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Posted on 09-22-2015

Should I use plastic storage bins to pack?

You thought plastic totes may seem like a good idea for packing and moving, they're actually not.

They're not designed to withstand the weight of other packed totes and boxes when they're stacked floor to ceiling. Since their edges don't meet, and they don't hold their shape integrity like traditional moving boxes. According to the movers, the best way to secure transport of your goods is with cardboard moving boxes!

Professionals throughout the moving and storage industry discourage the use of plastic totes and instead recommend the use of traditional cardboard boxes for packing and moving the contents of a home.

The Top Reasons to Choose a Cardboard Box Over a Plastic Tote When Moving:

  • Plastic totes may not stack as evenly as cardboard moving boxes. Since totes cannot be stacked as tight on the moving truck, they are more vulnerable to break, crack and cave in. Cardboard moving boxes are made to stack edge-to-edge and may hold their shape when other moving boxes are stacked on top. 
  • Plastic totes become heavy easily. Packing heavy items into cardboard moving boxes distributes the weight more evenly, making it easier to carry and load.
  • Plastic totes are cumbersome and hard to maneuver through doorways, especially if they're full of books or records.  They also offer no shock absorption for fragile items. 

The primary reason plastic totes are such a poor substitute for traditional cardboard boxes is that totes are flexible and they get crushed when stacked on a truck during a move (movers need to stack boxes floor to ceiling).

Because of the shape of plastic totes, they cannot be stacked edge-to-edge due to their "V shape" . The totes inevitably get crushed when they are stacked and the crushing process places a great deal of pressure on the contents of the tote below it which results in damage to the contents within the tote.

Also, due to the shape of the tote, the movers will often flip them over to decrease the gap between the totes thus all the heavy items on the bottom just crushed the fragile items packed near the top.

As a result, if a claims adjuster for a moving company, any customer claim for damage to items which were packed by the owner into a plastic tote would qualify as an automatic damage claim denial because of "improper packing."

If you do use plastic storage bins to pack make sure each storage bin has a lid and be sure to tape the lids shut for added protection. You can use them for things such as clothes, linens, etc. If the size permits, put that the tote itself into a cardboard moving box. 

We strongly recommend using cardboard boxes. As you are packing for your move and you are going to have a lot of boxes please use corrugated/cardboard boxes of similar sizes and you'll have a better and a much safer move as a result.

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