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How to keep portable shipping container storage safe from theft

If you’ve been looking for options to store your belongings, you may have come across multiple options for storage. Self storage means that you manage the storage unit for a renter’s fee, usually with a secure access code that is only used by you to enter a facility where there are several other locked storage units.

The other type of storage is with large industrial storage containers, or shipping containers that are then used as storage. These types of storage units are called ‘portable storage because they are transportable. This means that instead of you needing to go to a storage unit, load and unload your belongs, the storage unit can come to you. It’s not ‘fixed’ to the ground or part of a building. This provides a lot of convenience, as you can imagine.

This way, you can store your belongings in a shipping container used as storage, and then have that entire container moved to a new location, such as for a long-distance move, when you’re ready for it.

It can also mean that if you are temporarily renovating a home and need to put belongings elsewhere, a storage container can come to your location, drive away with your stuff, then come back with your stuff in that same container when you need it.

Considering safety and theft with portable storage using shipping containers

But there can be a dilemma regarding storing your belongings in a shipping container. How will it be safe from theft? Whether it’s on your property or not, thieves can try to access it. One family’s shipping container was broken into and stolen off a truck! It contained several memorabilia that were only meaningful to the family. As the owner said, insurance can cover the furniture, but the big losses were the things like kids’ drawings they can’t get back. And if you are storing valuables, all the more you wouldn’t want it broken into.

And theft from any type of storage unit is not uncommon. Lots of reports of storage theft can be found on the web, such as on this site. Also, this article explains that even self-storage units in buildings are becoming susceptible to theft. This issue is not unique to portable storage options.

Ways to prevent theft from shipping container storage

There are some measures you can take to keep your shipping container safe, or your belongings safe inside of it, if you’re using it for storage.

Invest in a good lock

As this Australian company explains, the common types of locks used on shipping containers are padlocks. But padlocks can be broken quite easily with tools you could get a hardware store.

So there are some alternatives. For example, you can get a lockbox to go around the padlock. You can also use bolts that go on the inside of a door on the container. Any extra measure here could help deter thieves. But of course, there are no guarantees, especially if your shipping container is out in the open, or in an unmanned area.

Get an alarm system

As the article above also explains, an alarm system may be possible on the unit itself, but it’s not exactly practical if you’re going to move the container around. Alarm systems will need to be mobile-based if you’re going to use one at all on a shipping container.

Inspect the shipping container before you buy it

Some people choose to go the route of owning an old shipping container instead of either buying new, or renting one from a storage company temporarily. If you do this, you’ll need to be good at inspecting it. An old shipping container could have been used to store or transport dirty things, or things laden with chemicals, etc. that you would not want your belongings affected by. But not only that, the damage to a storage container can cause moisture damage to your belongings.

However, since we’re talking about security from container storage theft in this article, we’ll note that you’ll want to ensure there is no door damage to theshipping container before you buy it. This article explains more on the issue. If any hinges are bent, it will be hard to keep the door closed at all.

Consider a portable storage company with a secure facility

At Ferguson Moving and Storage, we do provide an alternative that should help prevent theft from storage containers. Not only do we provide the portable storageunits, with a service to drive them to and from your home, load and unload them, etc. We also keep the units stored in a safe facility. Having a locked containerinside a locked and surveillance-equipped facility provides less incentive for thieves. This also takes a lot of the onus off of you to keep your belongings safe.

Our storage facility is climate controlled too, so you have less to worry about when it comes to moisture damage.

And during transport, we can help you get insurance for your belongings. We would also advise you on what shouldn’t go in the storage container, to prevent extreme losses or damage.

See more on this page of our website:

To conclude: portable storage theft can be preventable, if you take measures to secure your belongings

As we’ve seen above, portable storage containers can get broken into if you’re not safe. Proper security can be applied to a storage container, or they can be modified to use stronger locks. But the easiest option may be to let a company handle the safety of the container storage for you.

See our related articles on this topic:

Ferguson Moving & Portable Storage in Vancouver BC

If you’re looking for portable storage in Vancouver or making a move in the Greater Vancouver Area, you might need the services of a professional moving & storage company — give Ferguson Moving and Storage a call at 604-922-2212 or request a quote online through our website!

4 More illegal things you just can’t do with storage containers or storage facilities, even in Vancouver

In our last article on this topic, we covered some things you can’t do in a storage unit. This was after it was discovered that someone in Vancouver was caught living in a storage facility illegally.

Two things you can’t do in a storage unit, whether self storage or a portable storage unit: live in it or run a business out of it. It also goes without saying you can’t do artwork in it, or run a studio out of it. You can’t sleep it in either, just to be clear.

But there are more things you just can’t do with storage containers or storage facilities in Vancouver. In this article, we’ll cover more of those things, which you may not be aware of (though some are obvious… to most of us).

You can’t store animals in a storage unit

Animals, like humans, need ventilation, sunshine, and nature. You can’t store animals in a storage unit. If you do need a place for your animals to live while you’re gone, you could consider pet babysitters. Or, if you have a lot of animals to move, we wrote some articles on this subject here, to give you more info on the process:

You can’t store food in a storage unit

This one may not be obvious to everyone. A storage unit is not meant to be a warehouse or keeper of food. This mostly applies to perishable foods (see link above). Since other tenants are using the storage units for things other than food, it would not be good if food started attracting insects or rodents. That can affect everyone else in the storage facility. Just like our last article on things you can’t do in a storage facility, this poses a security and liability risk to your neighbouring tenants.

If you have a restaurant, and need to store food for other similar purposes, you’ll need to find a suitable food storage warehouse. Or, consider how you can add refrigeration or space in your restaurant, if possible.

Also remember that some storage units are climate controlled for the purpose of keeping belongings from moisture and other damage. This is not going to be most suitable climate for storing food perishables.

See our related article:

You can’t store illegal items in a storage unit

No, you can’t put illegal drugs, stolen property, unregistered vehicles, weapons and anything else illegal up in a storage unit. Also, no to illegally trafficked humans.

Need we say more?

Sure, you’ve seen this done on TV, but it never ends well for the bad guys who try it, now does it?

There may legal ways and procedures for storing firearms, as noted in this article. You should look into local laws about this before you stow them away, for best safety.

You can’t store toxic chemicals or flammables in a storage unit

If your are a mad scientist or nuclear physicist and need a place to store your collection of chemicals, don’t try to do so in a storage facility, please. Remember, humans that are untrained to handle these chemicals will be in and out of a storage facility accessing their belongings. If there is ever a leak, or if there is an explosion as a result of flammables (even by accident), you could end up causing a lot of damage to other people’s stuff. Storage facilities need to be kept safe from all this – even if they are manned and guarded.

This rule includes gasoline and propane tanks, which you may think are innocent (they’re just for cars and BBQs, right?). But they’re flammable, so they have to be stored properly.

Also, remember that electronic waste can be hazardous, and needs to be disposed of carefully. See our related article on how to move electronics:

On our FAQs page, we also list items that we can not ship for you, which include chemicals like nail polish remover (it’s got acetone in it!) and lighter fluid. Please have a look at that list for other items you can’t keep in storage.

So, keep your chemicals in a safe place please.

To conclude: keep storage units for storage only

The things you can keep in a storage facility are things like furniture, office papers, appliances (if safe), antiques (though you may want to insure them first), and your hobby materials, like printing presses, vending machines or that old restaurant-grade mixer you thought would kick-start your catering career. Sometimes, you can also store RVs or old cars at storage properties that have space for them (but pay your rent, or they can be towed away).

We recommend this article on tips to know before using portable storage in Vancouver.

In this article we mentioned you can re-purpose your storage unit into a garden gazebo and other things. But remember, that involves buying a storage container and legally placing it on your own property (or property you have permission and permits to use). In these articles on illegal things you can’t do in storage units, we are talking about commercial areas that are zoned for storage, and not anything else.

Ferguson Moving & Storage in Vancouver BC

If you’re moving your office or need storage space in Vancouver, call on the services of our Vancouver moving & storage company. Give Ferguson Moving and Storage a call at 604-922-2212 or request a quote online through our website!

Two Illegal things you just can’t do with storage containers or storage facilities

2 Illegal things you can’t do with storage containers or storage facilities, even in Vancouver

Recently the CBC reported a guy who was evicted for living in a storage unit in Vancouver. While he certainly showed how creative and clever one could make use of a tiny space for cheap rent, nothing he did was legal.

So, as Vancouver storage providers (with secured facility container storage), it got us thinking. What else is illegal to do with storage units? I mean, we see good-guy-bad-guy TV shows using storage units in plot lines all the time. Does that happen in real life?

Below are some illegal things you can’t do with storage containers or storage facilities – whether in Vancouver or not!

Keep in mind, there is a difference between storage lockers and storage containers! That is explained in this article.

You can’t live in a storage unit; not in Vancouver, not anywhere

Above we mentioned the guy who lived in a storage unit in Vancouver for about two months. That was not ok. But he says he only broke the rule of sleeping there at night. Afterall, he wasn’t showering there. And he paid for the power he used via a long extension cord.

But…he was posing other problems, as presented in this article. Apparently, people trying to live in storage units is not uncommon or new. But it’s illegal because:

Storage facilities are not zoned for residential use. Cities have bylaws for housing, in case you haven’t noticed. It’s not ok to have people living without sewage or running water. Those medieval days are far behind us in the Western world.

Storage facilities are not safe for long-term human living conditions. Think about this: what if there was a fire in the storage facility? No one would suspect they need to go in and safe a human. Also, air quality and ventilation are concerns if you’re going to be cooking or using any kind of heat in there, which the above video shows the illegal storage unit tenant doing. Also think about the amount of custom building work that guy had to do. What if his stuff collapsed on him? Sure, maybe he would have only suffered a knock on the head by his shoes or skateboard. But if there’s no way to regulate those units for liveability, they can result in accidents.

People living in storage units poses security risk for other legitimate renters. Storage facilities usually do have security cameras and guards present. Some may be controlled by access codes, and no 24-hour staff at all. But if you rent from a storage facility that has illegal live-ins, would you really feel safe about your belongings? What if there are valuables in storage? It makes it all the more easy for theft, and it can also make it hard to identify who did it, if there are too many people to watch. And we’re not even talking about live-ins having ‘visitors’ over, which is more of a problem to security.

We will mention that in this article on our blog, we did say you can repurpose a storage container into a tiny home. However, please note the difference here: buying a storage container and legally ‘parking’ it somewhere to build (and modify) a legal structure (with permits) could be ok. But using a storage unit in a facility that is zoned for that purpose, to then be turned into a home…that’s not ok.

You can’t run a business in a storage unit

Now, you may have read the above and thought, ok, I can’t live in a storage unit, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use it as an office! No, wrong.

Storage units are for storage, not activities. It has been reported that one storage facility in Florida turned into an artists’ haven, where people were glass blowing, and eventually building septic tanks! Now, it must be hard to build a septic tank, so how true this story is, we don’t know.

But the article makes a point: storage units are not for running a business. They are not built to be offices, or anything resembling an environment for living things.

Another story in the link above claims a doctor tried to run a shady practice out of a storage unit. And people tried working on cars in self storage. All of this is not allowed. No dance classes, no lawyer desks, no computer hacking, no art studio space – nothing. It’s not allowed. Use storage for storage, people.

Stay tuned for more things you can’t do in a storage unit or storage locker

We have a list of more things you can’t store in storage or at a storage facility. Stay tuned and we’ll cover more things you may not have thought of…or that weren’t obvious to some.

Ferguson Moving & Storage in Vancouver BC

If you’re moving your office or need storage space in Vancouver, call on the services of our Vancouver moving & storage company. Give Ferguson Moving and Storage a call at 604-922-2212 or request a quote online through our website!
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More ways to repurpose storage containers from movers in Surrey

New ways to repurpose storage containers from movers in Surrey BC

Previously we presented some tips from movers in in Surrey on repurposing storage containers. When you are moving in Surrey, you may find it useful to have a portable storage container for storage and renovation purposes. Once your storage container has served its purpose, it will provide you with an opportunity to get creative and transform your new backyard. Here are some ideas to get you started on this cool DIY project.

From portable storage to garden gazebo: create your own personal paradise!

If you have a garden in your new backyard, you could also transform your storage container into a beautiful deck or gazebo to complement your outdoor space. Once movers in Surrey help you complete your move and you are done with your extra storage, you can start the transformation process. Search the web for inspiration, create your plans, and get building!

If you are planning on bringing your garden with you when you move in Surrey, check out these tips:

Storage companies in Surrey will love your storage container workshop

If you are done storing furniture, supplies, and other belongings after your Surrey movers are long gone, turn a storage container into a new storage facility with a specific purpose! This can be a great place to store your tools or projects, and can even give you a space to work on DIY projects if you design it that way.

See our related article on how to move a shed:

Plus, how to handle tools and heavy equipment when moving:

After your Surrey movers leave, turn your storage container into a small business

If you have a storage container on your hands after your Surrey move, but no longer want it on your property, combine it with your entrepreneurial dreams to create a small café or shop! Maybe you have a specific location in mind, or perhaps you want to have a pop-up shop on wheels. The tricky thing about this idea is that you will want to make sure you have the right zoning and permits, and these will vary depending on what your business plans are. Once you have your ideas mapped out, check with the city of Surrey before bringing your plans to life.

Use Pinterest to find more ideas on repurposing portable storage in Surrey

Many of these ideas can be found on, and you can find many more ways to repurpose your portable storage in Surrey there. Check out our article about moving hacks on Pinterest to learn more about how to use Pinterest, and to pick up some helpful moving tips while you’re at it!

One of the great things about moving into a new place is the opportunity to get creative and try out new projects that fit with your new home. Transforming portable storage in Surrey is a bigger project, but it is a great way to spend time getting to know your new living environment and really make it your own. Turn this into your own personal project, and have fun getting in touch with your creative side!

If you need a professional moving company in Surrey BC, give Ferguson Moving and Storage a call at 604-922-2212 or request a quote online through our website!

Neat ways to repurpose storage containers from movers in Surrey

Ideas on how you can re-purpose portable storage containers in Surrey BC

After you complete the process of moving in Surrey, it will then be time to focus on settling into your new house and making sure it feels like home. Part of this process includes figuring out what to do with the remnants of your Surrey move. If you took your time moving in, or your house underwent a big renovation before you arrived, chances are you may have storage containers hanging out in your backyard. Luckily, there are endless possibilities of what you can do with moving storage once it has served its purpose.

Here are just a few ideas of how you can repurpose portable storage containers.

Turn your portable storage into a tiny home!

Once you have your perfect new home and you are done with your portable storage in Surrey, you can use your storage container to make a second, little, home. Tiny homes are growing in popularity and can make a perfect guest house, private space for a teenager, or a small sanctuary for yourself. They are also useful as temporary dwellings while a renovation is going in the larger house on your lot. You can design it any way you want, but you can start with the basics in this Pinterest post.

Read more on reasons why you should move to a tiny house in Vancouver here:

And some solutions for when you do plan to dwell in the tiny house:

Office movers in Surrey may recommend storage container offices

A storage container office can be a perfect place to get away from everything going on in the house so you can focus on work- right in your backyard. Like a tiny home, you can exercise a lot of creativity in your storage container office design, based on your personal working or studying needs. But if you’re the kind of person that could get distracted by being too close to home, try one of our other ideas for repurposing a storage container! Plus, don’t forget the office maintenance needs and permit requirements with the city.

These articles on our blog may help you decide if you should set up a home-based office when moving:

Plus, read the following tips from office movers in Surrey to help with your office move:

Create a personalized swimming pool out of portable storage in Surrey

Have you always wanted a swimming pool in your backyard but never made it a priority? Now that your move in Surrey is completed and you have an empty shipping container, you are one step closer to checking a swimming pool off your wish list! There are many creative ideas of how to turn your portable storage into a great place to splash and swim around in. Check out this list from to get your ideas rolling.

Taking the time to pursue a larger-scale project like this will not only give you a goal to pursue in your free time, but it will also make your new home much more unique. Upcycling items is also great for the environment, which is an added bonus! So once our movers in Surrey BC are done helping you with the first step of settling into your new home, have fun taking the next step to really make it your own.

For your moving and storage needs anywhere in Greater Vancouver, give Ferguson Moving a call at 604-922-2212 or request a quote online through our website

How to move and store a washer and dryer

Moving and storing a washer and dryer

So you have opted to move and store your washer and dryer as opposed to buying a pair for your new home; a bit of a hassle but may be more cost effective. For now, your washer and dryer are in the laundry room ready to be picked up by a couple of hulky movers and brought to your new place. But, are you sure your bulky, heavy, and probably expensive appliances are ready to be moved and stored?  Some planning ahead will make these difficult-to-move units easier to haul. There are also some tips you can follow to ensure your washer and dryer make it to your new home without damage. Also, make sure you store your washer and dryer properly if it will be sometime before they will be used again.

Before you move, clean and prep your washer and dryer

If you are planning to store your washer and dryer for a while make sure your appliances are clean prior to moving them. You can just run a rinse cycle to remove any detergent build up in the washer and make sure the lint area of the dryer is clean.

To prepare your washer, it is a good idea to drain it thoroughly. According to, you should turn on the warm water for about 30 seconds and drain the remaining water into a container. You can then turn off the water supply and unplug the water hoses and place them inside the washer.

Mayflower recommends leaving the washer door open for 24 hours. This will ensure the washer is thoroughly dry, thus preventing mould from building up. Disconnect the cord and either store it inside or secure it to the back of the unit with tape.

To prepare your electrical dryer, unplug it and store the cord inside the dryer or tape it to the back of the unit. If your dryer uses a gas connection, turn the gas off and store the hose inside the unit.

When moving your washer and dryer, protect and safely move them

Wrap blankets or thin foam mattresses around the appliances to ensure they won’t get scratched. You can probably find old thick blankets at a thrift store if you want your appliances to be kept wrapped while in storage.

Rent or buy an appliance dolly instead of using a regular dolly. With safety and comfort in mind, there are dollys made specially for different types of items. Anappliance dolly is made to haul up to 700lbs and have tighter handles, provide a better leverage than regular dollies, and easily roll up and down stairs. Some also come with nylon straps to secure the appliance to the dolly. You can also use bungee cords or ropes for added security. The rental price difference between these different types of dollies is not much, so if you want the most secure way of moving your washer and dryer, go for an appliance dolly.  If you choose to buy an appliance dolly you could check out craigslist for an used one and sell it again once you are done with it.

Some moving companies recommend loading the washer and dryer last in the moving truck. Your washer and dryer are usually just waiting in the laundry room and it might be a good idea to have everything else cleared out of the way so there can be more room to move them around. Your washer and dryer will also be the first to be taken out and can be placed in the laundry room right away.

Prevent long term damage by storing your washer and dryer appropriately

It might be a good idea to store your washer and dryer in a climate-controlled environment if possible. If your appliances are stored in a humid surrounding,mould might build up inside and ruin the functionality of the unit. However, this is not a requirement. While in storage make sure the doors of your washer and dryer are kept slightly open to ensure there is some degree of airflow going into the unit.

Lastly, cover your washer and dryer with a blanket or cotton sheet if you are going to place items on top of the units while in storage. StoragePros recommend using a thin layer of plastic under the washer and dryer to improve circulation of air. Try not to use plastic materials to cover the appliances as they can block airflow and possibly cause humid air to settle in and contribute to mould and even rust inside the unit.

So there is more than just waiting for your appliances to be picked up! Follow these tips and your washer and dryer moving experience will be easier and faster.

Here at Ferguson Moving in Vancouver BC, we are ready to help you with all your local and international moving needs. Call us at 604-922-2212 to get your move started today!