Moving is the worst. We’re all on the same page here, right? Lifting heavy objects is awful, as is moving said objects, as is carefully placing them down once more.
The process is tiring and stressful and expensive. Having lived in cities since starting college in 2006, I’ve moved… too many times in the past 10 years. I moved to Philadelphia, around Philadelphia, to Barcelona, back to Philadelphia, to New York City, and twice during my time here. A lot of moves.
And earlier this year, I did it again.
My wife and I moved from one neighborhood in Brooklyn to another, just 10 or so blocks apart. But this time, we made two crucial changes:
- We hired movers (not packers, but movers who would move our boxes and furniture and whatever else from our old place to our new place).
- Instead of buying/collecting a bunch of cardboard boxes we’d end up throwing away anyway, we used a rental service that provided strong, re-usable plastic bins in varying sizes.
The first option isn’t viable for everyone, of course. Movers can be expensive (thankfully, ours weren’t), and there’s always a risk they’ll break something (ours totally did).
The second choice we made, however, is viable for most people. And it made a huge difference in how we moved.
We used a service named Gorilla Bins, which came highly recommended by Yelp users.
Gorilla was suggested by our moving company, and the reviews online were rock-solid. Like this one:
Just completed my 2 weeks stint with Gorilla Bins and I would definitely move with them again. Drop off and pick up is absolutely painless and having no boxes to build/break down/dispose of is such a luxury. From a price perspective, these were actually less expensive than the boxes my moving company offered to provide, and I chose Gorilla over the other reusable packing companies because they offered the 2 sized boxes in their standard package and were still priced competitively against those who were offering fewer total boxes and in just 1 size.
There are other services similar to Gorilla Bins, like Bin-It, which operate in more locations:
Bin-It is a service similar to Gorilla Bins which is offered in New York City, Philadelphia, and Nashville. Here’s a video of how it works:
But something we really loved about Gorilla Bins is the different box sizes. There were medium and large boxes, which helped to break up our stuff into easily movable piles of boxes.
It’s easy to overload boxes with heavy stuff, and the smaller boxes helped us to compartmentalize stuff (like heavy books!) into manageable boxes. In so many words: It helped to stop us from overpacking any particular box.
In the case of our dishes/glassware, we padded the boxes with cloth towels.
You don’t have to do this, but we were being extra careful.
Since the boxes are hard plastic, they don’t get crunched by heavy boxes the way cardboard does. There are no crushed corners with Gorilla Bins, and you can stack boxes on top of each other without worrying about destroying anything in the bottom-most box.
However, due to the size constraints, there are some things that just won’t fit in the boxes.
I own too many game consoles, as evidenced by the stack you see above. These are just the tip of the iceberg, and many of my precious game consoles needed to be packed separately. Gorilla Bins are meant for collecting various household objects, not boxed items like these. Beware!
So, how does Gorilla Bins work? It’s really simple. First, you choose a price package that makes sense for what you need:
We chose the least expensive package (“Studio”), despite the fact that we were moving out of a two bedroom apartment. With 20 bins (eight large and 12 medium), we were more than set. We also purchased a separate mattress cover, which is just a very large plastic bag; it cost $9 and kept our mattress safe from whatever might lurk in the dark corners of a moving truck.
After picking a package, you choose a three-hour delivery window. The driver will warn you when they’re getting close.
The bins arrived like this: clean, empty, and stacked (for easy moving). We got to packing quickly, but we had plenty of time: Part of the price of renting the bins was a two-week window where we could pack, move, and unpack.
Mid-move, at our old place:
As you can see, the boxes are neatly stacked on top of each other. No one (other than maybe that huge guy from “Game of Thrones”) was moving these stacks — they were deftly moved onto dollies by our moving company, and hoisted/stacked easily in a moving truck.
And here they are at our new place, stacked in a corner, mid-move:
Ben Gilbert / Tech Insider
There was a secret benefit to using rented bins instead of cardboard boxes: we had to unload and settle in to our new place ASAP, lest we encounter additional rental fees from the company. Understandably, Gorilla Bins wanted the rented bins back within the allotted two week window. As a result, we unpacked immediately and were able to move in to our new place within a few days.
Secret bonus number two: no piles of cardboard garbage to recycle after moving!
Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
Since we packed the bins with towels for protection and rented bins instead of using cardboard boxes, there was no huge mess to deal with after moving. We had to launder some towels, but that’s about it.
The gentleman who picked up the bins was friendly and quick! There was no additional charge, and I’d happily use a similar service for subsequent moves. If you’re moving and you live in a major city, I strongly suggest using a service like this.