For a lot of people the first few times you move are less about being efficient and more about stuffing as many things into as few boxes as possible, and then playing Tetris with your moving vehicle. Whether you’re still involved in the yearly ritual of moving to and from college, or have moved on to needing larger and more permanent spaces, moving well is all in the details. If you want to move like a pro, you need to look at forgetting the cardboard boxes and dive into your plastic bin options.
The Benefits of Plastic
I was a little bit lucky when I first started what would be a decade and a half (and counting) of wanderlust adventures. While working at a convenience store I noticed there was a build up of plastic shipping crates every time we stocked the shelves. They were perfect for a “dorm room coffee table” where I could store books, old clothes, and old papers in the container, then place a simple piece of cloth over it to create table space.
In fact 15 years later, those plastic crates are still with me and are my favorite ways of packing and moving. Even if you’re beyond needing a mobile table space for a dorm room, you can still benefit from understanding why plastic crates beat cardboard boxes.
There are a several major benefits of going with plastic, such as:
- Strong and sturdy, less likely to damage
- Easy to pack and stack
- Can last years or even decades
- Easy to store when empty – stack up to save space
- Offers a natural waterproof protection
Various Types of Bins
One of the keys to packing like a professional is understanding the various types of bins that are available because not all of them are created equal. Avoid cheap looking bins that are set up like shelving – these are rarely well built and don’t hold up well under stress. Clear plastic totes or bins can work, but don’t over pack them with heavy weight materials like books or large stacks of loose paper. The side handle holds aren’t designed with hand comfort and finger comfort in mind.
In my experience, you are going to be the happiest with plastic stacking containers, which are often used by shipping companies who bring goods to convenience stores, grocery stores, or larger retail outlets. You can buy these directly from multiple companies, but don’t go through with this! Chances are you will be able to find some for free.
One important tip form experience: find a decent pair of thin gloves, especially if you load crates up with books. There’s still some pressure on the hands, but it’s much less painful on your hands to have even that one thin layer between your skin and the handholds on the side of each crate.
Where to Get Plastic Bins for Free
Chances are that if you are very polite and a regular at a local convenience store that you can ask the manager to hold some plastic bins for you and they won’t have a problem with it. I’ve seen many independent convenience stores where there are just dozens stacked by the side of the building that never get used. Ask to take a few of these off their hands, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to move like a pro for free!