Packing a Shipping Container – Tips and Tricks

by Kathleen Donohoe

When it comes to moving house, we are all looking for ways to simplify the big job it can be. And one of the cheapest and easiest way to relocate, is to use shipping containers! Here at Container Traders, our Self Pack Removal Service is just that – packing yourself, and your home into a shipping container, and moving. Put simply, you ring us to deliver the container to your current home or business, pack it full of your items; ring us to move the container to your new home or business, where you unpack it all; then ring us again and we’ll take the container away! This method can also save you up to 50% on traditional removalist costs, and you get the piece of mind knowing you’ve packed everything.


Tip 1 – Decluttering, and Deciding what to Pack

Generally, a 20ft shipping container will be able to comfortably hold the contents of a 3 bedroom home – the internal capacity is around 38m3 – but you wont be able to put in anything longer than 5.9m, as this is the internal length of the container. Starting off by writing an inventory list of your household items – even if you just start with the larger ones, will help you to visualise and think about a plan to fit all the times in your container. Weigh up, from this list, what you do want to take, and what should be re-homed, given away, or thrown away. Moving is a great time to declutter the house and get rid of things you don’t use often enough to keep! And remember – the more you plan the plan the pack, the quicker it will be to actually pack the container!


Tip 2 – Preparing the Container for Packing

The main idea to remember in preparing a shipping container for moving is placement – the container will need to be close enough to your house that it’s convenient to load, while not blocking any roads, car parking or traffic. If you want to put the container on lawn or a driveway, you may want to protect the ground by placing bricks or wooden planks underneath to create a foundation for the container to sit on – which is especially important if the ground is uneven, as you’ll need to level the container – read more about levelling here.

Tip 3 – Packing and Preparing your items

One of the most important tips to make sure your items arrive at their destination safely and in one piece, is to make sure all your items are packed and wrapped correctly. The next is to create the most efficient way for you to empty your house and pack the container at the same time. All valuable or fragile objects should be wrapped in bubble wrap, newspaper, or to save on more space, wrap them in towels and sheets you’re planning on taking anyway. Smaller items (kids toys, kitchen items etc) should be put into moving boxes, and fill the space in boxes that have large items in there with smaller ones to stop the items moving around. And label all your boxes! It will save your sanity when you’re trying to find your items when unpacking! 

Tip 4 – Planning how to Pack the Container

selfpack1As if you’re going camping, leave out some of the items you’ll need to live with for the move, either to take with you or pack into the container last – it’s important to remember that whatever you pack last will be the first thing you unpack. To smooth the packing process, and keep the structural integrity of the container intact, try to place the heavy or large items in your container first, and then fill the gaps with all your boxes, or smaller items.

Tip 5 – Packing the Container

Pack your container snugly, as per your plan in the last tip. Remember to use two people for the heaviest items, so you don’t do any damage to yourself! And try to place pillows, towels or sheets in between all items, so your items don’t bang against each other during their journey, stopping movement, scratching and breakage. Don’t forget to tie everything down securely as you go, using rope, straps or pulleys, as shipping containers have tie off points inside the walls specifically for this.

Tip 6 – Final Packing Checks

After checking over all your inventory lists, plans and your house, do a final once over your packing and make any adjustments as needed. Use the lockbox if your container has one to securely lock all your belongings – and have two keys to the padlock, with two different people if possible so you cant accidentally lose one! With that, the container is strong, safe and ready to go!

So when you’re ready to move, or ready to order your container, give us a call on 1300 89 89 70 – we’re equipped with the largest delivery network of professional drivers to help make your move what it should be – a breeze!