How to Pack a Storage Pod

family carrying moving boxes

Back in 1998, PODS revolutionized the way people moved and stored their stuff. Now other moving and storage container companies have followed suit with similar portable storage containers.

While moving services and moving trucks make moving easier, they also tend to be more expensive and less convenient. Storage pods—a combination moving truck and storage unit in one—are a great alternative with no time constraints.

But you could find yourself paying for containers you don’t actually need if you don’t know how to efficiently and securely pack a storage pod. We’ve gathered tips and tricks for how to pack a storage pod so you can avoid a costly mistake and ensure your belongings arrive safe and sound. Here’s what we’ll go over:

  1. Getting ready to pack your storage container
  2. Preparing your belongings
  3. What, when, and how to load
  4. How to pack fragile items and valuables
  5. The best way to load and unload
  6. Our recommended moving supplies

The whole picture

1. Getting ready to pack your moving pod

The company you rent from will deliver an empty storage pod to your home and leave it at ground level for easy loading and unloading.

A storage pod can stay on your property for as long as you need it—unless local regulations prohibit doing so. This gives you plenty of time to pack your storage pod properly, and gives you the option for backyard storage (though this often costs a monthly fee).

When you’re ready to move the unit, the company moves it for you to your new home or to a storage facility.

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Do your research

Do your research

Storage unit size and construction varies from company to company, so you’ll want to do some research before you order your pods. Check out our guide on how to estimate the storage container size you need and our Best Moving Container and Storage Companies list for quick tips and recommended companies.

2. Prepare your stuff

Before you pack your storage pod, you’ll need to get your belongings ready to be packed in this of storage container. In order for your items to best fit in the unit, you should follow these rules:

  • Use as many of the same-sized boxes as possible
  • Don’t overload boxes
  • Aim for a firm pack for greater protection
  • Reinforce the bottom and top of the boxes with tape

3. What, when, and how to load

Where you load your things it’s important to create a solid foundation that won’t shift during transportation so your items won’t get damaged during the move. Here’s how to do that:

Create a wall

Pack your items from floor to ceiling, creating wall-like layers on one side or end of the container until they reach the ceiling of the pod.

Pack boxes and other items as tightly as possible to keep them from shifting during transportation and to evenly distribute weight.

Distribute weight

When loading boxes and other items, such as furniture, distribute the weight evenly from end-to-end and side-to-side of the storage pod.

Start by packing some of your heavier items, such as appliances and furniture, on the bottom. If you can’t get proper weight distribution with your items, place the heaviest items in the center of the storage container and place lighter items on top.

Fill and maximize space

Fill any open spaces with boxes and other small items to provide stability. If there’s space between the top of the boxes and the unit’s ceiling, place soft items on top of the boxes, such as bags of clothing or linens.

Odd-shaped items, such as bikes, can go on top of boxes or near the doors. Remove the legs from furniture and stand large items, such as couches, on end to maximize space. If you have a mattress to load, load it last to finish off the last layer of stability.

4. How to pack fragile and important items

Not everything you own should go in your storage pod.

Keep your valuables, heirlooms, legal documents, important papers, and any essentials separate and carry them with you when you move. While storage pods are generally a safe way to move your things, it’s better not to risk the loss or damage of such items.

With that in mind, here are some extra ways to make sure your stuff is safely secured and protected inside the storage pod.

Cushion and wrap fragile items

Clothing, newspaper, and pillows work well to cushion fragile items. You can wrap glass, televisions, and other fragile items in furniture pads or bubble wrap—or grab a special box for transporting those items. (We’ve even got a list of recommended boxes for art and photos.)

Furniture padding also works well to protect wood surfaces and corners, and you should cover appliances and furniture with moving blankets. You can wrap couches, mattresses, and other soft furniture with stretch wrap.

Protect your items from light exposure

Cover any items near the top of your storage pod with a layer of cardboard or other material to protect them from light exposure. This is especially important if you’re storing the pod outside for an extended period of time.

Keep your items from moving during transit

Most storage containers have points where you can install loading straps. We recommend using ratchet straps or tie-down rope whenever possible to secure the items inside your unit and to prevent shifting.

Be sure to secure the last section of items near the doors with loading straps to prevent them from shifting and blocking the door. (P.S. Don’t apply force when securing the straps or you may damage your items!)

Protect against mold and mildew

The last thing you want is to open your storage container and find out your grandma’s antique hutch is now dotted with black mold. Even if you’re not moving to a humid climate, it never hurts to place moisture absorbers inside the storage pod.

Don’t forget to lock up

Keep your storage pod safe from theft by locking it whenever it’s unattended. Some companies provide locks, while others leave it up to you to purchase one.

5. Take your time loading and unloading

“Most damage occurs from people rushing to load or unload a container. When people are packing or unpacking after a long and stressful day, they can get a little clumsy or careless,” according to Ross Black, owner of Simple Box.

Taking the extra time and planning to pack your storage pod carefully will make unpacking easier and quicker while eliminating the unnecessary stress caused by dealing with broken, damaged items.

6. Move.org’s moving supply picks

You can make moving that much easier by having the right supplies and equipment on hand before you even get started.

Aside from our recommendations for the best moving boxes, moving equipment, and tools, we think these are good to have on hand when you move too.

ProductEstimated priceWhat it's forLearn more
BLOKKD Fireproof Lock Box Bag, 16" x 11.5" x 3
$26Important documents and valuablesView on Amazon
Arm & Hammer Moisture Absorber & Odor Eliminator$8Moisture and odor controlView on Amazon
California Home Goods Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag, 4-Pack$22Moisture and odor controlView on Amazon
Master Lock Set Your Own Combination Padlock$9Securing your storage podView on Amazon
Master Lock 2-Inch Shackle Padlock$17Securing your storage podView on Amazon
Product
BLOKKD Fireproof Lock Box Bag, 16" x 11.5" x 3
Arm & Hammer Moisture Absorber & Odor Eliminator
California Home Goods Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag, 4-Pack
Master Lock Set Your Own Combination Padlock
Master Lock 2-Inch Shackle Padlock
Estimated price What it's for Learn more
$26 Important documents and valuables View on Amazon
$8 Moisture and odor control View on Amazon
$22 Moisture and odor control View on Amazon
$9 Securing your storage pod View on Amazon
$17 Securing your storage pod View on Amazon

Recap

Packing your moving container properly ensures your items arrive safe and sound—but it doesn’t have to be difficult or take up a lot of time from your already busy schedule.

Do you have tips for packing storage pods we didn’t cover? Share them with us in the comments below.

About Sommer Sharon

Sommer Sharon
Freelance Writer, Website Producer. Former landlord/house flipper. 3 time homeowner. Happily producing content from the comfort of her home (or hotel). Avid traveler. Loves music and the ocean, human/animal/earth rights advocate. She's written for such media powerhouses as USA Today, but considers her biggest accolades the two young people who call her mom.
  • Sutton Turner

    I like how you suggested getting strong boxes to fill your self-storage. We are putting a lot of old clothes and toys in our storage unit this summer. Thanks for the tips on packing a storage pod. http://www.ventuparkstorage.com/storage-units

  • Ellie Davis

    Thank you for suggesting that when you are packing your storage unit you should make sure and pack the boxes in like you are making a wall. This seems like a great way to make everything fit. I’ll have to keep this in mind when my husband and I are loading our belongings in a storage unit. Hopefully, I can find the best storage unit possible for us. https://gocontainers.com/storage-