How Much Will Fit in a 12 foot POD?

Remember when there were only two choices when it came to moving? Hiring full-service moving companies (and paying moving company prices), or renting a truck and moving yourself?Thankfully for cash-strapped families that’s no longer the case.As a refresher, PODS stands for Portable on Demand Storage.

With PODS’ service, custom trucks deliver empty containers to your home or business.

Then when you’ve loaded your items inside, they lift the unit back onto the truck and deliver it across town, to another state, or to their secure facility for local storage.

So just how much will fit in a 12-foot POD?

Usually, what’s in a standard 1 or 2-bedroom apartment, or the contents of a moderately furnished 2-bedroom home – excluding those with garages, attics, and basements.

Not sure if PODS are right for you?

Check out our moving cost calculator first.


PODS containers come in three sizes: 7, 12, and 16 feet.

In this article we’ll focus on the 12-foot unit since we’ve already covered the 16-foot moving container.

12-foot PODS containers measure 12 x 8 x 8 feet and have about 690 cubic feet of interior space.

To put that into perspective, it’s about 8% less room than a 15-foot U-Haul.

12-foot containers are typically best for:

  • Fully furnished 1 or 2-bedroom apartments
  • Minimally furnished 2-bedroom homes
  • Small office moves
  • Storing equipment and material during a remodeling or home improvement project
Did You Know?

If a 12-foot PODS container sounds like the best bet for your situation, keep in mind that they’re usually reserved for local moves and storage only, so if you’re moving to California (or moving to Canada), you’ll need to use a 7 or 16-foot unit. Or go with a PODS competitor like U-Pack

Use Your Space Efficiently

Though the word “cavernous” may not come to mind when you roll up the door and peer inside for the first time, 12-foot containers can hold lots of household goods when packed correctly.

Especially for bulky items like refrigerators, wardrobes, sofas and entertainment centers, loading like professional movers do will ensure space is utilized efficiently.

Loading Tips:

  • Disassemble beds, tables, futons, exercise equipment and entertainment centers as much as possible
  • Stand sofas and loveseats on-end
  • Load one tier at a time, and keep them as uniform as you can
  • Fill the gaps between large items with boxes, cushions, area rugs and plastic toys
  • Distribute the weight of your items evenly from front to back and side to side

According to PODS’ website, the maximum cargo weight for a 12-foot container is 4,700 pounds.

But it’s important to note that the contents of most 2-bedroom apartments and nearly all 2-bedroom homes weigh much more than that.

In fact, most multi-bedroom homes have more than 10,000 pounds of household goods, so use the above numbers for reference only, and don’t be shy about calling and asking a PODS representative about their weight restrictions during the pre-move screening process.

Insider’s Tip

Whether you’re moving out of state or locally, if you’ve had estimates from full-service movers you can use their inventories to determine which size POD would be best for your move. Each should include detailed weight and cubic feet figures for each room as well as totals at the end.

If not, use a free inventory app to do it yourself, or get the kids involved and make a game out of it.

Why Use PODS to Move?

In recent years moving container companies like PODS have gained significant market share that once belonged to interstate movers and truck rental companies.

Here’s why –

  • They’re flexible and affordable
  • 30 days of free storage with each move
  • They’re secure – you use your own lock and hang onto the key
  • Their containers are available in multiple sizes
  • They usually require less notice when booking
  • You won’t need to drive a truck through bad weather or pay for fuel
  • They’re great options for moving and storage
  • Various insurance options are available
  • They may not be subject to peak season availability issues and big price increases
  • PODS containers are just a few inches above the ground, so dangerous walk-boards aren’t needed on DIY moves
  • Military discounts are available
  • Online shipment tracking

Hot Moving Tips

Moving out on your own for the first time, relocating for a new job, and exploring new horizons after a divorce or death of a loved one can be great experiences, but actually lifting, carrying and moving heavy boxes and furniture isn’t fun.

The following tips may make moving a little easier –

  1. Use a moving checklist to plan and prepare for your move
  2. Take advantage of moving container discounts
  3. Don’t skimp on moving supplies – quality moving boxes and packing material is usually worth the price
  4. Get as many helpers as possible for packing and moving
  5. Allow more time than you think you’ll need for loading and unloading
  6. Load items like bedding, clothes, toiletries, toys, mattresses, kitchenware and refrigerators at the back of the truck so you’ll have access to them first
  7. Plan for the worst-case scenario like your container being delivered a day or two late, in the afternoon, or when it’s raining
  8. Have the proper equipment like moving blankets, tape, box and appliance dollies, stretch wrap for upholstered furniture, and back braces
  9. Take irreplaceable and high-value items like jewelry, coin collections, passports, medications, birth certificates and family photo albums with you

Insider’s Tip: In some instances, like if you’re moving from California to Texas, interstate moving companies may be cost-effective alternatives to renting a truck or using PODS.

How to Save Money on Your Move

Most of us can’t afford to buy new furniture every time we move, but downsizing is a great way to lighten your load and save money in the process.

PODS cost is determined, in part, by container size. If you’re not sure if you’ll need a 12 or 16-foot PODS container, consider opting for the smaller of the two and only taking what’ll fit inside.

It’ll force you to take a hard look at things you rarely use and don’t value, and you’ll have the option of selling, discarding or donating them before you move.

Did You Know?

In most cases you’ll get tax deductions when donating items to charity. They should give you forms when you drop your items off, and in some cases they’ll come and pick up gently used houseware, furniture, clothes and appliances for free.

The Verdict
From a features and benefits standpoint, PODS has a leg-up on much of the competition.

Previous customers claim their prices are reasonable, they have lots of equipment, and that their service area covers most of the US as well as other countries like Canada.

It’s not just PODS! See our list of the best moving container companies.

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