Ethan Hampton

Avoid Portable Storage Containers While Moving to Downtown Chicago

I moved to downtown Chicago last summer and one of the main sources of stress was dealing with the U-Haul U-Box moving container I purchased to move all of my stuff. This same advisory applies to PODS pod containers as well.

Essentially it boils down to the fact that companies aren’t allowed to drop off the containers anywhere (not in an alley, or on-street parking). I was moving from a place that had a private driveway so it was trivial to load the containers. I then sent them on their way and a few days before they were set to arrive, I got a call from U-Haul in Chicago. When I specified that I wanted the containers dropped in the alley, they gave me a straight no, since they had been fined in the past. When I then asked about on-street parking, they said I needed to call my city ward’s Alderman. When I called the Alderman’s office, they then told me that they don’t allow those containers to be dropped at an on-street parking space.

The frustrating thing about all of this is that nowhere online (that I could easily find) is it specified that this isn’t allowed. So now I’m taking matters into my own hands in hope that I can save someone else the hassle. Intuitively, it would be reasonable to allow permits for containers to be temporarily dropped in the alley, since there could be supervision with the permit process to insure proper use. But nope! No moving pods in alleys or on-street parking allowed. So if you are planning to move to the 60601, 60602, 60603, 60604, 60606, 60611, or 60654 zip codes (covers most the Loop, River North, Streeterville, etc.), then don’t use a U-Box or PODS Pod unless you have some area of private property to drop the container. I don’t know if there are specific locations in the city which have these guidelines, but in less dense areas of the city, it would seem easier to find an allowable space for a container.

I ended up my box at a U-Haul facility and transferring the contents to a moving van which I then drove into the city and parked in an alleyway to offload. So it worked out, but it was certainly more of a pain (both physically and mentally) than it could have been if I had known before I packed my moving container.

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