Portable storage units can be a convenient and flexible way to store and transport your items during a move or renovation. However, packing a portable storage unit efficiently comes with its challenges. Without a strategy, the limited storage space can quickly become chaotic and disorganized.



If you plan to use a portable storage unit soon, keep reading to learn expert portable storage packing tips for maximizing your space while keeping your belongings secure and well-organized. Get ready to make the most of every square inch!  



What are some portable storage packing tips?



Once you’ve packed up every room in your house, hopefully, following our helpful packing tips from the bathroom to the living room, you’re ready to get started loading your portable storage unit. But before you roll up the door and haul your boxes inside, read these smart tips to save you from frustration and damaged belongings.  



Start by Creating a Plan



You’ll thank yourself later and save time by making a plan that guides the loading of your moving container.



  1. Draw a diagram based on the unit’s dimensions to visualize how your items will fit. If you have an empty room, use painter’s tape to mark the measurements, including the height of your unit, for a working model.
  2. Sort your belongings strategically based on size, weight, and fragility.
  3. Decide the order you’ll load these items. (Refer to our next tips.)
  4. Label your boxes, detailing the contents.
  5. Use a notebook or a digital app to create an inventory of your belongings so you can more easily locate them once you’ve reached your destination.

Pack in the Same Size Boxes



Make loading much easier and more organized by using all the same-sized boxes. Rather than playing a real-life version of Tetris, uniform boxes stack neatly, maximize the space, and prevent wasted areas.  



Remember, even though the boxes may be the same size, be mindful of the weight. While it may seem tempting to pack as much as possible into a single box, remember that you will need to lift and carry it. Heavy boxes could strain your back and often increase the risk of accidents.



Take Apart Furniture Before Loading



Disassembling furniture saves space and ensures easy handling. Follow these tips to help the process go smoothly.



  1. Remove legs, cushions, or any detachable parts.
  2. Store screws, bolts, and other hardware in labeled plastic bags.
  3. Take photos to help with reassembling the furniture later.
  4. Wrap disassembled parts with protective blankets or bubble wrap to prevent damage

Roll Up Your Rugs Before Placing Them in the Container



Save space and protect your rugs by rolling them up before loading them. After vacuuming and cleaning them thoroughly, roll the rug tightly from one end to the other and secure it with tape or rope to keep it from unraveling.



Moisture Absorbers Can Prevent Mold Damage



In humid environments, such as South Carolina, prevent your belongings from getting ruined by adding moisture absorbers to your packing strategy. These handy little packets absorb excess moisture and eliminate mold and mildew. Place them strategically throughout your storage unit, focusing on areas prone to dampness.



Establish a Safe Loading Path



Streamline the loading process by creating a pathway cleared of all obstacles from your home to the storage unit. Make the path about the same width as your front door. Also, add some form of cushioning or padding around the door frame to reduce damage from inevitable bumps.  



Working from Back to Front, Stack Boxes Vertically



This method maximizes space efficiency and allows easier access to items. Working your way forward, stack boxes vertically, creating solid walls to avoid any shifting during transit.  



Position Heavier Items at the Bottom and Lighter Items at the Top



Always place heavy items at the bottom of your containers to maintain stability and prevent them from crushing lighter belongings. Prioritizing by weight minimizes the risk of your items toppling over when you’re unpacking your storage.



Securely Fasten Heavy Items with Straps as You Load



Don’t wait until the end to secure heavy items. By then, they could shift and cause damage. Use sturdy straps as you load to keep these items in place, preventing unwanted movement as you fill your storage unit with your remaining boxes and preventing unwanted movement during transit.  



Keep Track of the Weight Distribution



Uneven weight distribution can lead to imbalance and potential damage to your belongings. Throughout the container, distribute weight evenly from front to back and left to right. By doing so, you can ensure a smooth and safe journey for your packed items.



Optimize Space by Packing Items Tightly



Utilize every inch of your container by strategically placing items close together to save space and minimize the risk of things shifting during transportation. Use vacuum-sealed bags to compress bulky items, stack boxes neatly, and fill gaps with smaller items or packing materials.



Add Your Most Important or Frequently Used Items Last



Loading these essential items last results in them being the first belongings you can unload once you reach your new place. Then, you can quickly locate and access them without rummaging through boxes or containers.



Keep Valuable Items with You, Not in the Container



Jewelry, important documents, sentimental items, or other valuables should not be mixed with the bulk of your belongings. Ensure their safety and avoid any potential loss or damage by packing them separately or keeping them with you during the move.  



Lock the Container for Added Security



Invest in a lock with durable construction and a unique key or combination to minimize the risk of theft or tampering with your portable storage unit. You’ll gain peace of mind while your items are in storage.  



Hire a Local Moving Company to Help



Save time and effort while ensuring your belongings stay protected during transport by hiring experienced professionals who know how to efficiently organize and properly pack your portable storage unit to maximize space.



Photo: Emily Baucom Photography