Nothing is more important to the care of your goods than how they are padded, wrapped, and packed. The best movers will wrap your furnishings in quilted moving blankets and use tape or plastic shrink-wrap to hold these blankets in place so your goods stay protected. You do not want your furniture rubbing against other things while your container rolls down the road. Blankets prevent that, and shrink-wrap or tape holds the blankets in place. Ideally, when your furniture goes into the container, it should look like a blue (or whatever color your blankets are) cube wrapped in plastic or taped up. Then they will fill the container back to front, stuffing small things in the gaps so that the loaded box has a structure like a Tetris puzzle of interlocking blocks. That keeps things from shifting as we drive down the road. Your container may look like a self-storage room while you are loading it, but once we pick it up, we have to drive down the same roads you do with the box, so having things well padded and tightly packed keeps things from shifting as we drive. Gravity means things are always trying to work their way downward, so a good packing job will keep your contents from doing that. We can rent or sell you blankets for your or your movers’ use. If you are storing with us, your movers will probably not be able to leave their blankets on your goods as they need them for the next move they do. That is why we both rent and sell moving blankets. You will also need a lock for your container. You can get one from Home Depot or anywhere else that sells padlocks, or we can sell you a high-security stainless steel DISC lock for your container. If you rent blankets from us, please remember to count them back in when you are all done to avoid being charged for missing blankets. Let us know in advance if you want blankets added to your order as it may affect how we arrange the delivery schedule for the day. Remember that using mobile storage is like using a rental truck – you are responsible for packing your goods so that they can safely transit the roads. We will not see what you have packed or how you have packed it. Good wrapping and packing for transit is the only way to protect your contents for the move, so getting help is wise if you are not sure you can do it. Just let us know, and we can tell you about some good movers with experience doing just that.
You will not remember what is where after the chaos of even the best-planned move, so write it all down. Use your computer or a pad and write a list with three columns and the headings “MI-BOX #,” “Box #,” “Contents.” Each MI-BOX mobile storage container has a number on the outside. That is your “MI-BOX #.” “Box #” is a sequential number you write on each packing box. These should start from 1 and go up. Never repeat a number. You may want to fill out a set of stickers to put on boxes as you pack (for the top and at least 2 sides of each box). Do not lose this list. Always leave it in the same place if it is not with you, and make sure everyone who is packing knows what that place is. That place is probably where you want to keep your stickers (fragile, this side up, box numbers, etc.) and packing accessories like boxes, paper, tape, bubble-wrap, etc. Keeping it all in one place makes packing go faster. As you pack, keep the list current. If something is not in a box (e.g., a headboard for your bed, etc.), just put a MI-BOX # and description on that row of the table. When you fill a MI-BOX mobile storage container, put a copy of the list of what’s in that container in a zip-lock bag in the front of the container. When and if you remove something from a box, mark it off the master list and the copy in that box. Now if you need to get into a MI-BOX container to find something, you’ll know just where it is, Plus, in the unlikely event of an insurance claim, you will bless the day you made that list. They also help as you plan unloading. You can have us deliver your MI-BOX portable storage containers in any order if you have more than one, and this list will help you decide which to deliver first.
It is your responsibility to pack your goods so that they can travel over the road. We drive on the same roads and under the same conditions that you do, so pack your container for transport just like you would a rental truck. Using packing accessories such as Boxes, Packing Paper, Tape, Bubble-wrap and Moving Blankets will protect your goods while they are moved or stored. Fill cartons completely so that they will not tip over or collapse. Place heavy items like books or tools in small cartons so they are easy to handle. Be sure to pack books flat, not on their spines. Pack a room at a time, and try to load your container that way. Be sure to keep notes on what you have packed in each MI-BOX mobile storage container (e.g., “John’s entire bedroom, Master bedroom, Jim’s tools, and Susan’s toys in container 519,” etc.). On each box, mark or label on the side and the top so you can see from any angle. You’ll save time when unloading by putting everything in the right place from the start. You won’t remember after a big move or a long time in storage, so label while you pack. Clean and dry all appliances thoroughly before you store them. Give them time to air out and get to room temperature so that you won’t have any condensate. Moisture is your enemy. Keep sealed doors slightly open so they don’t get a musty smell. You can also put in a box of baking soda in the fridge and freezer to keep them smelling fresh. Be sure you wrap glass shelves that might break during moving. Do your appliances or other items have special transportation instructions? For example, your electronics may have special padding needs or recommend using their original boxes. Appliances with moving parts such as washing machines or dryers may have bolts that secure the tub for transport. Be sure to secure those before you load. Anything that has shelves or drawers should be emptied. Remember that just because your furniture can hold your possessions when standing still doesn’t mean that it is strong enough to hold them when they are moving. Pack clothing and personal items in strong secure boxes that are taped up and labeled. Cover mattresses and other textile furnishings with bags or plastic wrap to keep them clean and free of dust. Be sure to vacuum out the couch and any chairs or other items that may have food crumbs. Mice are very small and can smell food very well, so make sure that you don’t pack things that attract them. Remove the legs from tables or other items with odd-shaped appendages to help them pack efficiently. Dishes, Glassware, and other kitchen breakables need special care. Before you box them, put a layer of bubble-wrap or crumpled packing paper in the bottom of the box. Wrap single items individually, nesting cups and bowls while standing plates, saucers, and the like on their edges (on a padded/cushioned surface). Be sure to label all of these cartons FRAGILE on the top and all sides. You can get big red stickers to do this. It’s worth it. These items stack high in your load, not at the bottom where they are likely to be crushed by heavy items on top. For glass and mirrors, use specially designed boxes that store them on their edges. Always use bubble-wrap on these, and NEVER lay them flat. Load them between mattresses or other large, flat items that are standing on their edges. If your storage is long-term, you may want to wrap your silver in non-acid tissue paper and apply a little light machine oil to any chrome or cast-iron services to retard rust. Storing firearms (always unloaded) particularly calls for this light-oil treatment. Use original boxes, if you have them, to store your electrical items. They should be marked FRAGILE. If you don’t have original boxes, then double-wrap with bubble-wrap and seal well in cardboard boxes. Do not leave unfilled space in the cartons, but fill them with small items such as CD’s, DVD’s, and cables. Also, pack LP’s, cassettes, tapes, DVD’s, and CD’s on their edges to prevent warping. Any unusual items with special packing or transportation instructions should be packed for transportation according to the original instructions if possible. Computers generally follow the guidelines for other electrical items as above. Hard Disk Drives are more susceptible to shock, to place an extra layer of bubble-wrap or other padding at the bottom of any box storing computers. It is always a good idea to do a backup of your computer to a removable/portable drive (e.g., external USB drive) and take it with you rather than storing it. Remove batteries from items headed for long-term storage. Leaking old batteries may damage your items. For power equipment from the garage that uses gasoline, oil, diesel, kerosene, etc., always remove all fuels and oil before storing. This will save you from problems with leakage and old fuel gumming up your equipment’s carburetors and fuel lines. Remember that you are responsible for any damage to your equipment or contents, as well as the mobile storage container, caused by leakage or improper storage of your goods.
The general rule for supplies is that it takes more than you expect. The cost of a box is far less than the cost of what is stored inside that box. Having enough boxes will make your packing job much easier, and professional moving boxes are designed to pack efficiently with each other in any of their standard sizes that MI-BOX Moving & Mobile Storage sells. We suggest keeping about ten boxes set aside for the last few things you come across as you finish, then you aren’t jamming odd items into your load because you ran out of good storage. This kind of “stuff-in” packing at the end often results in shifting and breakage. Head that off at the pass by having plenty of boxes. Also keep plenty of tape on hand. MI-BOX can provide moving-industry packing tape and dispensers to seal your boxes like a pro. Packing paper and bubble wrap are also great. Many people use their blankets and towels for this purpose, but often bubble-wrap is the best choice, especially when you run out of grandma’s quilts. Like food at a dinner party, the key is to not run out at an inopportune time.
These tall boxes not only make it easy to pack your hanging clothes, they are perfect for bulky, lightweight items such as comforters, pillows, and blankets. To see how many wardrobe boxes you will need for your hanging clothes, slide your hangers to one end of the rod so that your clothes are “packed” tightly against the wall. Then measure the clothes to see how many wardrobe boxes you will need; most wardrobe boxes are 18” to 20” wide. Do this for all closets, including your coat closet. To get the most out of your wardrobe boxes, fill some sturdy handled shopping bags with bulky closet items such as shoes, purses, and belts. These bags can go in the bottom of the box if you don’t have many full-length items (hold one of your longer pieces of hanging clothes by the side of the box to see how much room will be available at the bottom of the box. Next, insert the rod that is provided with the wardrobe box and place your hanging items on the rod. Pack hanging items tightly so your clothes won’t move around and fall off the hangers. Then cover the top of the hanging clothes with (a dry cleaning bag works nicely) and add a few light items such as sweaters on top. This wardrobe packing method will reduce your number of boxes while keeping closet items together. Don’t forget: these large boxes are perfect for lightweight, bulky items too.
Loading your goods into a container is done best by placing larger, heavier items that you can stack on top of up at the bottom level. You can then load lighter and more delicate items on top of them. Be sure your container is not too unbalanced by putting heavier items near the middle or spread between front and back of the container. You don’t want your library of very heavy books stored on one end and nothing but mattresses and pillows on the other end. If we try to pick up the container, and it’s too unbalanced, it will tip in such a way that it must be unloaded and reloaded so that it can be picked up level. That only happens very rarely, and just a bit of thought can avoid it easily. If your container is not full, be sure to spread the load out from the back to the front of the container. Empty space should be on top, not toward the door. For example, you don’t want the container packed to the ceiling half-way from the back and then have the front half empty. That will create two issues: (1) an unbalanced container, and (2) nothing to support the front end of your load. Remember that the stability of the load comes from having your container filled so that things can’t work their way down to the floor. Using standard size moving boxes makes loading and unloading much easier and faster. It’s a small investment that often pays large rewards in terms of protection of your goods and speed of your move. Plus, they are sized to pack efficiently with each-other. MI-BOX Moving & Mobile Storage can provide these for you if needed. If there are items you will need to access, set them aside and load them last so that they are by the door when you open it. Remember to keep notes on what you put in each container and any items you packed by the door for easier access. Finally, place a list of what you have stored in each container at a reasonable level of detail and keep copies for yourself. You may even want to take some pictures or a video as you load. Imagine going through after a tornado and trying to remember everything you had in your home when talking to your insurance agent. A quick video can save a world of trouble and be worth a pot of gold with your insurance company. If you need help loading or unloading your portable storage containers, just ask MI-BOX Moving & Mobile Storage. We do not do this ourselves, but we can give you a list of preferred loaders and unloaders with a good track-record, though they are not affiliated with MI-BOX.
It is important to remember what not to store. Do not store anything that is highly flammable (e.g., oxidizers, gasses, etc.), environmentally hazardous, perishable (like food – it happens), or anything that is a risk to others’ property. Some examples include paints, batteries, gasoline, oils, paint thinner or solvents, volatile cleaning products, chlorine, or acids. Don’t store plants, animals, or anything perishable. Don’t store hazardous liquids, explosives, or ammunition. Remember that liquids may freeze when they are outside in your mobile storage container (our warehouse is heated, so no problem there). If they freeze when outside (e.g., during packing, pick-up, delivery, or unloading), they may break the container they are in and then leak when they thaw. DO NOT store things that are simply irreplaceable. Family heirlooms, jewelry, cash, bonds, stock certificates, and other valuables belong in a safe-deposit box at your bank. Your insurance will likely not cover these items at their value to you, so particular care should be taken here. Finally, don’t store anything illegal. The police can cut the lock off your container and get in.
Be sure to allow enough time for us to schedule your mobile storage container pick-up and move. We generally work in a first-come first-served basis and can usually get you within twenty-four hours’ notice on a week-day, but during peak move seasons we may need 48 hours’ notice, not counting weekends and holidays. As you finalize your move, be sure to arrange stop and start of service for your utilities, telephone, Internet, cable, newspapers, magazines, etc. Anything that is delivered to you needs to be changed. Also, please make sure that MI-BOX Moving & Mobile Storage can always reach you by keeping us up-to-date on your email, phone, and mailing address. Contact your post office and get a change-of-address kit. These are full of useful tips as well as mail forwarding. Other entities you may need to inform include: you DMV/Drivers License department, banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, schools, clubs, family, and friends.