Moving is the best time to sort through your personal items and possessions and get rid of unwanted or unused things. And the best reason for this – the less you have to pack and move, the more you can save, in time and money!
The best rule of thumb with downsizing is – if you can’t remember the last time you used it, then it is probably not worth keeping! But there are also a few other ideas to keep in mind when you’re getting rid of clutter: You only really need one of anything; rationalize every item, including your wardrobe; don’t keep any furniture that is not used for a specific purpose; and, if in doubt, throw it out! Start a list now, of items to keep, to sell, to give away, to recycle and to donate.
Planning is an important part to any move – but planning how to pack the shipping container is vital to the wellbeing of your possessions. The main thing to remember here is constant reassessment!
Always keep a running inventory as you pack – either written by hand or on the computer. Correspond this with numbered boxes that are clearly labelled – not only will you be able to find everything you need much easier, but for insurance purposes it is a must. By maintaining an electronic spreadsheet of all the item’s you have, you will be easily able to put a value on the items later, again for insurance. The value should be the replacement price at your destination.
A 20ft. shipping container will generally be large enough to hold all of the contents in a standard three bedroom home – the internal capacity is 38m, 5.95m in length, 2.53m in width and 2.75m in height, and a weight allowance of 8 tonnes.
Another side to planning is where the container will be placed. You most likely will want the container to be placed somewhere convenient for you – with the doors facing the garage or front door of your home for easier packing and unpacking access. Check the local council laws for your area, but generally speaking, the container cannot block any residential or commercial roads or traffic or be in a public car park. The container will also need to be placed on a level site – which may need a foundation. You can read more on site preparation here.
The decision to make an inventory list will especially come in handy when it is time to pack. When you number and label all your boxes, everything will be much easier to find! All items should be packed and loaded into strong cardboard boxes, and it can be a good idea to tape the bottom of the boxes shut to reinforce them. Wrap anything breakable in newspaper, bubble wrap or towels and place packing peanuts or something similar to further protect them. Try not to leave any empty space inside the boxes themselves, as some shipping containers can tilt up to thirty degrees during transport. If you can’t get or don’t like the idea of packing peanuts, an easy solution is to use blankets or pillows – or even soft toys from the kids rooms.
There are a few items that you shouldn’t pack into the container, but rather take with you wherever possible. Any original or personal documents like birth certificates, wills, original videos and photos, wedding pictures, passports or jewelry are all extremely valuable and cannot usually be replaced by insurance. Anything that is poisonous, corrosive, flammable, perishable should definitely not be packed, like spray cans, some cleaning equipment, food, insecticides and portable gas bottles.
Also remember to drain everything of fuel, like lawn mowers and disconnect all batteries from your items to keep the majority of your contents safe!
Using a reputable company like Container Traders, you will be asked when you book the container if you need the doors loaded to the cab, or rear of the truck; and this is when it will become important. Doors loaded to the rear will come off the truck first, and usually this is best if you are delivery to the garage door and dropping the container on your driveway. Loading the container will be much easier if you deliver close to your outside point. When placing items inside the container, try to keep the important boxes with a few essential contents like toiletries, towels, basic bedding and cooking equipment with some clothing off to the side to be packed last, so you don’t have to search through an entire container to find these items when you first have it delivered.
Don’t overload the boxes, if they start to bulge then they will most likely break in transit. Load heavier items first, but try to keep them lower to the floor, placing lighter items or boxes on top of these as you go, filling in any empty space with towels, blankets, pillows or soft toys (wrapped in plastic). This will ensure your contents don’t move around too much in transit, and reduce the risk of breakage.
The larger items should be wrapped in plastic bed sheets or blankets to protect them from scratches, and avoid pressure points when placing them into the container – weight isn’t a problem as long as it’s divided evenly along a large surface area.
The last tip is don’t forget to clean – there are quarantine restrictions in some states of Australia (more if moving overseas) so any outdoor equipment will have to be totally clear of soils and plant matter. This will also keep the remaining items clean!
5. Tracking and security
Your container will hold your life’s contents – make sure you insure it properly. With a spreadsheet or list of every item in the container, it should be easy to set up insurance for your shipping container. All you will need to tell them are the starting destination and end destination; and the number on the metal plate on the door of the container. You should email your contents list to them, and to yourself for safe keeping – and be prepared that some breakage may not be covered because of the way the container was packed. Another reason to pack so carefully! When loading, every so often you should have secured the contents with rope along the sides of the container to secure it properly – so there will hopefully be no need for insurance.
Once the container is fully packed, and you are sure the contents are safe and secure, shut the doors and use a very strong padlock to lock the doors for transport. A padlock that’s resistant to bolt cutters is best – and one with two keys. With two keys, you can give another key to someone else, as added security in case one gets lost.
With this comprehensive list of how to manage packing space in your shipping container, you can see that using a shipping container to move is the best way to go! By using this simple guide, you can save yourself almost 50% off the cost of traditional movers, and pack at your own leisure. Container Traders can help with any container needs – ring us on 1300 89 89 70 to set this up today.