Hi. Our family will be moving soon and I need to pack up all of the contents of the house into boxes. I happen to have a lot of plastic tote containers and plastic bins and I was wondering if it is OK for me to use these containers as a substitute for cardboard boxes?
Is it ok to use plastic totes and bins for moving packing boxes?
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This is a very good question…
This is a very good question you have asked because the answer to your question will help many people! It seems that someone must have advised every consumer on planet Earth that plastic totes are the best way to pack, because everyone wants to use plastic totes these days! However, plastic totes are not a good choice at all, although they are better then using plastic garbage bags!
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 often need to stack boxes floor to ceiling). As a result, if I was 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." Because of the shape of plastic totes, they cannot be stacked edge-to-edge. Because of their "V shape" 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. If you could stack totes floor to ceiling on a moving truck you'd need 16 logistics straps to hold the monster in place. However, a tier of floor to ceiling boxes requires no straps and -- because each cardboard box meets edge-to-edge -- they hold their shape integrity which provides optimal protection to the contents packed inside of each box. If 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. Sometimes, doing things the right way costs a little more and creates a little more work.
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.
You may find much more information regarding packing tips and techniques by reading our related packing tips and guide articles.
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