Can I Rent a “Storage Pod” from MI-BOX?

A lot of our customers use the term “pod” generically for any portable storage container because PODS® popularized the concept of portable storage.  However, PODS® is a registered trademark of PODS Enterprises, LLC, and MI-BOX is not affiliated with PODS Enterprises, LLC.  The generic terms used in the industry are either “mobile storage containers” or “portable storage containers,” but don’t worry; we’ll know what you mean.

How does mobile storage work?

Mobile storage containers are typically used in one of three main ways:

  • On-Site storage means that the container is brought to your home or business location for temporary storage at that location only.  This type of storage is often used for remodeling/restoration projects, overflow inventory, and special events.
  • Site-to-Site storage means that the container will be at one location for a time and then moved directly to another location for a time.  This type of storage is commonly used for moves.
  • Warehouse storage means that the container is brought to your location, then moved to our secure warehouse, and then later delivered to the original location or to a new location.  This type of storage is often used for staging, for moving when the new home is not ready, and for long-term business assignments or other situations where you will be traveling for an extended period.

Estimating Your Storage Needs

It’s not hard to get a pretty accurate view of your storage needs if you think about packing in terms of space you already have. Just follow the simple steps below.
  1. Make a mental list of what is in your home that you want to move. Be sure that you don’t skip areas like the garage, attic, storage shed, patio, or other outdoor living spaces.
  2. Ask what you will give away, sell, or otherwise get rid of and won’t have to move. Take that part out. You won’t regret giving things to a worthy charity or friend, so be generous – it’s liberating.
  3. A 16ft MI-BOX mobile storage container is 8 ft tall and 7 ft 2 in wide. That’s about the size of a typical bedroom (e.g., 10x12 ft). Now imagine filling that bedroom with your furnishings and boxes, stacked to the ceiling. You can probably pack 3-4 normal sized rooms into that space, packing it well and filling all the empty spots with small items.  Keep filling these “bedrooms” until you are out of stuff to pack! The number of bedrooms is the number of MI-BOX containers you will need.
  4. In terms of square footage, we often see 800-1,200 square feet of a house fill a container.  Think closer to 1,200 if your house is one that is not very full with furnishings.  If your house is well lived in and your friends say, "you are really packed in here," then you are more likely to be closer to the 800 square feet per container.
In general, most 4-bedroom homes can be moved easily in a single 53 ft enclosed trailer, which is a bit bigger than three 16 ft MI-BOX portable storage containers. Call us, and we’ll work through it with you. With MI-BOX you have the flexibility you need: You can get less or get more storage as you figure out what you will need. Our local owners and employees are happy to help you make your move as easy as possible!

What is the best way to take care of my goods?

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.

Packing & Storage Tips - Keep a List

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.

Packing and Storage Tips - Packing

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.  

Packing and Storage Tips - Supplies

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.

Packing and Storage - Wardrobe Boxes

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.

Packing and Storage Tips - Loading Your Container

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.

Packing and Storage Tips - NEVER STORE THESE THINGS

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.

Packing and Storage Tips - Scheduling and Contacts

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.

How much weight can a MI-BOX Mobile Storage Container hold?

While the MI-BOX patent pending LEVELIFT can lift up to 10,000lbs, most of our customers typically get 4,000 to 5,000 pounds in the storage container due to item size and packing constraints. A MI-BOX mobile storage container can weigh up to 10,000 pounds fully loaded. The container itself weighs about 2,300 lbs, so you can store about 7,700 lbs inside the box. For comparison, that is more than a full-size pickup truck weighs (generally 5,000 – 6,000 lbs). It is almost impossible with regular household goods to exceed the 10,000 pound limit. It almost *never* happens. As of May 2016, we have seen three overloaded containers that had to be partially unloaded before we could pick them up.  Two were because of a large personal library of books, and one was because of boxes of metal parts from a business. However, if your storage needs include lots of books, magazines, tools, tool chests or other heavy items, remember to be careful to not exceed the maximum weight. You may not be able to use the entire container’s available space. If in doubt, give us a call, and we are happy to advise!

What are MI-BOX portable storage containers made of?

MI-BOX portable storage containers are made of heavy steel frames that are either hot-dip-galvanized or treated with other corrosion inhibitors to make them impervious to weather, even in harsh climates. Walls are made of DuraPlate™, the premium heavy-duty panel product for OTR trailers with an 80,000 PSI strength. Roofs are reflective aluminum to prevent damage from the sun’s rays and reflect radiant heat. They are weather-tight and made to live outdoors in any climate. They are proven in places like New York City, Chicago, and Las Vegas, testing the extremes of heat and cold as well as sun, snow, and salt from the roads. They have a nice clean appearance and are easy to keep looking great! You can read more about our containers here.

Where should I have my MI-BOX mobile storage container placed?

You can put your MI-BOX mobile storage container where-ever we can fit it.  Driveways are often the best, but your MI-BOX can be placed on the street by your home or business or on your lot elsewhere. Unlike some competitors, we can place a MI-BOX mobile storage container on an unimproved surface. Our treated steel undercarriage keeps your possessions up out of mud and dirt. Just don’t put the container in a low-lying area where flooding is likely. It won’t float away, but you don’t want it under water in a storm. In apartments or commercial locations, a MI-BOX fits nicely in a single regular parking place, and we can even put them in side-by-side parking spaces. Probably most importantly, we will look at a satellite view of your address and talk with you about placement options before we deliver.  We will give you an honest assessment, taking into account not just the area needed for the container itself, but how much room is needed to deliver the container, whether there are concerns with trees, fences, etc., and what your preferences are. If your municipality has requirements for permitting, you must obtain any required permits and comply with local ordinances.

How much room do I need for delivery?

It is important to keep in mind that we will be bringing large containers to you that have to be dropped off by our hydraulic lift truck. This is very different than just parking a truck. When we leave, the container itself is sixteen feet long, but there is a twenty-nine-foot-long truck that must back up to the spot for drop-off, and we need an extra five feet or so to turn and align the truck. Space requirements for the drop-off or a pick-up are: A straight space that is 50’ long, 9-1/2’ wide, and 13’ clear overhead (for the box when it is on the truck). Remember that just because it looks like a lot of space for your truck or boat, it may be very different for our truck, which is larger than just a big U-Haul truck, because we are going to extend the box off the back of the truck, thereby adding to the length required. If you have any doubts, be sure to discuss this with us. Sometimes we are depending on other areas being empty in front of the space where your container is going to be placed. If we discuss that with you, you will need to make sure that area is empty for our truck to back up for drop-off or pick-up. Good delivery and pickup planning will avoid those kinds of problems almost every time!

Where can I store my MI-BOX mobile storage container?

You can store your MI-BOX at your home or have us take it to our secure warehouse. You can also have it moved to a friend’s home or your business. We are here to help you, and part of that help is putting the mobile storage container where it is best for you. If you store it in our warehouse, just let us know when and where you want it returned, and we’ll bring it back to your house or your new house. You don’t have to do a “second move” out of a self-storage facility or a friend’s garage or bother with renting and driving moving trucks.

How can I access my MI-BOX mobile storage container when it is stored inside the secure storage centers?

If you just need to pop in and get a few things, no problem. It’s FREE. We only ask that you give us 24 hours’ notice so that we can pull up your mobile storage container for you if needed. If you don’t have 24 hours, call us anyway and we can probably help faster. We are here to serve you and will always do our very best.

Do you offer insurance for my belongings?

Mobile storage containers are similar to rental trucks.  Since we do not wrap, pack, or load your MI-BOX, we do not insure your goods, but you still have several options to get coverage for your possessions should you desire it. Your home-owners or renters’ insurance may be the most cost-effective option. Your policy may already cover your possessions temporarily while in storage away from your home, or if not, then your carrier may be willing to add that coverage for a small fee. There are also companies that specialize in mobile and self storage coverage. One that some of our customers have used is Tenant One Mobile Storage Coverage.  Should you call Tenant One (800-544-6464), you can identify our facility with them through the facility number they have assigned us, which is: 201367-TX. Another company that offers specific insurance for customers using container-based storage is MobileStorageInsurance.com.  You can contact them by clicking on the link.

Do you prorate?

We do not prorate partial months. Your monthly rental entitles you to the use of your rented MI-BOX container for all or any part of the monthly rental period as stated in your rental agreement. However, we will work with you to schedule your service to take the best advantage of your billing cycle. Your rent is charged on the monthly anniversary of the initial delivery date (or the last day of the month if the corresponding date does not exist in the subsequent month), so you must notify us that your container is empty and ready for pickup before the anniversary date in order to avoid being charged on the anniversary date.  Please see Terms & Conditions for additional details.

Can MI-BOX Moving & Mobile Storage help me with packing?

You bet. We have relationships with professional packing and loading service companies who do this kind of work every day. They are not our employees and we do not resell their services, so you are getting their prices, not their prices marked up by us. We also sell packing and moving supplies like locks, boxes, tape, shrink-wrap, bubble-wrap, and moving blankets to help protect your goods during your move. We rent moving blanket too. Just give us a call.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. You can also pay with a check or cash in advance, but we may need a credit card to keep on file for future charges. Generally, we charge you for the delivery, any moving supplies purchased, and the first month’s rent for the mobile storage container just before the initial delivery. Then we charge your card for each month’s rent on or near your rental monthly start date. We charge for any moves or final pickup or deliveries of your box from our warehouse just prior to performing the service. We are very big on not surprising our customers with unexpected charges. Tell us what you want to do, and we’ll tell you the cost up front. We don’t make our money by charging surprise fees.  We will email you a quote before we deliver or charge anything if you like.  Just ask!

Do I have to pay sales tax?

Generally speaking, if we are moving your goods in a MI-BOX container, then the rental and transportation charges for your container are not subject to sales tax.  If we are not moving your goods, then the rental of your container and the associated transportation charges are subject to sales tax.  All product sales and blanket rentals are taxed. If you are a charitable organization and you can provide a valid Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certification form OR if you are reselling our services (e.g., you are a restoration company or contractor who will charge sales tax on the price including our charges) and can provide us with a Texas Sales and Use Tax Resale Certificate, then we  do not have to charge sales tax.  Remember that the payer must be the tax exempt organization or reseller.  You cannot claim a tax exemption as a person if you are not the exempt organization. You can find both the reseller and the tax exemption forms from the State of Texas by clicking here.