6 Tips to Know When Using a Portable Storage Unit

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A portable storage unit isn’t just for storing things onsite during a remodeling or construction project, you can also use it as a moving container or a simple way to move items to a longterm storage facility. Since these units are mobile, it’s important to load and use them correctly. The following tips can help.

1. Get the right size

Size matters, but unlike traditional storage units there are more limitations on portable units. This is because they must fit on the back of the flatbed truck. For this reason, most portable units are uniform in size. Generally, there are short units, which fit two to a truck, or long units, which fit one to a trunk.

Standard short containers can hold about two rooms worth of furniture and belongings, with long units holding twice that amount. If you have more belongings or an even larger home, you may need to get multiple units.

2. Choose a loading zone

It’s vital that you consider where you will place the unit during loading. The best location is in your driveway. Keep in mind your city or HOA may have rules on portable unit placement. For example, in Portland, OR, you need a permit to place the unit in the street-side parking lane. It’s best to determine the rules ahead of time so you are prepared.

3. Check your insurance

You want to make sure your belongings are covered in the event of fire, theft, or other damage while they are in transit or stored. According to Bankrate, most homeowners and renters insurance policies cover stored items, but you will want to verify the coverage limits. You may need to purchase an umbrella policy to ensure everything is covered fully.
4. Balance your load

Balance is important since the unit will be moved. Avoid placing all the heavy items in one end of the storage unit. Instead, space out heavy items so that the weight is evenly distributed. Most portable storage units have tie-downs along the walls, so you can stretch straps between them to ensure the load doesn’t shift and become unbalanced when the unit is on the move.

5. Keep everything pest-proof

Just like any storage unit, you want to keep the pests out. This means no packing of food items inside the unit. Also, place items that may attract pests into plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes. For example, the paper and glue in book bindings is an attractive food source for some insects, so you want to stow books in sealed containers if you will be storing them for a long time.

6. Use your load straps

Finally, make sure you can open the portable storage unit safely. Use ropes or straps to completely rope off the load so it can’t shift forward toward the door during transport. Otherwise, everything could come tumbling out on top of you when you lift the door. Another concern if the load is properly strapped at the opening is that items could slide forward and lodge in the tracks, making it impossible to open the door at all.

Portable storage units are convenient, but it’s important to know how to use them effectively and safely.

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