30 Tips Using pods.com

Random Observation/Comment #675: Pods. It’s bigger on the inside.

Why this list?

We moved cross country in June and used the pods.com service. Highly recommended for a house-to-house move where you can easily fit the pod in your driveway, fill it, and ship it out. Here’s some tips that I wish I knew before starting.

  1. Order a pod size that fits your stuff. Our 18′ long pod fit 2 bedroom sets (beds, base, side tables, wardrobe), couch, kitchen table with 6 chairs, around 35 medium boxes of kitchen/books/stuff stacked, ~20 bags of clothes, ping pong table, and 2 bikes. If you call, they mention a 2-bedroom move.
  2. When calling to schedule, be aware that they have a very manual filing system (and maybe limited staff). By manual, I mean your pods.com login is created by the salesperson with a static pin number and your email only gets a limited read-only view with status. Any changes have to be done by phone.
  3. Schedule at least a month in advance (especially now). There’s a high demand for cross country moves with the mass exodus from expensive cities into suburbs.
  4. Watch the packing video to know the expected size and packing method. Notice the box stacking techniques! Distributed weight evenly across the pod.
  5. Use the hire-a-helper service you can book by the hour. We needed them for 3 hours to fill the 18′ pod. They do an incredible job with making sure you use all of the available space. They’re magicians at fitting everything in and it will save you from ordering a second container. Super impressive.
  6. Do not try to move this yourself. It’s important enough to make two of the same points so early in my list. Totally worth the money and saves a headache of ordering another pod if you can’t fit everything in.
  7. Use medium-sized boxes instead of larger ones as they will get too heavy with moving books and stacking other items.
  8. Be aware that there will be a lot of box stacking, so make sure boxes are filled to the top with padding in order to prevent collapsing boxes.
  9. Buy some essentials (amazon list): medium size boxes, furniture blankets, moving bands, mattress covers, heavy clothesline rope (50′ is more than enough), packing tape (at least 4 rolls), bubble wrap, packaging cellophane (clear/black sticky ones for fragile), scissors, sharpies, and a lock for the Pod door (the lock they recommend is good, but standard with a ~20% up-charge rate).
  10. Label your boxes clearly on all sides. Use some stickers.
  11. For each box, write: contents, room they might be placed/grouped in, and “heavy” or “fragile” clearly
  12. If you’re super crazy organized, put letter/number combos on the box and keep a google sheet that tracks contents. This can get pretty crazy out of hand, so only do it if you’re really feeling ambitious.
  13. Make a “Last to Pack” in the pod filled with some essentials that might be needed before the movers are scheduled at your destination. This will be by the door for easy access.
  14. “Last to Pack” items can include the tools/screws/nuts for the furniture, an inflatable bed, or some essential kitchen gear for cooking.
  15. You can access your pod at the destination warehouse. We didn’t, but it was a good option in case you want to put something in there that would cost too much for checking on a flight.
  16. Make sure all of your stuff is packed before your movers arrive. At least have all the big heavy furniture taken apart and wrapped with blankets + moving bands.
  17. Wrap everything with cellophane and add cardboard to prevent bending. This is annoying to remove, but saves your stuff from dust.
  18. Use bubble wrap where needed because the packer will focus on stacking and efficiency.’
  19. Use pieces of cardboard for large items that bend easily (then wrap it with cellophane).
  20. The internal roof of the pod (white paint?) will chip off so keep things covered. We had to wipe everything down after unloading.
  21. When loading, use the covered mattresses as dividers around half way through (your movers will use this strategy for weight distribution).
  22. The shipping is the highest cost. You are charged at each stage of the business process, but the highest cost is the actual logistics of driving the pod to the new depot. This usually costs around $2200 for a large container.
  23. Keep the pod at your destination storage facility as long as you want. You don’t get charged extra for that storage time so it spends less time in front of your house.
  24. It’s best to be at home for the drop off of the pod to give specific instructions like driveway side or how far away from the garage or on the street. Pick up is super easy and contact-less.
  25. Don’t expect to get a specific time of day for arrival until the day before. There’s one email and an automated call that happens, but not much else.
  26. Be aware of the physical size of the pod and how it unloads. (See photos below). The truck drops the pod down and drives forward to clear the bottom left with this skeleton pneumatic machine that surrounds it. Take this into account. This fits into a outward facing driveway nicely.
  1. Hire people for the unloading (but no need for specialists). You can just use some strong friends with pizza/beer as rewards. There’s probably a gig worker service like task rabbit you can hire.
  2. Consider posting on your local community group the large number of deconstructed boxes and spare moving blankets you’ll have after you unpack.
  3. Take your time unpacking – It’s been a month for us and we still have a few boxes in corners with books and misc items.
  4. Settle into your space and enjoy the process – A lot of people rush the moments to get to a target state. Look at your new home as a continuous improvement endless project. Home improvement is now a new hobby.

~See Lemons Use Pods