Shipping Container

TipLike most homesteaders, eventually you’ll discover you need to store your tools and other implements under cover, out of the weather. The standard solution in this area of the country is a pole barn. Right or wrong, I’ve never liked this solution. They aren’t much cheaper than a stick-built building and the idea of buried wooden posts and thin metal exterior siding always seemed a poor excuse for a permanent building.

As I was discussing the issue with a neighbor, he suggested I look into a used metal shipping container. You’ve probably seen these containers. They’re used to ship goods via ship, rail, and road. I looked online and found the most common sizes were 8’ wide by either 20’ or 40’ long. I located a salvage company about 30 minutes away and went to inspect their offerings. The containers varied in condition from rusted and used up to almost new. I was able to find two 40′ containers with solid floors and doors that were in good working order. The price, $2,000.00 each delivered to our property.

Shipping Container

Shipping Container - 640 Square Feet of Instant Storage

It’s Getting Cold Out

Since winter was quickly approaching, I decided to purchase some used railroad ties as a temporary foundation. The delivery truck arrived and the operator slid the containers off his flatbed while I used my tractor to position the railroad ties under the support beams of each container. It went very smoothly considering each of the containers weighed approximately 8,000 pounds. They are literally built like a tank with thick metal walls and welded seams. After applying a liberal application of lubricating spray to the hinges, I was ready to move in my tools and livestock feed. It was just that easy!

Bang For The Buck

So for slightly more than $4,000.00 I had 640 square feet of instant, secure, watertight storage. That’s $6.25 per square foot. And did I mention how stout these things are? I can even drive/park my compact tractor with loader inside one of these bad boys. I added some full-coverage locks made specifically for shipping containers to secure their contents.

Shipping Container - Concrete Pier Foundation

Shipping Container - Concrete Pier Foundation

A Permanent Foundation

As the weather warmed the following spring, I decided to place the two containers 24’ apart on square concrete piers. The piers would provide a solid foundation as well as attachment points to secure the containers against the Kansas winds. I’ll build some roof trusses to span between the two containers giving me even more covered parking. I could also add shed roof extensions to the outside of each container if desired. My wife has requested I paint my non-traditional barn a traditional barn red. How’s that for an instant barn raising?

Shipping Containers - Set 24' Apart

Shipping Containers - Set 24' Apart

Shipping Container Lock

Shipping Container Lock

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: I understand the prices have increased as people discovered how easy it is to re-purpose these containers for barns, hunting cabins, and even homes.

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