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Storage Solutions

How to Secure Plastic Tubs for Moving

plastic container tubs on a shelf on the wall

Plastic tubs have become the go-to storage bin for many families today. These durable, versatile units have replaced re-purposed cardboard boxes and ended the store-to-store search for them. They're available at almost any store, and they've made it possible to keep things safely put away for moving and storage for any length of time. These tubs are great for these applications because they are stronger than cardboard and can be used again and again. They're designed to be used for moving and storage, and for that reason, they're made with strong, reliable handles and a stackable design that maximizes storage space. Because they typically perform so well under a variety of conditions, we don't always give them the attention they need. Most of the time, we place items inside, seal the lid, and place the tub in a storage space somewhere in the home. Months later, we open it and find that everything inside is just the way we left it. That outcome can give us the false impression that we can do the same thing when the tubs are being used for moving, but that's definitely not the case. Good storage tub management during a move is vital to get you the performance that you get at home. Here are some tips on how to secure plastic tubs for moving.

Know Their Limits

It's human nature to try to push the limits of things we use. That's why a 30-quart storage tub often ends up with 32 or 33 quarts of clothing stuffed inside. You can often get away with that when the tub is just going into a closet, but an overloaded tub in a moving vehicle is a bad situation. The folded clothes will exert pressure against the lid, creating a gap that can allow moisture or dirt inside. The same is true of weight. Too many pounds of belongings inside a tub can finally crack the tub or break the handles. When stacked, overloaded tubs can collapse and let the entire load fall over. Make sure you know how much your tubs are designed to do, and don't exceed it.


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Label Your Tubs

Do you remember when you bought your tubs? You probably bought a big stack of identical tubs--same size, same color. As you packed up to move, you snapped on the lids and moved to the next task, and someone took your full tubs to the truck. Now you're at the new place and you have eleven identical tubs that will have to be opened and examined before they can be placed in the appropriate room. All the time you saved in other ways has just been burned up. Don't let that happen. Storage tubs are incredibly easy to label with a marker and a piece of masking tape. You can also skip the tape and just write on the tub, which is more secure in rainy weather. And be sure to label the side and the top of the tub so that you can identify it in a stack.

Seal the Lids

It seems easy enough, but the consequences of missing this step can be expensive. A tub without a lid can allow any disaster to strike, from contents blown out to dirt blown in. We've already talked about making sure you don't over-stuff the tub to the point that the lid bulges up, but you will have the same problem if you just fail to latch the lids properly. Test every tub every time you move it. The rough handling of a move can sometimes damage latches or cause snap-on lids to snap off. With each lift, simply squeeze or examine the lid quickly; it's not a big job. You'll undoubtedly find a few that were bumped or never properly latched, making those extra moments well worth the effort.

Monitoring for Moisture

The best thing about tubs is that they keep moisture out. The worst thing about them is when we fail to notice a problem and they keep moisture in. The persistent dripping of a leaky moving van roof or a sudden downpour can eventually allow water into the tubs and trap it there, ruining the contents. There are a few areas here that require vigilance in how to secure plastic tubs for moving. Make sure that, as we've noted, lids are sealed and tubs aren't overfilled. Be sure that stacked tubs haven't been positioned in such a way that the upper containers twist open the lids on the bottom containers. Discard or repair any tubs with punctures, cracks, or other leaks. Finally, watch for water everywhere you go, inside and out as well as in vehicles. Boxing It All Up So, to sum up our thoughts, plastic storage tubs are a great investment. They are incredibly handy when you're moving, providing airtight, watertight storage and transport of even the most sensitive belongings. They nest together neatly, permitting efficient packing of trucks and vans. They also have real handles that make them very easy to carry. Like any useful tool, though, you have to use plastic storage tubs the right way. You should be careful about how bulky and how heavy each tub's contents are, and whether those characteristics will impact how they can be carried or stacked. You need to label and organize them in a way that makes your move simple, and you should always be aware of the persistent attempts of water to get inside.


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