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Self-Service Moving Containers

January 8th, 2015 - 9:22 AM

Moving Containers that You Pack Yourself

With all the options out there for self-service moving containers, it can seem overwhelming to figure out which one is best. For starters, there are different types of containers that come in varying sizes.

If you want a metal container, U-Pack®, PODS®, Door to Door®, Mayflower®, and 1-800-Pack-Rat® all offer them. Meanwhile, U-Haul® (U-Box) and YOU CRATE offer wooden containers. And then you start looking at the way each company works – from storage to extra delivery charges to transit times. There are several differences between each company – and it can be easy to drown in the details when trying to decide on a container for your move.

To simplify it a bit, let’s take a look at the logistics of using a self-service moving container, specifically how self-moving works, then we'll check out best practices for packing and loading your belongings into one. Since we know the most about U-Pack containers, that’s what we’ll primarily focus on.

Loading into a self-service moving container

Click here to get a quote for a self-service container from U-Pack.  

How many self-service moving containers will I need?

Start by entering the items you’re moving in the Room-by-Room Space Estimator. This gives a pretty clear picture of what to expect. If you don’t have the time to complete the space estimator, you can estimate that each U-Pack Cube holds about one room of furniture and boxes – so if you’re moving a one-bedroom apartment, you’ll probably need at least two Cubes. The great thing about U-Pack is that you can reserve as many Cubes as you think you need, but only pay for the ones you actually use.

So, if you’re concerned that you’ll need more space, it’s just fine to reserve an extra – if you don’t use it, you don’t have to pay for it.

How do I load a moving container?

  • Make the most of your space
    The ideal way to load a self-service moving container is high and tight. Not only does it help your belongings travel more safely, it’s also a money saver since you only pay for the Cubes you use. So, as you load, imagine that you’re playing a real-life game of Tetris. Maximize your space by fitting something into every nook and cranny. Check out U-Pack packing and loading tips for some great advice!
  • Plan for your larger furniture
    You may be surprised how much a Cube can hold! It all comes down to how it’s packed and loaded. ReloCubes sit low to the ground, and the doors swing open and attach to the side walls, giving you an easy, wide open space to load into. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of the space and fit your large furniture inside:
  • A question we get a lot is “Will my mattress fit in a ReloCube? And, the answer is “yes!” Even the largest mattress – a California king – fits. Place it in a mattress bag then load it on-end against the back wall. Then tie it down with rope or straps to keep it in place. It’s important to note that some mattresses (like Tempur-Pedic®) cannot stand on-end. Check with the manufacturer before loading if you’re unsure if yours can be loaded this way.
  • Most sofas will fit by loading on end. Remove the legs if you can, then wrap the sofa completely in paper padding and/or furniture pads before placing it in the Cube. As long as it’s not leather, you can also wrap it in plastic stretch wrap for extra protection. Place it up against the Cube wall, then secure it with rope or straps to keep it place while it’s traveling. 
  • Because of their odd shape, tables and chairs take a little prep work before loading. If you can, remove the legs and wrap them separately – this makes it more compact and easy to load. If you can’t remove the legs, maximize the space by stacking boxes under the table and chair legs and stack chairs seat-to-seat (one upright, one upside down). As with all other furniture, it’s very important to wrap each piece fully in paper padding or furniture pads and tie everything down for transit.
  • Load boxes strategically
    Place heavy boxes on the floor and stack lighter boxes on top of other items or use them as filler. Label boxes that include fragile items to make sure heavy items aren’t packed on top.
  • Tie it all down
    We’ve mentioned this a lot because it’s one of the most important things you can do to make sure your belongings travel safely to your destination. The same bumps you feel in your car while you’re traveling down the interstate are also felt inside the container – but probably with a little more bounce. Every Cube is equipped with tie-down points throughout to help you secure everything for transit. So, make sure you cushion and wrap everything and that you have plenty of rope and/or ratchet straps when moving day rolls around.

How does Self-Service Moving Work?

As “self-service” implies, you do the packing, loading and unloading, but that’s where it stops with U-Pack. We do the rest – deliver it to your home, drive it to you new home, and pick it up when you’re finished. Here’s what you can expect:

  • We’ll deliver it to your home.
    You’ll need an area that’s about 10’x10’ to place each Cube and open the doors. If you’re in an apartment complex with shared parking, each Cube fits into a standard-size parking space (just make sure there’s enough room on each side to open the doors). And, don’t forget to check on parking permits and/or permission! No worries if you have private parking, but if we’ll be placing it on a street or a shared parking lot, check with the City, police department and/or your landlord to see what’s required.
  • You load it up.
    In most cases, once the Cube is delivered to your home, you have up to three business days to load it. When you’re finished loading, just call the local service center, and we’ll schedule pick-up.
  • We drive it to your new home.
    Check out your U-Pack quote to get an estimate of how long it takes to get from where you’re moving from to where you’re moving to. If you need it there faster, or you need to request an exact delivery day, ask your U-Pack Moving Consultant about adding U-Pack Guaranteed to your move! Either way, you can track your moving container online 24/7 as it travels across the country.
  • You unload it.
    Like loading, in most locations you get up to three business days to unload your self-move container. Once you’re finished, just call the local service center and we’ll schedule an appointment to pick it up.
  • Or store it…
    If you’re not ready to unload it right away, you can store in U-Pack self-service moving containers. Just ask your U-Pack Moving Consultant about storage rates in your area or request a quote online.

How much do self-service moving containers cost?

Because you do the loading and unloading, self-moving is a big money saver for most people. To see how much containers cost for your move, get an instant quote online, or call a helpful moving consultant at 800-413-4799. We’ll just need a few details, like where you’re moving from and to, how much you’re moving and when you’re moving.

A little side note… It’s possible that when you request a quote online you’ll get a quote for a U-Pack trailer move – which is also a GREAT self-service moving option. Our online system automatically selects the best equipment based on the size of your move and the price. If you get a trailer quote and would like to see the ReloCube price, you can email your request and quote number to social@upack.com,or call a moving consultant at 800-413-4799 to check availability and adjust your quote.

If you have any questions about your quote or self-service moving containers, please let us know – we’re here to help!


PODS® is a registered trademark of PODS Enterprises, Inc. Door-to-Door® is a registered trademark of Door-to-Door Moving and Storage. Mayflower® is a registered trademark of Mayflower Transit, LLC. 1-800-Pack-Rat® is a registered trademark of 1-800-Pack-Rat, LLC. U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.