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Can I use plastic totes for moving?

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Asked by James

February 4, 2020 under Others

Can I move with plastic totes?

Answered by Staff Writer

July 9, 2021

Plastic bins are very popular among home organization enthusiasts who love storing things neatly in place. Many may use plastic totes for a move especially if they are handling the move by themselves and they already have the containers lying around the house. It's easier, quicker, and less work because there is no need to assemble the boxes. Besides, plastic bins are waterproof and contain handles for easy transport. They are also great for a long-term storage of seasonal items.

Totes vs boxes

Moving items in plastic totes

Despite all these features, you cannot ensure that your belongings are safe during a move merely by packing items inside plastic totes. You need to consider certain aspects of the move and follow some important tips when using plastic totes for a move, as discussed below:

  1. Do not stuff the totes: While totes can carry several items, do not go overboard with the packing. If you pack too much inside the container, they may fail to sustain the weight, especially when lifted around. It’s best to mix your heavy and light items during the packing to keep them from getting overweight.
  2. Store only dry items: While water cannot enter the plastic totes from outside, it’s important to make sure that you are only keeping dry items inside the containers. Otherwise, it may create an atmosphere for mold growth. Similarly, do not put any item like leather inside these plastic bins.
  3. Shut the lid correctly: There should be enough items inside the container such that the lids are locked with ease. For more security, you can tape the lid or use zip ties to keep the lid on without damaging the container.
  4. Do not stack them: You can stack as many cardboard boxes as you might like but when it comes to totes, don’t put more than two on top of each other. Also, make sure to secure them in place using a suitable tool like tie-down straps. While a stack of cardboard boxes distributes the weight evenly, the totes have angled edges and hence may slide around when put on top of each other. They may also get cracked because of the weight, which in turn will damage the items inside.
  5. Label the totes: Although it goes without saying, do not forget to label the bins, much like you would label the moving boxes, once you have packed everything up. You can label the bins as per the type of belongings you have packed or the room they belong to. This will make the unpacking way easier and quicker.

When not to use plastic totes for moving?

Plastic totes are best suited for long-term storage and are ideally used by those who already have them at your house. Buying new plastic totes especially for a move may not be a wise choice if you are not going to use them later for storage.

There are certain situations when you may want to store some of your items in cardboard boxes as well. For example, in a long-distance move when you are moving all your belongings including heavy electronic appliances, fragile glassware, and antiques, using cardboard boxes will be best for the safety of the belongings over the long haul.

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