Tips for Renting a Mobile Storage Container

Whether you’re moving, decluttering or preparing to renovate, mobile storage containers offer the ultimate in convenience and flexibility.

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Ever wonder about those containers you see outside people’s homes? If you need a place to put stuff temporarily, these storage containers are the perfect solution. Whether you’re moving, decluttering or preparing to renovate, mobile storage containers offer the ultimate in convenience and flexibility. PODS, Pack Rat, Smartbox, U-Pack and U-Haul are a few companies that provide them. All you need is a level, paved surface for the container and maybe some professional or volunteer help to fill it.

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Get the best deal

With so many storage options to choose from, pricing is competitive. To compare bids, complete the form at each company’s website. You’ll need the zip codes where the container will be going (both empty and full), your anticipated dates of delivery, and the size and number of containers you want. Promo codes may be provided. If not, ask your real estate agent or contractor. You’ll save money by using your own packing supplies, including blankets, boxes and bubble wrap, and by packing efficiently. All the companies offer videos on how to pack their containers. Booking a container in the winter for a project you’re doing in the summer can save you as much as 30 percent.

Reserve containers early

Most storage companies allow you to book containers without any down payment or deposit, so shop for a container as soon as you know you’ll need one. “It doesn’t matter how many containers you order,” a salesman at PODS told me. “It’s how many containers you receive.” Plus, you can change the delivery dates without an additional charge.

How it works

Before taking delivery, make sure you have all the permits required by your city, apartment complex or homeowner’s association. After the container is delivered, you’ll typically have three to 30 days to fill it before the company comes for it. Or you can leave it on-site if that’s what your project calls for. If you opt for off-site storage of your container, most companies will allow you to access your container with 24 hours’ notice. You can store your containers as long as needed or, if you’re moving, have them delivered to your new home. If you store more than one container, keep a list of the container numbers and what each one holds.

Is my stuff safe?

In most cases, the container’s con- tents are covered by your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance. Once the container leaves your property, however, the coverage drops, typically to 10 percent of the policy’s full value. You can also buy coverage from the storage companies.

Reasons to use mobile storage containers

  • Preparing your house for sale or rent
  • Decluttering your house or garage
  • Renovations
  • Sorting out an estate
  • Storage of home office materials or equipment
  • Emergency repairs

Other options

If you’re moving the contents of a small apartment, it might be cheaper to use FedEx, UPS or Amtrak instead of a temporary storage container. While you’ll sacrifice some convenience, you could save hundreds of dollars. It depends on the weight of the shipment and the distance it will travel.