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5 Tips before Using Shipping Containers as Portable Storage Units

Converting a shipping container into a storage unit is a great idea! This new trend has been growing in popularity over the past few years.  With the surplus of both new and used shipping containers, making the cost go way down, there are some great deals to be had when compared to other alternatives.

Before you decide to convert a shipping container into a portable storage unit, let’s look at  a list of 5 tips that you should ponder in order to keep your costs low, and your stored items safe and secure.

  1. Building Permits: In many parts of North America you don’t need a building permit for something that isn’t on a permanent foundation.  If you’re building a shed or barn you may need a permit, if you’re setting a container onto railroad ties or concrete footings you may not need a permit.
  2. Costs: When compared to a shed or other wood frame or concrete structure, the material cost may appear to be less than the cost of a shipping container, but if you include the construction costs, time, and related fees a container will easily become a financially competitive option. For example, a used container measuring 20’ long x 8’ wide x 8.5’tall costs around $2,500. This averages out to about $15.63 per square foot.  By comparison, a typical 12′ x 12′ shed can cost at least $3,000 at your typical big box hardware store.  That comes out to around $24.19 per square foot.  Storage containers offer a cost saving of almost $10 per square foot.
  3. Foundation: To ensure the longevity of a container it’s a good idea to put it on some type of a foundation.  If you drop the container directly onto the ground there won’t be much room for moisture drainage and ventilation and it can speed up corrosion on the underside of the container.  If you can afford even a basic shipping container foundation, such as rail road ties, it will increase the life of your container.
  4. Interior Odor/Smells: If your container has a bad smell due to the goods that were shipped, you can easily get rid of it by taking a large jug of instant coffee and scattering it around the inside of the container. Next, close the door and allow it to ruminate for a couple of days. The coffee normally absorbs any odors and leaves the container with a small coffee smell.  Another good way to get rid of the odor is by rubbing it down on the inside with vinegar. Believe it or not, vinegar takes away bad odors and the vinegar smell quickly dissipates too.
  5. Proper Ventilation: If you’re in an area of the country where the temperature of days and nights fluctuates, you may find that condensation builds up inside of the container.  Depending on what you’ve stored in the container this may damage the items.  It’s a good idea to install some type of ventilation system inside of the container. You can easily and cheaply get fixed shipping container vents.

Shipping Containers really can be set up quickly, and for an affordable price, making them a competitive option when compared to a wooden or concrete structure.  If you’re considering buying a shipping container to use as a storage unit and have questions feel free to contact us at ContainerOne.net.