Why Carboard is Superior than Plastic for Your Self-Storage

Whether you’re moving houses or renovating your home, decluttering the garage or organizing the basement, storing your collectibles or family heirlooms, a student heading home for the summer or a couple heading on extended travels, self-storage is likely the answer to meet your needs.

As you approach moving day, you are surely going through those items, packing them away in containers meant to protect them for their life in storage. We at Real Storage want to be sure you do this right. We want to ensure that you save as much space in your locker as possible, and that your storage belongings are going to come out of storage in the same shape they went into storage.

This is why it is important for you to know that cardboard is the more efficient material to be packing your items in, rather than plastic bags or containers. Read on to learn why plastic can waste space and/or harm your belongings, and why cardboard boxes are the superior form of container for your items.

Made for transport

Cardboard boxes are designed for life in transport and storing household goods. Light and flexible, yet durable, cardboard boxes will keep your items safe. If you are thinking of packing items in plastic bags, then this is certainly not as durable as cardboard boxes: plastic bags can rip, especially in transport, leaving their contents lying on the floor.

Designed to be stacked, regardless of the size, boxes work well for storage and transport, as the various heights in which they are made increase the box’s size, yet maintain the base size, so that differently sized boxes will stack on top of each other in a secure and stable way.

In addition, cardboard boxes are recyclable, leaving little carbon footprint.

Maximizing space

Cardboard boxes, because they maintain the same base size and are square, take up as little space as possible. They stack perfectly together, and maximize the space used.

Plastic bags are obviously a poor substitute, as they don’t really stack at all: they lie on top of each other, but will shift and move with great ease.

Plastic containers are not much better. They often have lids with lips or are designed with angular sides: when trying to stack plastic containers, therefore, you will usually lose space in the gaps created between the containers. When trying to get as much as you can from your storage unit, you really don’t want to waste space like this.

(For tips on how to maximize your storage space, read our article here.)

In terms of transport, the space lost between plastic containers means that there is a greater opportunity for the containers to shift and move during transport. With boxes that align square to each other, the tightness of their fit means that they are very unlikely to shift or move in the load during transport, limiting any risk of damaging contents.

Flexible and versatile

The flexibility and versatility of cardboard boxes should not be understated. Plastic containers are the shape they are, and you aren’t going to change that. Cardboard has the advantage of being malleable if you need it to be.

Lying cardboard boxes flat on top of a dining room table, for example, can protect its top, allowing you to stack additional items on top. Flat boxes can be used in between glass or marble tops. They are a great way to protect the bottom of terracotta planters or concrete statues as well.

And if you’re really ready to get creative, a cardboard box can be redesigned to house oddly shaped items – ones that might see pointy objects and the like poke out of the top of the box. The four top flaps of the box can form an angle top to keep such items safe.

Better health for contents

Perhaps the most significant reason to use cardboard boxes over plastic containers is that plastic does not breathe. A sealed plastic conduit can create condensation, which will lead to mildew growth, and that is something you certainly do not want on your belongings. This is true of plastic containers or bags alike.

Depending on the item(s), plastic can therefore be detrimental to them. Cardboard, on the other hand, offers a material that allows your items to breathe more, leaving your items safe from such damaging effects.

The point of storing your items is so that you can use them again in the future. If your items are damaged in storage, then the project of storing them becomes a fruitless effort. Cardboard boxes are definitely the superior option here.

Even superior after use

Even after unloading your storage locker of your belongings, bringing them home and unpacking them, boxes remain superior to plastic containers.

Again, plastic containers are the shape they are, and you can’t change that. In other words, they remain the shape they are, and, more importantly, they take up the same amount of space whether full or empty.

Cardboard boxes break down after their use. Detach the tape, and fold the box back into its original form, flat, ready to be used again at a later date.

Given this, cardboard boxes are much easier to store after the fact, as they will take up much less space than the plastic containers (you may in fact need to keep the storage rental just to house the empty containers!).

(For tips on what to do with your storage supplies after their use, read our article here.)

For all of these reasons, cardboard boxes are the best container for storage projects: they stack securely and safely; they maximize the space they use; their use is versatile, and can serve additional purposes; they are green-friendly; they allow contents to breathe; and they store more manageably than plastic containers.

(For tips on how best to pack boxes, read our article here.)

At Real Storage, your self-storage success is our success, and we want to be sure your storage belongings remain in good health during their stay in storage. For additional advice on packing materials, or for any self-storage related questions, please speak with your Real Storage agent today.