Using A Shipping Container As Temporary Storage While Renovating


If you’re undertaking a substantial renovation, what do you do with your stuff if you don’t have room in the parts of your house that are still habitable? Sometimes it’s impractical to rent a storage unit because you might need easy access to items. A shipping container is an option if you have a front yard you can put it in.

Advantages of Using a Shipping Container for Storage


Security: Shipping containers are made of steel and are robust. With a decent padlock, they can protect your belongings from theft and vandalism.

Durability: They are designed to withstand the rigors of long-distance transportation. They are generally weather-resistant and can handle a wide range of environmental conditions.

Mobility: If you need to move your storage to a different location, shipping containers can be easily transported using a truck.

Size versatility: You can get them in 10-, 20-, 40- and 45-foot lengths, and they are 2.5m wide.



You would rent a shipping container for short term (usually under 4-6 months), or buy a second hand one then sell it when you’ve finished if it’ll be a longer renovation.

You’ll need the right amount of space, and you’ll also want to check whether there are zoning restrictions – some local authorities won’t let you put a shipping container in your front yard.

Check the condition is fine. They are used at sea so eventually rust.

If you can get one with side access rather than just one end, they are much more flexible.

Even expensive padlocks won’t infinitely resist an angle grinder. You might want to consider other security measures, too.

There’s no climate control like you might get in a storage unit, so you won’t want to store items that might damage easily through heat, humidity or cold.

You will need to talk to your insurance company to extend your cover to the container; they may have some limitations or a higher excess/deductible.


Shipping containers will be delivered by either a truck with a truck loader crane, or a sideloader or side lifter and you’ll need to factor in these costs. Drivers have to do side lifter training to understand the risks of container loading and transportation. Things that might make it impossible for them to deliver are:

  • Soft ground – the stabiliser legs sink into the ground, which can cause the vehicle to roll over
  • Overhead obstructions such as powerlines and trees
  • Poor access – not enough space to reverse the trailer or truck into your yard
  • Sloping ground – side loaders are very sensitive to picking up and dropping containers on sloping ground because of the two suspension points between the crane arms. A truck loader crane is a better option.
  • High winds make it unsafe to unload a container due to the swing it causes.


What else can you use a container for?

Sometimes, a container is more useful to securely store tools and supplies. If your workers spend a long time unloading and loading gear into their vehicles at the beginning and end of the day, would the cost of a shipping container for a few dollars a day mean that your site productivity is much better?

Ultimately, a container needs to make your life easier, or make the money work for you. Perhaps you might even need two!