat and ABF (with their ReloCube) claim their containers are weatherproof. (Anyone who has owned both water-resistant and waterproof boots will understand that the distinction is important to make.)

Whether containers are fireproof or fire-resistant is another point you might wanna ask about, especially if you live in fire country. Many containers are made of galvanized steel, though some can be aluminum or even plastic. As for SmartBox, they incorporate wood into the interior. If you’re keeping these things anywhere near woods, far crazier things have happened.

Can my portable storage container be locked?

Of course. It sounds like a silly question, but you may not know that you often have to provide your own padlock. So checking beforehand is anything but silly.

Are portable storage container facilities climate controlled?

It depends. PODS says “many” of their storage facilities are climate controlled. U-Haul says climate-controlled storage “is available”. Some companies may store their containers outdoors, so call and make sure!

American Portable Mini Storage is one company that offers climate-controlled portable storage containers as a mainstay feature.

Can I access my container if the company is keeping it in storage?

Once again, it depends. PODS says yes, but an appointment is necessary. U-Haul offers 24-hour access to their storage facilities.

Anything else I should I ask?

Sure: size of container to get, delivery window questions, and what a good price is are the most obvious. Luckily, you don’t have to be a moving expert. We’ve charted all of that info for you over on Moving101, so you can see all that stuff at a glance.

Plus, you can read what real people who’ve collectively used all the different companies have to say about their moving container experiences.

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Lifehack: How to Pack Big Shelves So You Don’t Go Crazy

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Usually, if you have a shelving display in your home that you absolutely love, chances are it has taken you quite a long time to arrange and re-arrange the decor to get it “just right”. Now it’s time to move, you’re taking the shelves with you, but you don’t want to lose the successful setup you have worked so hard to perfect, right?

The great news is that we have a super simple moving hack that will not only help you preserve this treasured look but will also make unpacking it in your new place a breeze. Allow us to explain.

Create a Numbering System

The first thing you have to do is create a numbering system for your shelving unit. You can use any method you want and don’t need to make a fancy graphic like this, you just have to make sure you remember which shelf corresponds with what number. Some may be able to easily memorize the number system, but if you’re not confident in your ability to do that, you can always put a piece of painter’s tape on each shelf with the corresponding number so you remember. This trick will take about 1 minute and won’t damage the shelving unit at all.

Start Emptying Your Shelves

The next step is to start emptying your shelves and carefully wrapping the items to eventually add to a moving box.

But the trick of this moving hack is to take careful note of what you are removing from each shelf as you start packing each box. Carefully wrap and box the items like you would normally do, but try to keep as many of each shelf’s contents together in one box. For example, the grouping of books, the picture frame and planter in box #4 should all make their way into the same moving box.

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Pack and Label

Each of your moving boxes can hold far more than just one shelf’s contents. So feel free to add several of your shelves’ decor into one moving box, just be sure that each shelf’s decor stays together with its counterparts.

After you fill up your moving box, assess what shelf decor is inside of it. In my case, I added the decor from Shelf #4, #7 and #10 into this box so I simply noted that on the top of the moving box. This way I know that when it’s time to unpack this box and refill this shelving unit at my next house, I know exactly where to put this decor in order for it to look just like it did before! 

Repeat this packing/labeling process over and over again until your shelving unit is emptied. You should be left with a pile of moving boxes with clear labels and a precise plan on executing this look at the new house.

All you have to do in the new house is set up the shelves and simply place each item right back in the place it used to be. You don’t have to waste time trying to remember what goes where because those labels will take the guess-work right out of it, making unpacking these boxes in the new house a total breeze!

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