Self-pack moving with a shipping container - any advice?

I'm eyeballing a change of scenery in the next 6 months from southern NSW to southern Qld. That distance means I simply can't shuttle everything in my trailer over the course of a weekend like prior relocations, so I'm needing to sort logistics for One Big Move.

Given the sheer volume of crap we own, plus the lack of urgency in moving, I figured a self-pack shipping container service would be the best option; I can take a couple of weeks to empty my shed and then put the critical house items like whitegoods & house boxes in on the last days before pickup. I've got plenty of space available for either a 40ft or 2x 20ft containers, and I'm sure I'll be able to find set-down space at a house or nearby once we are in Qld.

Does anyone have any feedback on particular companies to use and/or avoid? Any other pitfalls I should know about?


  • Bunnings has great packing material.

    Worth a browse.

    Or, does it come with packing material?

    I bought 50 of these two years ago when on special. It might guide you on how much a cheap plastic box should cost.

    • +1

      Boxes and tubs are in good supply in my household!

      I actually have several rolls of bubble-wrap that I use to insulate the windows in winter - really helps stop the cold sheeting inwards from the glass. Got them from Officeworks as they were the best price per m2 of bubble, so they'll be well used.

      However, the actual packing process is not the unsolved problem - I have insufficient experience with container companies to know what I should be looking out for.

  • +2

    stacking either side of the container. and fill in the centre with things for immediate use that will be removed first.. that way, once you remove the stuff in the middle, you have an isle to walk down to get stuff that is at the back of the container. labelled to face the middle that aren't urgent.

    • +1

      Good idea

      I'd be sticking my steel shelving down each side (and bracing so they won't tip inwards) then filling said shelves with boxes and the like. That leaves the centre aisle for pallets that I can stack & shrink-wrap sealed, and wheel about with a pallet-jack when loading & unloading.

  • +2

    Having moved again recently - I'd rather point at everything and tell the removalists - make all that fit in your truck, and deliver to my new place
    I'd never move myself again.

  • Practically, this is what the removalist companies do - they fill a container with your junk and then just put the container on the back of a truck, or train.

    They can pack and fit your stuff quickly, for me it was a day to pack boxes and then another to put the boxes and the rest of the junk in the container. Having all the same boxes, scaled to the size of the container, makes it easy to do - and I'd suggest you aim to fill boxes that are scaled to the container size exactly. You can get boxes and materials in bulk from storage companies (rather than pay bunnings rates).

    Either way, do a great inventory - with photos - so that not only do you have details if things get broken, but you can find stuff again at the other end.

  • +1

    I'd recommend shopping around (market place, gumtree, etc) for your own container. I've done similar and hired 1 container then realised that it's cheaper to buy, own and sell than it is to hire. I purchased two more and returned the hired one, still using them for storage today.

    20ft containers are reasonably cheap to move around as they only need a tilt tray to cart them.

    40ft containers typically need a side loader which cost a lot more.

    IMO it's a much better option than using a removalist or hiring a truck.

    Have done both, will do containers again.

    • I did consider buying, but every supplier I've talked to has said there's currently a chronic shortage of containers available, which has basically doubled their price. At least if I keep it, it's a makeshift shed should I not get a property that already has one.

      I dunno if the $5600 for a 40ft container I was quoted is a good price or not… plus the $4k to move it north (presumably via rail for the bulk of the trip). But I'll certainly shop around

  • We used budget self pack containers
    MELB -> GC
    20ft was $4500
    We’re other similar prices but picked them because they included heavy duty moving blankets which helps a lot

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