What Can You Do With An Old Shipping Container?

Posted on: 6 May 2015

Pod shipping is the new moving trend across North America -- by allowing homeowners to pack and ship furniture and personal belongings at their leisure and avoiding the cost of a team of movers traveling cross-country, these shipping containers carry a number of advantages. However, if you've found yourself in a situation in which you need to purchase a shipping or storage container, you may find yourself wondering what to do with it after you've arrived at your new home. Read on for several creative and occasionally lucrative conversions you can make to an old shipping container.

When does it make sense to buy (rather than rent) a shipping container?

One of the advantages of pod shipping is the ability to rent a shipping container for weeks or even months while you pack items at your leisure, then schedule a time for the container to be picked up and shipped to your new location. However, if your shipping and storage needs are more long-term (such as over a course of years rather than a few long weekends), or you need to ship multiple times, the cost to rent a household-sized storage container may soon exceed your budget. Purchasing your own storage container and then paying per shipment may make the most financial sense.

In extreme situations, you can even find yourself living in a shipping container while waiting for a home to close. Most stationary rental storage units strictly prohibit any type of residential usage, and if you're renting a shipping container you may also be prohibited from sleeping in it even while it is not loaded on a truck. If you foresee this as a possibility (or would just like a backup), you may want to buy.

What can you do with an old shipping container?

Once you've finished using your container for its intended purpose, you may wonder how to discard it. Because these shipping containers are relatively rare in certain parts of the country, you may find success on the resale market if you choose to simply pass it along. However, if the container has become damaged in transit, it may be worth your while to repurpose it rather than sell it.

  • Guest house or office

Because metal shipping containers are technically portable (even if placed on a concrete foundation), they're generally legal to keep at your home long-term. Some exceptions may apply if your local homeowners association (HOA) rules or zoning laws prohibit long-term storage or certain types of structures, or if you paint the storage unit a bright or garish color.

Some homeowners have chosen to use shipping containers as mobile additions to their homes by adding furniture, electricity, and even plumbing. By installing a compost toilet and water recycling system in your new guest house or office, you can make the house completely mobile while still enjoying modern amenities.

Some wooden shipping containers can be disassembled and repurposed as a stationary guest house or shed at a very low cost.

  • Carport

If your home doesn't have a detached garage -- or if you'd simply like extra space to keep your vehicle, bikes, or lawn equipment safe and dry -- you may be able to convert your storage container to a carport or even a garage. By slightly modifying the rolling door of the container or adding in a motor you can make it remote-controlled just like an overhead garage door. Because this door can be locked, you won't need to worry about keeping expensive lawnmowers or other yard equipment outside your attached garage.

  • Playhouse

If you have young children and live in an area with long winters, you may be wondering about ways to help them burn off energy during cold or windy days. By converting a storage or shipping container to an insulated backyard playhouse, you can ensure that your children are at a safe temperature while keeping them from going stir-crazy inside your home. During summers, the playhouse can serve as a gathering place for friends or location for parties. For homes with sufficiently sturdy trees, shipping containers can even be covered in wooden siding and converted to treehouses.

For more ideas about storage options check out companies like Target Storage Ltd.


step-by-step instructions for packing things for storage

Climate-controlled storage is a great solution to storing many different types of things, but how do you prepare things before you put them in storage? Even using climate-controlled storage can put your belongings at risk if you have not properly packed them prior to putting them in storage. To get the instructions for packing up different types of things, visit my website. There, you will find step-by-step instructions for packing everything from silk flowers to electric guitars. It is my hope that you will find exactly what you need to pack up your precious items for safe storage in a storage unit.

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