When you’re doing your own packing for an upcoming move, you may wish to put your belongings in a more secure container than just a cardboard box. Plastic bins and storage containers, popular among home organization enthusiasts and those of us who simply have too much stuff lying around the house, provide a neat and handy solution. Not only are they more durable and waterproof than cardboard boxes, but they often come with handles and lids for easier transport.
Of course, that doesn’t make them foolproof. If you’d like to use plastic bins as part of your moving process, here are a few tips and tricks to consider.
> Don’t Pack Too Much: Plastic bins tend to be larger than cardboard boxes, and that’s great if you have a large number of items to pack. However, putting too much weight in any kind of moving container is a bad idea, especially if the bins are going to be lifted and carried by hand. Don’t go overboard packing and rely on a mixture of heavy and light items to maintain an ideal weight.
> The Lid Should Easily Lock: Likewise, don’t fill the bins so full that the items swell over the top. You want the lid to lock on and stay secure even as the bins are jostled and moved around, which means it shouldn’t be filled to bursting. For extra security, you may even want to tape the lids down with packing tape, though this may end up leaving residue behind. Some people find that zip ties work well to keep lids on without damaging the bins (they double as a security method, too).
> Everything Should be Dry: Don’t pack damp or moist items, as the seal on plastic bins is good enough that it could create an atmosphere for mildew and mold growth. As a general rule, any item that shouldn’t be wrapped in plastic in the first place (like leather) should also not be put into plastic tubs.
> Reconsider Stacking: Although it might seem like a good idea to stack up your storage bins to make for extra room in the moving van, large towers of these bins tend to be more unstable than traditional cardboard boxes. Don’t put more than two on top of each other and make sure they’re secured by more than just gravity.
> Label, Label, Label: As is the case with cardboard boxes, labeling is your friend. Get a roll of masking tape and a permanent marker, and make sure you label or number each plastic bin. This way, you’ll be able to account for all your belongings and quickly find what you need once you arrive at your final destination.
Although plastic storage bins are one possible alternative to cardboard, we do suggest you talk with your moving company before you invest in a whole fleet of them. Many times, it’s much less costly and just as easy to take the traditional cardboard box route.