You used to be limited in your storage options -- you could either rely on a moving company if you were using movers, or you could place your belongings in a self-storage facility, which would involve you hauling and transporting the items.

Mobile storage (or PODs) is another way to go. It works when a mobile storage facility brings a large container, using a trailer, right outside your house. You then load it with the items you want to put into storage.

When you're done, the storage container gets picked up and taken to the company's storage facility, where you access it like you do normal storage (although you might need to give a bit more notice, be sure to ask the company). You won't have to drive a big truck with this kind of storage, and it saves the step of loading a van -- you load it right into the storage unit itself.

When you want your stuff back, the company can ship the container to your old house or to a new house if you've since moved. You unpack the container, and then the company comes and picks it up. This efficient storage solution may be right for you. Here are some things to consider when deciding on this option.

  • The storage container should be moved to a storage unit when it is loaded. It cannot remain at the home or office location indefinitely; in fact, most storage companies insist on the trailer being moved as soon as possible after loading.
  • If you live in a condo or apartment you may need permission from your homeowners association or landlord, respectively, to have a trailer parked outside for a period of time.
  • If your office or home is on a steep hill you may not be able to use mobile storage, unless you have a flat, hard surface where the unit can be loaded.
  • Rates for mobile storage, just like regular storage, will vary on location and even time of year.
  • You are in total control of how the goods are packed so you will know exactly where everything is when you wish to remove items from storage.
  • Check with your insurance agent about coverage for your goods in storage.

Now the fun part: Packing the container.

  • In order to protect your items from water entering the storage container, use a plastic sheet, tarps or plywood to seal the container. To protect your items from being scratched or damaged in any way, use blankets, bubble packing and paper pads.
  • Fill up all the boxes and make sure you close them securely.
  • In order to prevent the items from shifting and breaking inside the container, pack the items as densely as possible.
  • Pack heavy items (books for example) in smaller boxes rather than big ones to make it easier to move them in and out of the container.
  • Large boxes are best for packing lighter items; this way you can move many items in a single box.
  • When you are not using your mobile container, keep it locked with a strong commercial-grade padlock.
  • As you pack your items, prepare an inventory list to keep track of them.

Some More Tips:

Mattresses: Place your mattresses and box springs along the side of your container and shield them with protective bags.

Mirrors and Pictures: Wrap your mirrors and pictures with bubble packing to protect them from damage. Do not lay them flat as this could increase the chances of breakage. Put them next to your mattresses or alongside your mobile unit for even more protection.

Appliances: Heavy appliances are a challenge to pack and move. Many are also very expensive and should be cleaned to remove any dirt from them before being stored. Make sure that the appliances are completely dry before being packed and stored to avoid the formation of mildew.

Clothing: Wardrobe moving boxes are recommended for storing clothing. They have metal bars on which you can hang your clothes and keep them in a similar position to that of being in a closet. Your shoes, bags and other smaller items can be placed at the bottom of the box.