Food Service Supplies and Equipment: Buying, Cleaning and Repairing

What to Consider When Buying a Shipping Container for Something Other Than Shipping

Shipping containers have become very popular in recent years for uses other than shipping; they can be used for storage, for an outside workroom, and even as a small home! Because shipping containers are so sturdy and durable, they can last for many years even after having traveled all over the world. Before you buy a shipping container for something other than shipping, you want to consider a few important features about the container itself and its use. Note the following.

1. As a small home

If you love the idea of a small home that you make yourself from a reused shipping container, remember that your home still needs to be up to code when it comes to electrical, plumbing, and the like. Some shipping containers have electrical wires run through them so they can provide power to heaters and coolers or inside generators while in transit, but this type of electrical system is rarely the proper type used in a home. Remember that you will usually need to make many adjustments and modifications to your shipping container before you can legally live in it, so be prepared for that added expense.

2. As a workroom

If you have a hobby for which you need some shelter but which cannot fit into your home's garage such as metalworking or restoring cars, a shipping container can be a good choice for an outside workroom. However, you might want to add a window or two so you don't feel so claustrophobic even if you leave the entry doors open. This can also help with air circulation so that you're safe from fumes, heat, and the like. Typically you would need to cut out an area of the container and have windows installed, so be prepared for this work and expense. An insulated container can also help to keep you warmer or cooler during inclement weather, so this might be a good investment.

3. For storage

Depending on what you plan on storing in the shipping container, consider an insulated container that can protect your goods during extreme weather conditions. Note that some older containers may have rust along the seams or connectors, so inspect these carefully before buying. This rust damage can allow in water, condensation, and even snow. If a container was used to transport furs or some type of chemical, the resultant smell might be absorbed by your stored materials. Only purchase a container that you've physically inspected before buying if you're not sure of its use history so you avoid this unpleasantness.