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DIY Shipping Container Packing Tips

BY Rebecca | 5 February, 2015 | no comments

If you’re buying or renting quality open top shipping containers, here are some tips for effectively loading your container.

1. Preparation

How To Pack A Shipping Container The Right Way

Before the container arrives at your door, be sure to have everything packed and moved outside or to the first floor to ensure there’s no down time spent having to still pack.

2. What to Load First

Always load bigger items such as furniture first. Place these items along the sides and back of the container and make sure all items in the furniture (such as in draws) has been removed. Remember to also tape the draws closed and face them towards the walls of the container. If you’re going to need a ramp to get items in to the container, remember to hire one ahead of time.

3. Protecting Furniture

You’ll need to protect your items of furniture from damage. It’s a good idea to use bubble or shrink wrap to individually wrap each item. This will protect them from humidity and moisture.

4. Securing Furniture to the Container


Use a good quality nylon rope to lash the legs of your furniture to the bullrings. These are found on the floor of quality open top shipping containers. It’s important to block the bigger pieces of furniture to keep them from moving about in the container during shipping. Other blocking methods recommended by include:

– Nylon rope, as mentioned, can help lash the legs of furniture to the shipping container’s bullrings found on the ceiling and floor of the     container.

– 2×4’s can be cut into wooden blocks. You can buy these at any hardware store and cut them up to the desired size. Hammer spikes through the blocks to secure them to the container’s floor.

– Plastic or rubber blocks that are used for blocking the tires of a vehicle in a container can work really well for blocking the legs of furniture.

5. What to Load Next

Once you have loaded heavy items like furniture, you can then start loading boxes into the container. Use up all the gaps on top, underneath and in between the items of furniture. This will create a type of layering effect in the container and prevent the boxes from moving around or getting damaged during transit.

The ideal types of boxes for your move include:

– Book cartons, perfect for holding CDs, DVDs, books and toiletries.

– Linen cartons are good for comforters and linen and also smaller appliances, glassware and crockery.

– Dish-packs are a must if you have valuable china and glassware and require the extra safety of the bubble-wrap that comes standard with such cartons.

– Wardrobe cartons are a must if you have an abundance of clothing and want to protect your wears.

6. Leave a Little Space


Try to leave a little bit of space in the middle of your quality open top shipping containers so you can pack things like box springs and mattresses. By putting such items in the middle, you can create a buffer of protection for other items. Plywood also works great as a buzzer.

7. If the Container’s Not Packed to Capacity

If you won’t be filling up the entire container or need space to load a car or motorcycle in the shipping container, try building a wall inside the actual container. Known as embarkation the process involves building walls out of 2x4s and plywood to create a division.

8. If You’re Shipping a Vehicle

If you’re going to be using quality open top shipping containers to ship a vehicle along with household goods, follow these tips:

– Park the vehicle so that the front end faces the back of the container. This is so customs can easily identify the VIN numbers of the car.

– Drain the gasoline completely

– Protect the car from moving against the container walls

– Remember to disconnect the battery

– Use electrical tape to wrap the battery ends

– Black the wheels all the way around

– Lash the cars’ axels to the bull rings on the shipping container floor

– Make sure you sign the dock receipt stating you have done all of this.

9. DIY Loading

As for loading a car yourself into a container, it might be a good idea to hire a local garage owner to help you. They can give you a hand with a flatbed truck that can easily lift and slide the car onto the container.

10. Inventory


If you’re packing the container yourself, be sure to provide the removals company with a detailed inventory of what is loaded in the container. Remember to label all boxes clearly with what you have stated on the inventory list. The same goes for the bigger items – be sure they’re marked and correspond with your inventory. It’s essential that you be precise with the list.

Finally, once you have loaded your quality open top shipping containers, provide the following information to the container or removals company:

– Seal number

– Container number

– Total piece account corresponding to your inventory list

Customs usually uses scanned copies of the bill of lading which states that freight has been “prepaid-express release.” If you would like the Bill of Lading sent to you, you can request it from the removals company for an additional cost.

Overall, it’s important to pack carefully and methodically. Always ensure the bigger items are packed first and that all spaces are filled up with smaller items, mattresses or fillers to ensure your items do not move around during transit and arrive as safely as you packed them.



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