DIY Moving Tips: How To Plan, Pack and Unpack Like A DIY Pro

Photo of children packing a BigSteelBox moving containerThinking about renting a moving container for your upcoming DIY move?

Moving container companies are a great alternative option whether you're moving within the same city or to a new province.

A BigSteelBox is a durable, secure, and customizable storage container that provides you with the convenience of onsite storage that you can pack at your own speed on your own schedule.

This post summarizes the benefits of using a moving container and runs down some other benefits to renting a BigSteelBox, such as having extra storage during a renovation or using it for storage to stage your home when it's for sale.

Finally we have included our top tips and tricks on how to plan for your move, and pack and unpack moving containers to get the most out of your space, save your time, and reduce stress and the heavy lifting.

BigSteelBox – Moving Across Canada Tips

Planning a long distance move is a large task filled with wide a wide range moving company quotes that can be difficult to understand. Sometimes this can lead to some of the mistrust within the industry. 

At BigSteelBox, our goal is to eliminate as much stress as possible for you during your move. Our knowledgable Storage Consultants will help you with every step of your move, and with 17 full-service stores across Canada, there is always someone close by who is ready to help.

How can BigSteelBox show you how to make moving easier?

Your BigSteelBox can be delivered right to your driveway as soon as you are ready for it. No need to pack all your things and complete your in one day!

Take as much time as you need. Once your moving container is packed and ready to go, just give BigSteelBox a call and it will be picked up and start its journey to your new home. No need to handle the logistics, BigSteelBox transports moving containers across Canada every day, let us handle it!

When you’re ready for your shipping container rental to be dropped off at your new home just give us a call at 1-800-373-1187 and all your belongings will be delivered to your front door.

BigSteelBox portable shipping containers are:

  • Wind-proof

  • Water-resistant 

  • Rodent-proof

  • ISO certified

  • Completely made of steel, far stronger than aluminum-style containers

  • Cleaned before every move

  • Secure, you keep the only key!

The BigSteelBox Advantage

BigSteelBox Vs. Rental Trucks

  • No cramming! You pay for rental trucks based on the time you have them and the kilometres you travel. This puts stress on you to load your truck as quickly as possible. Eliminate this anxiety and take the time that you need to pack your belongings and load your moving container by using a BigSteelBox.

  • No driving! Although a full DIY move with a moving truck rental may seem like a cheap and easy option, don’t forget you are responsible for hauling your items to your destination. Let go of the worry of driving a huge truck or hauling a trailer. Take your time and enjoy the trip to your new home.

  • One price! Rental companies and traditional moving companies are known for complicated estimates and invoices and additional charges. With BigSteelBox the price is the price. Costs are easy to understand. (And don't forget that you'll need to pay for fuel if you are renting a truck!) 

  • Unload on your schedule! There’s no rush to quickly unload the contents and return the truck. With BigSteelBox, you pay monthly, so keep your container as long as you need it.

BigSteelBox Vs. Traditional Long Distance Moving Companies

  • Lower cost. Renting a BigSteelBox can save you between 20 - 40% when compared to more traditional long distance moving companies who charge based on the weight of your contents.

  • Only you handle your items. No one else will be moving your boxes or shuffling around your items, and there's no need to transfer your belongings to a storage locker if your move-out and move-in dates don't line up.

  • Many leading moving companies base cost on weight. A 2­ to 4-bedroom home can be usually fit into a 20’ BigSteelBox, which can hold up to 10,000 pounds. You are just paying for the moving container rental — no need to weigh your goods and incur extra moving costs! You will notice significant savings if you plan on moving a large amount of weight.

  • No hidden costs! Understanding your quote is important. Make sure you ask about extra charges for items like plastic mattress bags or supplies. If the moving company does charge based on weight, make sure their estimate is realistic. The average contents weight of a 20' BigSteelBox used for a long distance move is 7,000 pounds. If you have a 3-bedroom home with an average amount of furniture you can expect your contents to weigh between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds. If you're being quoted 4,000 or 5,000 pounds you can expect an additional charge once the truck is weighed after it is loaded. If the weight is dramatically underestimated, the extra charge will be significant. What we quote you is what you pay, no surprises.

BigSteelBox Vs. PODS Canada

  • More full-service locations across Canada. This one is easy. BigSteelBox has 17 full service locations and PODS Canada only has 8.

  • Size and volume. The the most common BigSteelBox is 20’ compared to the 16’ POD. This give you 44% more space by volume, and there is less worry that you won’t be able to fit all of your items in one storage container. Unless if you have a relatively small load, you are much more likely to need a 2nd POD, as opposed to a 2nd BigSteelBox.

  • Weight capacity. The 16’ POD has a 4,200-pound load limit while the 20’ BigSteelBox can handle up to 10,000 pounds. At two times more weight capacity, it’s a no brainer for larger heavier loads.

  • Security. PODS style moving containers are made out of a steel frame with aluminium panels and a roll up door. A BigSteelBox is a certified shipping container that is wind, water, and rodent-proof and comes with a secure lockbox to protect your lock from bolt cutters. You can be confident your items will safe, dry, and secure in a BigSteelBox.

Storage Containers for Rent: Accessible Extra Storage

Photo of BigSteelBox storage container in driveway for home renovationThere are so many times in life when we wish we had extra space, somewhere you can conveniently move and store your things while you are renovating, or an extra storage location for your business inventory, or to house old documents and equipment.

You want your storage to be easily accessible and secure. A BigSteelBox store on your property is the perfect solution.

If you are planning an upcoming renovation, have kids coming home from school during the summer, selling and staging your home or just need some extra room for your things while spring cleaning, a BigSteelBox can help.

We offer a range of box sizes so you can find a BigSteelBox to fit your space and give you the extra storage you need.

It can be kept on your property if you plan on accessing it often or you can load it and have the Box taken offsite to one of our secure storage locations until your project is complete.

When planning a move, de-cluttering and staging your home is one of the first things your real estate agent will ask you to do. By cleaning out your extra things your home will look cleaner and be easier to stage for open houses and home visits. It will also give you a head start on your inevitable move.

Storing your things in a BigSteelBox can help sell your home faster! Homes that are staged for sale average fewer days on the market, and sell at higher prices. All your things are still easy to access and the storage containers are always clean and in excellent condition when brought to your home so they do not become an eyesore in your driveway.

The ability to store your belongings both on-site and off-site is something that sets BigSteelBox apart from its traditional moving and storage competitors. We are as flexible as you need and able to keep your items for as long or as short as you need us to. Items can be housed at any of our locations across the country.

How to get the most out of your DIY Move


Moving is difficult and stressful but that does not mean you can’t plan ahead. Organization goes a long way when planning your relocation.

There are so many tips and tricks developed over the years that you should be able to handle almost anything that is thrown your way and have a quick and easy solution at the ready.

Need some help? Download our printable moving checklist.

Here are some things to keep in mind to keep your items safe while packing up your belongings:

  • Buy the right materials – Make sure you are purchasing the proper packing supplies for what you are taking with you. It may seem like an unnecessary expense buying wardrobe boxes or spending the extra money for stronger cardboard but in the long run it will save you time and protect your goods.

  • Don’t forget the packing accessories – In the lead up to your move try and stock up on the little extras you will be using to pack. Grab extra boxes from the grocery store or liquor store and look for ones with partitions already built in. Save packing paper and other packing materials that can be used as buffers or box filler. Keep an eye out for old sheets and blankets that can be used to protect breakable items. You do not want to be scrambling at the last minute to protect an item and end up spending extra money on replacements.

  • Decide on your packing method – Pack one room at a time and label your boxes as you go. Proper labeling or colour coding of your boxes to correspond with rooms in your new home can save you tons of time during unloading and unpacking at your destination. Be specific and write the details of the contents on the outside of each box. This will help you prioritize your unpacking so the most important boxes are unpacked first.

  • If it’s fragile protect it properly! – Don’t make the mistake of thinking something you care about will be fine wrapped in paper and it comes back to you broken to pieces. If you are moving something fragile or precious to you, take care of it. Double box it, add plenty of cushioning, invest in bubble wrap, and make sure there is no extra space for it to bounce around.

  • Prepare for your first night – Before you go shoving everything you own into boxes, take out some things that will be crucial for your first nights in your new home. Some things to keep in mind:

    • Change of clothes

    • Towels

    • Clean sheets

    • Medications

    • Toothbrush and other hygienic items

    • Toilet paper and shower curtain

    • Plastic utensils, paper plates, paper towels, plastic cups, garbage bags

    • Flashlight

    • First aid kit

    • Pencil and paper

    • Tool kit

    • Phone charger

How to Pack Your BigSteelBox DIY Moving Container

How to load a moving container - BigSteelBoxPart of the reason people decide to hire professional movers is that they feel that packing on their own is too difficult to manage. We’re here to tell you that’s just not true! Learn more and watch a video: Tips for Packing and Loading a Moving Container.

Although having moving experience always helps, it is not impossible and packing and loading a portable moving container like a BigSteelBox is somethings almost anyone can do.

Like anything, there are items you need and things you should know to make packing a BigSteelBox as simple as possible. Before you start packing you should already have the following:

  • A dolly

  • Loading straps

  • Paper pads

  • Furniture pads

  • Stretch wrap or tie-down straps

A dolly is helpful if venturing on a DIY move but not a must. It helps move heavy or larger items and increases the amount you can load at one time saving you trips back and forth.

Stretch wrap, loading straps, and furniture and paper pads help keep your items safe from damage and keep things secure and packed tightly to reduce movement inside the container.

Before you move your items into your BigSteelBox go through them and prepare them for the move. Use your stretch wrap on anything you want to save from any potential damage and dirt like upholstered furniture. Stretch wrap can also be used to secure items together or stabilize belongings so they don’t move during relocation.

Paper and furniture pads are best used to wrap items that may scratch other goods or are in danger of being scratched while being moved. They can also be used underneath your items in the container to give them extra protection while in your BigSteelBox moving container.

Here is a list of our top moving and storage tips for packing your portable storage container:

  • Heavy items on the bottom, lighter on the top. You do not want something being crushed by a box of books on top of it.

  • Pack from floor to ceiling; make sure you have optimized all the space before you start expanding outwards towards the door of your container.

  • Manage the weight of your items. Do not place all your heavy belongings on one side of the container, match the weight distribution from front to back and from side to side.

  • Fill spaces between large items with smaller boxes or flexible goods. The more you wedge your heavy items into your storage container, the less they will move around during the move and reduce the risk of damaging other belongings.

  • If your container comes with D-rings for loading straps, USE THEM! Secure them tightly so they will not shift but not so tight as to break or damage any items. You can also use mattresses to hold back items in a certain section. You don’t have to set up your beds on the first day you move in, but you will need your mattress, so don’t bury them at the back of the Box.

  • If you are unsure about something’s safety in the box, take it with you. If you are not sure that you want to risk your grandmother’s favourite painting or a family heirloom being broken in the move, put it aside and take it with you to the new home.

Unpacking Your BigSteelBox

The job of unpacking can seem endless, especially when you took so much time and care into properly packing your items in the first place. But with all the planning and organization you have done along the way, unpacking should not be a stressful experience.

As you know, your BigSteelBox can be unpacked on your own schedule which eliminates all the pressure and stress of having to unpack everything on moving day.

Here’s our collection of unpacking tips:

  • Start with the most immediate stuff first. Think about what you will need right away, generally food, rest, and bathing. Unpack your overnight bags and any boxes that you had labeled as urgent. This is where your planning will come into play.

  • Nothing is permanent. Do not try and unpack your items into their "proper" place immediately. It will take you some time to get used to your new home and figure out where you want everything to go. Especially when using BigSteelBox — your portable container isn’t going anywhere! Take your time to figure out where you want things and reduce your post moving anxiety.

  • It can be fun! You have arrived at your new home, all of your hard work has paid off, now enjoy it! Make the process as enjoyable as you can by slowly finding the perfect place for your things and design your rooms as you like them. Free your creative side!

  • Kitchen comes first. The kitchen is usually the first room to be unpacked as this is where your food is coming from and it is where everyone generally congregates throughout the day. First unpack items you will be using right away, keeping smaller appliances and items you rarely need, like your roasting pan and baking supplies, for a later date when you have decided where they will go.

  • Have at least one functional bathroom. There’s nothing like a good clean shower after a long day of hauling boxes. In your "first day" boxes you can unpack your toiletries, toilet paper, and shower curtain so at least you have one functional bathroom for your first night. Make sure to check that the water is turned on and the hot water is running.

  • Bedrooms can wait. There is no shame in dragging your mattress into a room with your pillows and blankets and passing out before putting together your furniture. Moving is exhausting! If you are with your family have a family camp out and enjoy the freedom of being able to sleep wherever you want. If you have kids with their own rooms this gives them space to design how they want their room to look at their own pace without rushing to assemble beds and furniture.

  • Re-evaluate. Now that you are seeing your belongings in the new light of your new home you may not feel as attached to some of your items. This is another chance to go through everything you have packed and decide whether you want to keep it. Anything you don’t want can be kept outside of the house and be donated or thrown away before it even gets a chance to clutter your new home.

Why are thousands of Canadians using moving containers? Simple. Because they can save you time, fit into your schedule, and significantly decrease your long distance moving costs and the accompanying stress.

The benefits of a BigSteelBox in stress and cost reduction, convenience, and quality make it an easy choice whether you are thinking about a full DIY move or hiring a traditional moving company.

BigSteelBox prides itself on its efficiency, its high quality product, and the friendly and knowledgeable staff all across Canada. Call us to today to see how we can help make your move as stress-free and easy to manage as possible.

You can easily request a quote online or give us a quick call at 1-800-373-1187. We are happy to help you!

Finally, if you think this post could help one of your family members or friends, share it on your favourite social-media channel. You never know whose life you might change! 

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