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How to prepare for a move:

The Bellhop + PODS Long Distance Move Prep Guide

Thank you for choosing Bellhop to help with your long distance move, using PODS Portable Storage Containers! Your belongings are in good hands with us.

To ensure your transition goes as smoothly as possible, we're sharing the most helpful practices we've learned over the course of more than 300,000 moves.

How It Works

  1. Your PODS container will be delivered prior to your loading date. PODS will be in touch to confirm delivery window details and provide container placement guidance. Moving supplies (e.g. blankets, shrink wrap) will also be mailed directly to your home prior to loading day.
  2. Bellhop Pros will arrive to load your PODS container. On loading day, all furniture will be disassembled, padded and wrapped, and the rest of your belongings will be loaded carefully to ensure safe transit. Please be sure that your non-furniture belongings are packed into boxes prior to your Pros’ arrival.
  3. PODS will return to pick up your container after loading. PODS will load your container(s) onto a truck and transport to your destination address.
  4. Bellhop Pros will unload your PODS container at your destination address. Your Pros will unload your PODS container(s) quickly but carefully from start to finish – including reassembling your furniture at your destination.
  5. PODS will come pick up your container after your move is complete.

Get Organized and Make a Plan

Decide where you want your PODS container to be placed

  • Choose a flat surface that is 12' wide, 15' high, and 40' long, free of wires and branches.
  • Make sure the area is free of items that could get damaged, like sprinkler heads.
  • Make sure to clear the driveway or street of vehicles that may block delivery. Click here for additional information on PODS container placement.
  • Donate or sell items you don't need

    The less stuff you have, the quicker your move will be. Think of your move as an opportunity to get rid of all the items you may have accumulated over the years. As a starting place, it’s a good idea to inventory your furniture to determine what will fit in your new home.

    Then consider having a garage or yard sale; selling your belongings on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay; and/or scheduling a donation pickup.

    Get boxes and other packing supplies

    It can be tough to estimate how many boxes you’ll need come move day! While this number is highly variable based on the amount of stuff you have, we've shared some general guidelines in this chart. It’s a good idea to buy wardrobe boxes to protect your clothing in transit (and makes unpacking clothes into a closet much easier). 

    Need moving supplies? Visit to order all your moving supplies -- from boxes, packing tape, and paper to kits assembled based on the size of your container. All with fast, free shipping included.

    Plan Ahead


    Make a family "move day" plan

    If you need time off work to move, be sure to put in the request ASAP. If you have kids, consider hiring a babysitter or making other childcare arrangements for move day.


    Reserve freight elevator

    If you live in an apartment building with a service or freight elevator, be sure to reserve it well in advance. This simple task will save a LOT of time on move day!

    Bellhop Dashboard

    Acquire permits

    To put a PODS container on the street, you may need permits from your city or town. Please note that PODS requires copies of any permits prior to delivery.

    Packing 101

    Leave your clothing in your drawers

    It’s okay to leave items such as clothing in drawers, as long as the furniture is still manageable while full (this method saves valuable space in your PODS container). However, be sure to set aside any breakable items from your dressers and cabinets pack them separately.

    Set aside valuables

    Your Bellhop Pros will pack and/or load your items with care, but we cannot replace items of sentimental value (such as antiques, artwork, photo albums, and jewelry) if something were to happen. Plan to pack your personal vehicle with anything you don’t want transferred in your PODS container.

    Create a plan for perishable food

    It’s difficult and expensive to transport perishable foods, so start eating your way through your fridge and freezer. Alternatively, you can make a plan to donate your perishable food a couple days ahead of your move.

    2-4 Days Before Loading

    Cover your mattress and box spring

    To ensure your mattresses and box springs are protected from dust, dirt, and water once in your container, it’s a good idea to procure mattress bags. You can buy them from PODS or at your local home improvement store (they typically cost ~$14 a piece), and they’re well worth the investment.

    Dispose of hazardous liquids and materials

    …or make a plan to transport them yourself. Please note the following items, which cannot be packed by Bellhop Pros OR stored in your PODS container: perishable items (e.g. food), acid, darkroom chemicals, pesticides, motor oil, gasoline, charcoal, lighter fluid, fertilizer, plants, car batteries, matches, ammunition, liquid bleach, nail polish, and nail polish remover.

    Remember to check our terms of service for items we don't pack or move.

    Remove items from walls

    Any mounted electronics, such as flat screen televisions, must be dismounted and packed into their original/appropriately sized box before your Bellhop Pros arrive.

    Please plan to dismount everything else from your walls, such as art, mirrors, and frames, before your Bellhop Pros arrive. Don't forget to store mounting hardware in a safe place!

    Disconnect and drain all appliances

    While Bellhop Pros can move large appliances into your PODS container, they can only do so if these items are empty, disconnected, and completely dry ahead of time.

  • Refrigerator and freezer: Empty of all contents, then disconnect them from their power source. Keep the doors open overnight, with a towel underneath to contain any dripping. Then do a final wipedown in the morning to make sure everything is dry and ready for transport.
  • Washer and dryer: Disconnect them from their power source. Locate the water valves and turn them off before unhooking the cold and hot water hoses from the wall. Make sure to empty the hoses of any leftover water. 
  • Pack an "open first" box

    If you're moving imminently, it’s a good idea to pack the following essentials into a single box that you can unpack right away: 

  • Toilet paper, hand soap
  • Body wash, toiletries, a shower curtain, and towel(s)
  • A set of clean sheets and pillow(s)
  • A few sets of disposable plates and utensils
  • Basic tools for reassembling furniture
  • 24 Hours Before Loading

    Clear a walkway for your Bellhop Pros

    Please make sure there is an unobstructed path (both outside and inside) for your Bellhop Pros to navigate. Anything a person could stumble on – toys, branches, shoes, small furniture – must be dealt with ahead of time to ensure their safety as they pack and/or haul your belongings. 

  • Consider putting down paper, cardboard, and/or drop cloths to protect wood floors and carpets.
  • If you have a vehicle, please park it where it won’t be an obstacle for Pros going back and forth.
  • Don't forget your pets!

    Move day can be stressful or even dangerous for your pets. Consider dropping them off at daycare for the day, or leaving them with a friend. At the very least, we recommend keeping your pets in a quiet room with the door closed (in this case, make sure to inform your Bellhop Pros so they don’t inadvertently let your pets out).

    Check nooks and crannies

    Like you would before you leave a hotel, check all hidden areas like attics, basements, and closet corners. Don’t leave any critical items behind! Commonly overlooked items include mounted light fixtures, things that plug into a wall (e.g. charging cables), wall-mounted mirrors, and wall and door hooks.

    Lock your PODS container

    Secure your PODS container with a lock when it’s unattended. Locks can be purchased from PODS customer care when booking your container, or you can purchase at your local hardware store. Either way, PODS recommends using a 2 ¾” (70mm) Disc Lock or a 1 ¾” Padlock.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Our policies regarding cancellation and rescheduling are contingent upon when changes are made (e.g. if you cancel within 48 hours of booking Bellhop services, you will not be charged; however, if you cancel within 72 hours of your loading or unloading reservation date/time, we charge 10 percent of the estimate for your service, plus a $200 late cancellation fee). Please call us at 800-721-8132 to make changes to your reservation.

    Items that weigh more than 300 pounds; items that exceed the clearance of hallways, stairways, or doorways; drugs or drug paraphernalia; perishable items; items prohibited by law; weapons, explosives, flammable liquids; anything that would otherwise put the safety of the crew, the truck, you, or your belongings at risk.

    If you are unsure whether your items fall into the categories above, please email or click the blue "Chat Now" button on the bottom right of your screen for immediate assistance. Additional information, particularly about special items we can move, but cannot cover, can be found in Section 7 of our Terms of Service.

    No, but we can connect you to a junk removal business in your area.

    Yes! Your Pros will come equipped with a basic tool set and dollies, and can perform basic furniture assembly and disassembly. Please note that we cannot disassemble or re-assemble equipment like ellipticals, large items like bunk beds, or electronics.

    Additonal resources