How to pack a storage container

10 Helpful Tips For Packing A Storage Container

Moving is a stressful and chaotic time. It can challenge our sanity – and often does. How could it not? There are so many things to remember. 

Despite our best efforts, sometimes important details get overlooked. But don’t worry – we’re here to be your safety net and catch any details you miss. 

So, let’s get to why you’re here…how do you pack a storage container?

It might seem like a simple question, but it’s an important one, even if it’s not at the forefront of our minds when we are trying to move an entire home. 

Storage containers are very useful when moving your home or business. They offer a durable, waterproof storage solution that gives you the time and the space to pack properly. Our steel shipping containers offer self-enclosed storage, eliminating rodent or bug problems, and because they are made to transport items long distances they also make great long-term storage options.

No matter your reason for using a Mobile Storage Rentals storage container, follow our 10 tips for packing a storage container to make sure you’re making the most of the space and your belongings arrive in-tact. 

1. Make a Plan

You should start with a game plan. Make a list of your large furniture, fragile items, and awkwardly shaped objects and decide on their order and placement.

Whether you’re moving, renovating, or simply storing items, it’s important you plan it out so you don’t bury something important you’ll need to access.

Her are a few important questions to ask yourself:

  • Will you need to access these items on short notice?
  • Will certain items need to be loaded in a specific order?
  • How many heavy items do I have? (More on this below…)
  • How much space will I need? What is my largest piece of furniture?
  • What does the new layout of my home look like?
  • Will I have to move the living room in before the kitchen?


Now that you have a plan, you can organize your boxes by the size and quantity and label them by room for easy packing later.

2. Stock Up On Supplies

Moving all of your belongings requires a lot of supplies. Some people buy new while others try to source greener options, but either way ensure you’re prepared to pack!

Here are some supplies we suggest to make moving easier: 

  • Moving boxes of all sizes
  • Packing tape for securing items and sealing boxes
  • Spare scissors or exacto knife 
  • Bubble wrap or newspapers
  • Moving blankets
  • Water bottles and snacks
tips for packing a storage container - supply list

No move will ever go exactly to plan, so make sure you have extra supplies. It’s better to be safe than sorry! It’s also important to stay hydrated and fed on moving day – with a busy schedule, simple snacks like granola bars and fruit are an easy solution.


Don’t forget to consolidate your cleaning supplies by packing a basic kit that includes items like rags and cleaning products so you can clean as you unpack. 

3. Secure Your Belongings

No one wants to see their belongings damaged or lost. Luckily, when you use our storage containers, we ensure that your belongings are safely secured. 

Each Mobile Storage Rental shipping container is equipped with easy-to-locate anchor hoops. You can use rope, ratchet straps, or bungee cords to secure your belongings. This is a very important step you shouldn’t skip.

When you’re securing any top-heavy or awkward objects, be sure they are strapped in tightly. This guarantees nothing is damaged by it shifting or sliding during transit. We want to ensure the safety of everyone involved during your move, as well as protect your belongings. 

You can find more information on how to secure your belongings here.

4. Cover Up!

Once you’ve placed your large belongings in your storage container, it’s important to protect surfaces that can be scratched, dented or chipped. Wrap furniture in blankets, bubble wrap, or lay down cardboard to protect items like hardwood tables, paintings, and mirrors. 

Pack your glassware and electronics in furniture like wardrobes and desks. Use newspaper to fill in the gaps. Make the most of your space and keep your valuables safe!

5. Distribute the Weight Evenly

It’s important to keep in mind how you will distribute weight throughout the container. To avoid tipping your container, evenly distribute the weight throughout the storage container. A typical mistake is stacking all of your heavy furniture at the back while the front is full of boxes.

Ask yourself: 

  • Am I loading too much on one side of the storage container?
  • How far is the container travelling?
  • Any sudden turns along the way?
  • Will I be able to access my items easily with this layout?
  • Am I using space efficiently?

6. Pack Your Container Tightly

Try to pack your container tightly to prevent shifting during transport. Use your plan from step one, layer objects on one another to weigh them down, and fit items together to interlock them and reduce shifting.

As you pack, look for any spaces where objects can shift or fall over and fill them in with pillows, clothing, towels, or blankets. You can also s
tand couches on their end to allow for more floor space. (For leather couches, covering it and standing it on its end protects the leather from ripping due to weight.) Use your packing tape to make sure all drawers and cabinets are tapped shut. 

Our loading and shipping procedures ensure your container will not be subject to any steep tilting or sudden turns, but it’s still a good idea to pack your possessions tightly for added protection.

7. Keep Stability in Mind

Make sure you have a stable load by using boxes that are roughly the same size and structurally sound. If you’re reusing boxes, you can reinforce them with your packing tape. 

To make the process of unpacking a breeze, label your boxes to identify contents quickly and keep a record of what items are where. 

Place heavier items on the floor and stack lighter things on top. Do not pile items too high – try to keep it an even height.

Take into consideration the changes in humidity and temperature while your belongings are in a Mobile Storage container. Our containers are waterproof, but if temperatures change some objects may be at risk of damage. 

8. Be Mindful of Access

If you are using a container for an extended period, consider what objects you might need to access and place them near the front of the shipping container. Things like important documents, medications, or electronics.

Another thing to keep in mind is to make a path so you can enter your container without unpacking. If you find that you have a lot of items that you need on a daily basis (or if you are planning to store your shipping container at our storage facility) consider using luggage to keep essential items with you.

Keep your important documents in a plastic or metal container that will be easy to identify and won’t be susceptible to water damage.

9. Long-Term Packing

How long are you planning on using the storage container? Some people use our containers for months as a long-term storage solution. If you’re planning to do this, consider the following:

  • Can my items be damaged by sudden drops or rises in temperature?
  • Can my items be affected by humidity?
  • Are there items that can attract insects or other pests?
  • Are mildew and other factors like odour and fire safety a possibility?

Here are some more expert tips to consider if you’re using our storage containers for several months:

    • If you’re storing fabrics and furniture that can absorb odours, consider leaving an open box of baking soda to absorb any unpleasant smells.
    • To protect your items from water damage, inspect your storage container on arrival with the driver to ensure your container is free of any cracks or leaks.
    • Store cardboard boxes and containers with paper documents off the ground.
    • Avoid storing items like pet food, food items, or plants as these can attract insects and other pests.
    • Take preventative fire safety measures by planning ahead and unplugging all electronics 24 hours prior to packing them and removing all batteries.
    • Under no circumstances should you store chemicals or aerosol cans in your shipping container as sudden changes in temperature can cause these items to combust or release toxic vapours.
    • Take into consideration humidity and mildew by storing items that are 100% dry and packing items with a desiccant, like silica gel packets, to absorb moisture.

10. Always Lock Up

You must provide your own lock for your storage container; remember to store the the key or combination in a safe place. Even if the storage container will remain on your property, it is essential to buy a lock that only you have the means to unlock.

If your shipping container is being kept at one of Mobile Storage Rentals storage facilities, having your own second lock is an added measure.


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    *Local packages only available in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Breslau, New Dundee, & Mannheim.