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Shipping Container Garage: 6 Step Guide to Expanding Your Storage Space


Personal and business vehicles. Lawn and farm equipment. Tools and workbenches. Outdoor furniture and pool equipment. 

No matter what size garage or storage building you have at home or work, there never seems to be enough space to store everything securely. And these days, keeping things outside in potentially bad weather or hoping that thieves will somehow pass the opportunity by is asking for trouble. 

One smart and effective option is to purchase a steel shipping container and convert it into a secure and spacious garage. Not only will your new garage be large enough to store your valuable and essential belongings, but it will be more cost-effective than building a garage of the same size from scratch. And, if you’re creative, you can construct the ultimate “man cave” or “she shed” for those who spend most of their free time tinkering in the garage. 

So, where do you begin? This blog will summarize the process you should go through to get your shipping container project going.  

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1. Choose Shipping Container Size 

How big of a garage do you want? Depending on the answer, you’ll need to decide whether you want more than one shipping container. If you’re looking to store a collection of vehicles or lots of equipment, you may want to consider several shipping containers so you’ll have room for other things and to move around. When it comes to storage space, most of the time, bigger is better. 

We recommend that customers measure the items they will be storing to ensure that the shipping container or containers will accommodate their garage needs. Learn more about the specifications and dimensions of shipping containers here. 

Conex shipping containers primarily come in four different sizes:  

  • 20-foot shipping containers: Standard units are 8' 6" in height and 8' wide. 
  • 40-foot shipping containers: Standard shipping containers are also 8' 6" in height and 8' wide; High Cube units are 9' 6" in height and 8' wide (most common unit bought by customers). 
  • 10-foot collapsible shipping containers: Container One is the only supplier of the 10-foot collapsible Conex shipping containers. Customer pickup is required. Each order comes with 15 collapsed shipping containers – the units are shipped in a 40-foot High Cube shipping container. 
  • 53-foot shipping containers: Container One is the nation's leading 53-foot shipping container supplier. Customer pickup is required. High Cube units are 9' 6" in height and 8' 6" wide - the most common unit bought by customers.

2. Choose Shipping Container Condition 

Now that you know how big and how many shipping containers you need, it's time to think about what type/condition of shipping container you’d like to use. Part of that consideration will be about the budget. Like with most things you buy, you’ll pay more for a shipping container that’s in better condition. 

There are four main shipping container conditions:  

  • New/1Trip: If you want a garage that’s ready to go, without needing to treat it as a “fixer-upper,” this is the shipping container to select. These new shipping containers have only been loaded one time from the manufacturer and are in the highest condition of shipping containers offered. 
  • Wind and Water Tight (WWT): These shipping containers are in the next-best condition and are no longer certifiable to ship cargo on trains and ships. They are ideal for consumers that need a shipping container to store personal items or anything else that needs to be protected from the elements. 
  • Cargo Worthy (CW): These shipping containers are guaranteed to pass a re-certification to be loaded back on a ship or train, but that doesn’t matter to you since you think your garage will stay put. These will suit your purpose as a garage to protect your valuable contents. 
  • AS IS: These shipping containers might need a little attention. These are used units and will most likely have holes, floor damage, and other fixable repairs. If you want to cut some costs and think you’re handy enough to get these into more admirable condition, these are an option. 

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    * Delivery is not included with the 10 ft and 53 ft container prices

    3. What’s Your (Garage) Style 

    What’s your style? Do you want just a basic, generic garage to store one vehicle? Or, do you want something substantial like a pole building where you can keep a ton of stuff? What kind of design do you want – single decker, tall or long? Are you going to paint the garage exterior with a cool color or leave it as is?

    The style of your shipping container garage is only limited by your imagination, space, and budget. Do some research to see what others have done with garage shipping containers to get ideas. Then, you can put your own flair and signature to customize your garage. You could even reach out to an engineer or architect to see if they can help you design your space. 

    4. Get the Space Ready 

    You can’t just have your shipping containers delivered on your driveway and call them a garage. It would be best if you did some prep work first – like preparing your space. But before you do that, make sure to get any necessary permits. 

    After the paperwork is taken care of, pick your spot. Then, you’re ready to prepare the land for the containers. 

    Here are some things you’ll need to do:  

    • Measure and mark the area you want to use for your shipping container garage 
    • Get rid of any plants, debris, or other obstacles 
    • Put down a basic foundation, like a concrete slab or steel pipe footing foundation 

    5. Details, Details, Details … 

    It’s time for delivery, and time to think through the final details that, if left unchecked, could cause issues later. Where do you want the shipping container door opening? Do you want the container to be easily accessible from the house? 

    If the shipping container isn’t in near-perfect condition, will you remove any rust and paint? Do you need to do any landscaping so that rainwater will flow away from the shipping container? While the shipping container you purchased will probably show up pretty close to ready, you still need to think about the little things before starting to load your new garage with stuff. 

    6. Accessorize Your New Garage 

    One of the many cool things about your shipping container garage is that it’s a blank slate– you can do anything you want with it. You add as much electricity as you think you’ll need, add shelving or add accessories like a man door or a window. 

    Here are some other upgrades or modifications to consider to make your shipping container garage the envy of your neighbors: 

    • Add insulation to your garage to control the temperature and protect the contents from condensation 
    • Install a few windows so you can get some natural sunlight and open them for some fresh air 
    • Make your garage secure by adding security lights right outside or installing cameras or motion detectors 
    • Buy some dehumidifiers for inside the garage to keep dampness away 
    • Install shelving and a workbench to create the ultimate workshop 
    • Consider adding flooring to make it look more finished or to make it easier to get vehicles or equipment in and out 

    Do you know anyone near you with a shipping container garage? Start the trend by following the above process to get your project started. Your new shipping container garage will be the talk of the neighborhood – in a good way! Begin browsing shipping containers near your here. 




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