Do you feel uncomfortable with the thought of having some strangers in your house who are rummaging through your stuff during a move? You’re not alone! The fact that a moving company is reputable and completely trustworthy might not make a difference if you tend to feel anxious when someone is in your personal space.

Fortunately though, if you aren’t a fan of driving moving trucks by yourself, there is one more moving option that you can always go for. In the interest of finding a middle ground that floats your boat, it’s best to turn your attention towards a ‘moving container move’. Keep reading on to know everything you need to know about moving containers.

What Exactly are Moving Containers?

A moving container is just a moving truck without the truck part attached to it. It is like a portable storage system. If you decide to rent a moving container, you will be essentially skipping the part of the full moving service where employees of the moving company come and pack/unpack and load/unload your stuff. In this way, a moving container is a more cost-efficient way of moving as compared to a full-service move.

A moving container company essentially brings you the container. You load it up according to your own schedule and flexibility. That’s it, then you can sit back and relax. The moving container will transport all of your stuff to the new house while you wait for it to arrive. Once the container is delivered, you can unload it and notify the company to pick it up. Most of the companies also let you store the moving container full of your belongings in a warehouse if your new home isn’t ready in time.

How Do You Go About Renting A Moving Container?

There are several steps that you need to follow when you rent a moving container:

1. Searching for companies

The first step would be to search for licensed companies that would serve your location. You can ask your family members or friends if they have heard of or recently hired any good moving container companies. You can inquire with a local real estate agent. There is a possibility that they might know of good companies as they might have already assisted their own customers with their moves either in or out of the area. You can also search for companies that operate in your area.

See also: 5 Best Moving Container Companies

2. Deciding on a company

Once you find some companies, conduct a background check in order to make sure they are trustworthy and reliable. You could talk to your friend and family members and ask for personal reviews. You could also talk to the company’s past clients and ask them about their experience. Moreover, you could read reviews on third party websites like All of this will help you to make a decision by comparing the quality of service offered by each company.

You can also compare the quote offered on the company website in order to make sure that the service fits within your budget. You can definitely search for some major and established companies in your area. Just make sure that you check whether you can hire a smaller competitor which offers services at a better price.

3. Figuring out your own specific needs

You need to determine the size of the container and how long you will be needing it for. Say you have a day job and only get two hours to spare in the evening, you will probably require it to be delivered to your house a few days or weeks prior to the day of your move. If you need to store your belongings for a few days till your new house gets ready, you reconsider your options.

You can also keep the container in your driveway. In case you do not have any additional space around your house for the container, you can choose to store your things in the container and send it to the company warehouse. It will cost some extra fees though.

See also: What Size Moving Container Do You Need

4. Choosing a date and a delivery location

You need to figure out how many days you will require to load up the entire container. Accordingly, you can inform the company to deliver the container on a specific date to your current house.

5. Loading the container and setting a pick-up date

Once you are done loading your stuff into the container, you can set a pick-up date wherein the company will pick up the container and transport it to your new house.

6. Setting a date for delivery to the destination

If your house is ready, you can ask for immediate delivery of your stuff. If your house is in the process of getting ready, you can choose a date and ask the company to deliver your belongings on that particular day.

7. Unloading

You can then unload according to your own convenience and ask the company to pick up the container once you are done unloading.

Where can I find the Right Moving Company?

First of all, you must always remember that there is no one right company. Which moving container company is right for you depends on a number of factors. Factors like the distance of your move, your budget, loading time, and the companies available in your area determine what company will suit you better. The company that satisfies a maximum number of your needs with their good quality service is definitely the right company for you.

Fortunately, there are several reputable, reliable and licensed companies which will let you rent moving containers at a reasonable price. You should definitely consider choosing companies like U-Haul, PODS, U-Pack, 1-800-PACK-RAT and SMARTBOX. You can either visit the company website or visit their office in order to get more information on renting their containers.

A good moving container company must possess the following qualities:

  • The company should be punctual in its functioning. It should not make you worry about whether the trucks will arrive or deliver your stuff late.
  • The company should offer you flexibility and let you work at your own pace. You are not used to loading and unloading containers. You are going to take time especially if you are working simultaneously.
  • The customer service offered by the company should be impeccable. Customers should be able to have a dialogue with the company when they want to report issues or have any queries regarding the services.
  • The company should work in an efficient manner so as to make sure that the move happens smoothly.
  • When your stuff is in transit, there is always a chance of it getting damaged or stolen. The moving container company should be able to address all your queries related to purchasing a moving insurance.

Things To Know Before Choosing A Moving Container

Before you make any concrete decisions about renting a moving container, you should definitely remember one thing. A moving container move is like Indian food. It may not agree with a lot of people but the ones who like it, can’t stop having it. Similarly, a moving container move is not for everyone. You should carefully evaluate certain things before you decide to rent a moving container.

1. Budget

When you are planning a move, all your decisions eventually dilute down to how much money you are willing to spend on a particular thing. In this aspect, moving container moves fall in the middle of the range. They will cost you much less than a full service move, but will cost you more than a DIY move.

Before deciding to go for a moving container, keep in mind that renting the container is not the only expenditure you will have to make. There are certain hidden costs which you will have to account for while deciding on your budget. You will have to buy new packaging supplies, pay fuel charges and environmental taxes, get some help for loading and unloading the container or even pay extra storage fees if your stuff is going to be stored in the company warehouse.

Also read: The Average Cost of Moving Containers

2. Driving

If you are someone who gets super frustrated and stressed while driving, especially while driving a rented vehicle; a moving container move might just be the thing for you. Many intrusive thoughts come very naturally to people while they drive rented vehicles. You might wonder and worry about potential extra fees, scratches on the rented vehicle, your stuff getting damaged when the truck hits a speed bump, filling up the gas tank and moving insurance among others. All these thoughts may stress you out very easily. Renting a moving container should probably then be the best option for you.

See also: How Moving Containers Can Save You Money and Stress

3. Parking Space

The company will drop off the container to your current house whenever you want to start loading your stuff into it. The container is at the ground level so it is very easy to carry and load your things. If you have an adequate amount of parking space around your house or if you have a big driveway, renting a moving container should work for you. However, many times people live in neighborhoods that have several ‘no parking’ zones. They might be living in a street where different houses share one common driveway. In this case, you would probably have to load the container in a single day and store it in the company warehouse.

4. Loading and unloading your own stuff

Ask yourself this question. Are you comfortable and free enough to load and unload your own stuff? If you are, then a moving container should work out perfectly for you. If your answer is no, you might have to hire some helpers for the loading process and this will definitely cost you some extra bucks. Hiring helpers for the loading process can at times increase your budget in a way that it makes the cost of your move be on par with a full service move. So this is when it’s better to go with a Full Service move itself.

5. Packing your stuff

You will have to spend money on new and good quality packaging supplies as well. If you are good at planning everything in a meticulous way and aren’t very clumsy, a moving container move should work out for you.

How much will a Moving Container Company Charge you for the Move?

A moving container move can cost you anywhere around $300 to $700 if you plan for a short distance move. Meanwhile, a long-distance move will cost you around $2,000 to $3,000. A moving container company will charge you money on the basis of several things:

  • Distance Of Your Move: Logically speaking, a 100-mile move will obviously cost you much less than a 1000-mile move.
  • Size Of Your Container: There are different sizes of containers available for you to rent. If you have a lot of belongings that need to be loaded and transported, you will have to pay for a bigger container. If you are someone who enjoys frugal living, a smaller container that isn’t expensive will work for you.
  • Storage: If you need to store your stuff either on-site or in the company warehouse, you will definitely be charged additional fees for it. While some companies have a small amount of time built into their prices, you will have to pay for the extra amount of time that you will require for storage.
  • Insurance: If you are moving a lot of expensive stuff like antiques, jewelry, paintings etc., you will probably look into purchasing insurance in order to safeguard your belongings.

Also Read: What Discounts do Moving Container Companies Offer

What Size Moving Container Should You Rent?

You can decide on the size of the moving container you will need on the basis of the number of rooms in your house. A small container might suffice for a house with 1-2 rooms. However, you will need a large sized container if your house has 3-4 rooms. You can also rent a moving trailer if your house has more than four rooms.

Moving containers generally come in three common sizes: small, medium and large. However, sometimes the size you need isn’t available in the company you want to hire. Moreover, the dimensions of the container for each size tend to vary a bit. So make sure you ask your company for precise dimensions of the container before you rent it. Here is a size chart that is roughly followed by most of the companies:

Container SizeDimensionsHome typeContainer capacity (cu.ft.)
Small7 ft x 7 ft x 8 ftStudio Apartment100-375
Medium12 ft. x 8 ft. x 8 ft1- to 2-bedroom home375-750
Large16 ft. x 8 ft. x 8 ft2- to 3-bedroom home750-1000
Moving Trailer27 ft. x 8 ft. x 9 ft4-bedroom home2000

Benefits of a Moving Container Move

Doesn’t packing numerous boxes and then making several trips to your new house to move all your stuff sound tremendously exhausting? Wouldn’t it be better to just pack all your things and make one single trip and move everything at once? This is the exact reason for the growing popularity of moving containers. Not only do they save your time, but they also preserve your mental sanity and are easy on the pocket as well. You can profit by renting moving containers in many ways.

  • Renting a moving container is a very convenient option as you can load and store your belongings in the container (which is portable) whenever and wherever you want. You can keep it outside your house for a month, or even send the container to a company storage facility in case your new home isn’t ready.
  • The possibility of your stuff getting stolen is almost null. The company locks the container and hands the key over to you. Only you can access the stuff inside the container and lock it up safely when you aren’t around. Your stuff reaches your new house safely and then you can unlock the container to unload your stuff.
  • Renting a moving container gives you the freedom to make your own schedule according to how busy you are. The companies also offer you flexibility in terms of choosing the size of the container that’s appropriate for your move.
  • The moving containers are designed to withstand any kind of extreme weather conditions. An extra layer of weather proof cover made from heavy duty plywood and metal is also added on top of the container. This prevents damage and ensures that all your belongings remain safe inside the container.
  • People often worry about a move draining their savings, and understandably so. However, a moving container is a perfectly good cost-effective way of moving. You do most of the work, but there is still no hassle of driving the truck by yourself.

What happens when you Cancel your Move?

There are several reasons why you might choose to not move at all. Some companies will allow you to cancel your move free of cost if you do so well ahead in time. Some companies will also let you cancel your moves for free just a couple of days before your move. However, most of the companies have a tendency to levy cancellation fees.

Loading Tips for a Moving Container Move

Loading your stuff into a moving container isn’t a very complicated task. The mantra which will help you load your things into the container properly is ‘to fit as much as you can in the least amount of space’. This will ensure that your belongings aren’t bouncing around in the container when the truck is in transit. It’s a great way to prevent breakages. Here are a few tips that will make the process of loading a container much easier.

1. Divide And Conquer

It is advisable to have all your stuff packed and ready to go before the container is dropped off to your place. In this way, you will know how many boxes and other items are to be loaded. Then, you can allot all your time to load your stuff in a systematic manner. Dividing and conquering is a thumb rule that you should follow. Don’t mix up the processes of packing and loading. This will lead to a lot of confusion and chaotic loading would lead to breakages. Using equally sized boxes will prove to be helpful, as you can simply stack them one upon another.

2. Smart Packing

Allow yourself to take a little bit of time to plan the loading process. You need to figure out how you can use the available space in a smart manner. Begin with the loading of the bottom layer which should ideally be equally sized boxes which are very heavy. Then you can work your way towards the top. The boxes packed at the top must be lightweight. Oddly shaped objects can also be packed at the top. There shouldn’t be any space between the objects, everything should be packed in tightly. This will ensure that the objects don’t move and get damaged while the truck is moving.

3. Don’t Rush With The Loading

Doing something in a hurry may lead to unfavorable endings. Rushing through the process of packing and loading could cost you a lot of money and lead to grief. If you don’t put enough planning while loading your items, boxes might open up and your stuff may bounce around in the container while it is moving. If you pack the container in a haphazard manner, you might not be able to fit your things in one and would then have to rent another. The company will give you some time to pack your container, so make sure you devote enough time to loading in an organized way.

4. Distributing The Weight Equally

Make sure that you don’t place all the heavy items like furniture and electrical appliances in one corner of the container. Make sure that all your heavy belongings are spread out evenly in the container.

5. Don’t Forget About Unloading

Many of us tend to worry only about getting our belongings out of our current house. You tend to forget that after you reach your new house, you might not be able to unload the container in one day. It would be wise to pack all the essential items like clothes, plates and bedsheets towards the end so that these are the first things you unload when you reach your new house.

6. Hold On To Your Valuables

Lastly, there are some items that you absolutely can’t risk getting damaged or lost. These items could be some important documents or family heirlooms and jewelry. It would be best to not load these items. Keep them with you at all points of time.

What should you not Pack Inside your Moving Container?

If you are planning a moving container move, there are certain rules of packing that you should be aware of. It’s crucial that you know what items cannot be packed inside a container. In order to get further guidance on this, you can ask your company to provide you with a complete list of objects that aren’t allowed inside the container. Some of them might be obvious while the others are more or less surprising. Anyway, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry? Therefore, make sure that you go through the entire list as you don’t want your objects to be in peril just because you didn’t make the effort to read up.

1. Valuables

Accidents can’t be predicted. Even if the container is damage proof, you should always make sure that all your valuable items are with you. This is especially true if the thing also has a sentimental value. Valuable items could include your family heirlooms, jewelry, laptops, important documents, expensive electronic appliances, firearms medicines etc. If you do pack your valuables inside the container, don’t forget to enquire about the valuation options provided by the company.

2. Plants

If in storage, the plants either die or become home to a lot of insects or pests. Most of the companies will not allow you to transport your plants in their containers, especially if it’s a long-distance move. Moreover, many states have laws that ban certain plants from being imported into that particular state.

3. Perishable Items

Food items (both opened and unopened) ideally shouldn’t be packed into the container as food decays rapidly. This can attract some unwanted pests (like rats and bugs) to your stuff, especially when they are in storage. We recommend that you donate any food that you can’t take along with you to a food bank. Although the food can’t be put in the container, that doesn’t mean you have to waste it.

4. Hazardous Materials

Moving companies will straight out refuse to transport hazardous materials. There will be no negotiations happening in their office regarding this matter. Hazardous items are materials that contain highly combustible and potentially explosive chemicals. This list could include items like paints, aerosols, batteries, fire extinguisher, motor oil, gasoline and many more. You can either donate or dispose of these items before your move. Thankfully, most of these items are very easily replaceable.


The key to a smooth move is meticulous planning and plenty of researching. If you have all the information and you plan your things accordingly, there is a minimal chance of your move turning into a nightmare. Knowing how you can make the most of moving containers will only make your planning and execution process of the move much easier.