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6 Tips for Renting a Shipping Container for Moving
Apr 2020

6 Tips for Renting a Shipping Container for Moving

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Shipping containers are used in worldwide cargo operations — their tough steel exteriors are designed to house items of various sizes and move them around the world. This also means that recently, they’ve become a popular option for packing up entire households, offices, and buildings for moving.

Whether you’re relocating to a new space or decluttering along the way, shipping containers are used by some of the most trusted movers in Ontario to pack up and transport all your essentials safely.

How Moving Containers Work

Movers recommend shipping containers because of their sheer size and tough exterior — they can easily withstand transport conditions to keep items safe and fit virtually everything you need inside in one trip.

For increased safety and improved material handling, shipping containers used by movers may be refurbished with wood framing and weatherproof covering, equipped with durable locks to prevent theft.

The process is simple — all you need to do is pack items properly and secure them for safe transport inside the shipping container. Movers will typically ask you to select the right size depending on the volume of items you’ll need to transport, and their dimensions. Once the container is delivered, you can start packing items — with protective wrappings as required — and load them into the container for the movers to transport.

Alternatively, you can also pack these containers for storage with appropriate climate controls to keep items in good condition.

How to Rent a Shipping Container for Moving

1. What are you moving — and how long will it take?

The first step to renting a shipping container for moving is identifying the items you need to transport. As well, you need to know approximately how long the move will take for you to get settled in a new place.

Start by creating a list of items that you need to set up at a new location, and those you’re replacing or offloading to a storage facility for repurposing or eventual disposal. Narrowing these items down to their type and handling requirements helps identify the size of the moving container you need, and how long you will need it for.

Complete your moving schedule with details about the new location and travel times between pick-up and drop-off. These need to be factored in your rental agreement, so you will have the container at your disposal for the number of trips required to complete the move.

2. Select the right size

The size of the moving container you rent depends on how many items you’re moving, their size, and handling requirements. Typically, 20- and 40-feet containers are available, and serve a range of moving requirements.

Smaller containers can accommodate household items like furniture and appliances, ranging from apartments to several rooms of the average home. In contrast, larger containers are suited for larger homes or even commercial relocations and accommodate both more furniture, electronics, and other large equipment.

The key to selecting the right container is taking inventory of what you own and what you’re moving, their dimensions, and handling requirements. Consider which items can be stacked on top of one another, and those that require a buffer space to prevent chips, cracks, and other damage.

3. Schedule the move

When are you moving? It’s important to coordinate with the movers so that you can schedule the delivery of the moving containers with enough time for packing and loading, and on-time pick-up and drop-off. Being transparent with the movers about your schedule and moving requirements helps you stay on-track for set-up, helping you settle in at a new location easily.

To achieve this, make sure that you allocate allowances in terms of space inside the container and your moving schedule. You’ll want some additional room to make sure that all the items you need to transport fit inside, and extra time to finish packing everything with protective wrappings as required.

Make sure that your schedule is synced with the movers — you need to be present during pick-up and drop-off to supervise the move and ensure it’s completed the way you intended.

4. Pack items properly

The key to a successful move is keeping furniture, appliances, equipment, and other items safe during transportation. Before loading them into the shipping container for pick-up by the movers, these items need to be packed properly.

Depending on what kind of items you are moving, some of them are suited for cardboard boxes, while others may require moving blankets, bubble wrap, and other protective wrappings. Stock up on packing supplies well before the move — make sure that you have enough tape, scissors, markers, packing paper, ropes, and other supplies to pack items and keep them safe.

5. Load items strategically

Eliminate the stress of moving by setting up a system for loading up your shipping container. To start, make sure that the weight is distributed evenly; heavy items like large furniture should be spread out in different corners of the container to prevent any damage during transport.

Think about what items you need right away, and those you can wait until you’re a bit more settled to unpack. Essentials like mattresses, pillows, blankets, toiletries, and clothes should be easily accessible. In contrast, refrain from storing valuables and important documents in a moving container; these should be on hand during the move to avoid major losses.

What Doesn’t Go into Moving Containers

Not all items are suited for transport in a shipping container — and they’re not limited to valuables and important documents. Certain items are not allowed shipping containers because they’re either hazardous or illegal. These include:

1. Flammable items

Gasoline, lighter fluid, motor oil, propane tanks, paint, cleaning solvents, and other similar materials are not allowed inside moving containers because they could cause explosions or start dangerous fires.

2. Hazardous materials:

Weapons, such as loaded guns, scuba tanks, poisons, and other similar items, are not eligible for transport due to their hazardous and potentially illegal nature, depending on where you’re moving.

3. Perishable items

Food and drink, especially refrigerated goods, should not be stocked inside shipping containers. These will quickly go bad when taken out of the appropriate climate control and become unsafe for future consumption.

To learn more about moving home using shipping containers, call Sigma Container at 855-340-3342 or contact us here.

Tom Bray is a freelance writer with over five years experience writing for online publications and over ten years in business and sales. He studied journalism and media and has written for various online outlets on multiple topics. His specialty subjects are shipping containers and transport logistics.

Tom’s passion for writing and transport logistics motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that can show you how a shipping container can be effectively utilized and modified to each person’s needs.

You can connect with Tom via email at