by Steven D. Johnson
(Page 3 of 4)
Fifty-Seven Hundred Pounds of Equipment – One Big Box
If the weather had been better, if I had planned (or executed) better, if the former owner had
not been the quintessential "unhandy" man, if I had not been only 20% effective for a week or more
with the flu, if, if, if...
As a buddy of mine used to say, "If a frog had a tail he wouldn't bump his butt every time he
hopped." And if everything had gone right, I would have remodeled the house and the garage before
time to move in, and I would be building furniture by now. But, frogs don't have tails, and my
remodeling project took longer than expected, and the garage had to wait.
What to do with all my equipment while the shop was under construction became the pressing
dilemma. The answer, my friends, was blowing in the wind. Literally.
I remember the day well. I left about 5:30 AM for the unhandy house, ready for another full day
of remodeling work, undoubtedly to be filled with additional surprises. The pressure was building.
Every day the drop-dead date for being out of the old house was nearing, and every day it seemed new
problems and fate was prolonging the project. It was cold, but then, when is it not in Wisconsin?
I believe the temperature was around 7 degrees, the wind gusting bitterly from the Northeast.
Bundled in about five layers of clothing, head bowed against the blowing snow, I headed into the
coffee shop for a much needed start to the day. Another frigid patron was wrestling with the
newspaper vending machine and a fortuitous gust of wind ripped papers from her hand and directly
into my face. As I peeled them away and tried to smooth and return them to her, I spied an
advertisement. It was just like in the movies, when the spotlight shines, the music swells, and
enlightenment spikes like a smile – a moving and storage company advertisement and a picture of a
Despite the cold and the caffeine deficit, I changed a dollar into quarters and overpaid for the
local newspaper. Over coffee (finally) I read and re-read the ad, and wondered if an on-site
storage pod could be the answer. I could put all my equipment in a great big weather-tight and
secure box, move the pod to the new house, store it in my own driveway, and move the machines into
the shop when the garage conversion was complete.
Online, I checked out various companies that offer pod-type storage. All seemed similar, but
the namesake Pods Enterprises seemed to be the originator, or at least had co-opted that position
through marketing. Pod's online quote system was slick and professional. By the end of the
workday I had made the decision and formulated the plan, and had an appointment to have a Pod
I fretted over details...could the delivery guy put the Pod close enough to the garage? Could he
set it straight? Would the slope of the driveway cause an issue? Would the 16 by 8 foot Pod be big
enough? Would it really be dry inside and secure? How high was the Pod off the ground? Were there
ways to secure my equipment for the move?
The helpful customer service representative at Pods patiently answered my questions, and the
delivery driver was as professional, caring, and proud of his company as anyone could be. He set
the Pod just four feet from the garage door, perfectly square to the entrance, and walked me through
the use of the door, the lock, and what to do when I was ready to have the Pod moved.
The next Saturday a friend had volunteered to help pack the Pod. I had already spent the better
part of the night before prepping the equipment for its hopefully short hibernation and relocation.
Most drawers were emptied and the items packed. Doors and drawers were secured with shrink-wrap
plastic. Delicate sections of the equipment were further protected with Styrofoam or bubble-wrap,
and then each machine was covered with a moving blanket or two. The padded moving blankets were
secured with additional shrink-wrap.
I hacked together a low ramp of 3/4 inch plywood and scrap dimensional lumber to smooth the rolling
of equipment from my garage to the four-inch floor height of the Pod. I also purchased a number of
4 X 8 sheets of 2-inch thick Styrofoam insulation to be used as packing protection, a few
inexpensive plastic drop cloths, and a few additional moving blankets.
In Wisconsin we plan for the worst possible weather, and the reality is usually worse, so I also
rigged some heavy plastic above the Pod door and attached it to the front of the garage roof,
forming a type of temporary roof over the short span between garage and Pod. I also rigged
temporary plastic walls between the Pod and garage, essentially forming a plastic "hallway." This
turned out to be a good move. Saturday ushered in a rainstorm of epic proportions. Cold, fierce
rain driven by gusting winds and a bone-chilling temperature of 38 degrees dampened our enthusiasm
for "Pod-packing," but we soldiered on.
My rolling lumber rack was the first item loaded. We partially emptied it, rolled it into the
Pod, and then reloaded it. It was the item I had guessed to be the heaviest and most unwieldy, but
the makeshift ramp held, so we were off to the races.
My workbench is the only large item in the shop not on wheels. We carried the beast, a few
inches at a time, and nestled it into the Pod, opposite the eight-foot long lumber rack. The Pod
unit has convenient tie-off points throughout. We used webbed straps and rope to secure the lumber
rack and workbench and a couple of blocks of wood screwed to the wooden floor as insurance. Boxed
items were packed in, under, and around the workbench and lumber rack, and within an hour, half the
Pod was packed.
Before loading the machinery, we lined the Pod walls with the two-inch Styrofoam insulation.
Like a make-it-up-as-you-go-along jigsaw puzzle, we put each machine into the Pod, secured it, and
braced it with additional Styrofoam. When everything was loaded, we sealed the Pod inside its
door, floor-to-ceiling, with 4-mil thick plastic (in case there was any water leakage around the
door), closed the door, and added a padlock.
On the appointed moving day, the Pods driver arrived precisely on time. The moment he raised the
Pod into the air and began to load it on the truck, my heart raced, but I was comforted by his
professionalism and care. By his control gauges, he told me the Pod had 5,700 pounds inside. Not
the heaviest load he ever carried, but well above average. He followed me to the new house, and in
what seemed like only minutes, he had unloaded the Pod and placed it, just as carefully, at the
entrance to my new garage/shop.
Figure 4 - Shop equipment resting peacefully,
waiting for its new home.
I was tempted, of course, to open the Pod and examine the contents, but I resisted. My rationale
was simple...if anything was damaged, it might be weeks or longer before I could unload the Pod and
really assess the situation, and in the meantime I would simply fret and obsess. Better that I not
know. That lasted about ten days, and finally on a day without rain, I opened the door to find that
everything was just as we had left it. Whew!
Now every day, I look at the Pod and it provides motivation to get the garage converted to the
new Down To Earth Woodworking shop. If you are ever facing a move, or simply want to clear out your
shop for some renovation or remodeling, consider using a pod storage unit.
(Page 3 of 4)
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