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Are Shipping Containers Good for Storage? Pros & Cons Revealed

Posted by Public Storage on January 16, 2024

Shipping containers have become a popular choice for individuals and businesses alike, especially those in dire need of extra storage space. Their robust build and versatility make them an appealing option. That’s why thousands of companies around the world trust these sturdy corrugated metal boxes to make it at sea, sending them out on massive cargo ships every single day. 


But you have to wonder, are shipping containers good for storage? Let’s weigh up some pros and cons before you decide to purchase or rent a shipping container for self storage.


Is a Shipping Container a Good Idea for Self Storage?

inspecting a shipping container for self storage

Yes, shipping containers are especially great for tradespeople and small business owners looking for secure storage. These affordable storage spaces are often used by businesses to store their tools, equipment, and machinery.  They have also become a convenient solution for households needing secure and accessible storage for big moves. Using a shipping container for storage has several benefits and drawbacks:


Durable & Secure

Made of thick corrugated steel, shipping containers are incredibly durable and secure. Their steel construction makes them weatherproof, protecting contents from external elements like rain, wind, and snow. Their lockable doors safeguard your possessions from theft and vandalism. These steel containers are designed to withstand long voyages across the ocean, so your stuff will be safe! As long as the steel integrity remains intact without dents or damage, external threats like moisture have little impact inside.


The empty canvas of space within a shipping container allows for plenty of customisations. Need shelves for organised storage? Want electricity for tools or lighting? No problem! Containers can be easily modified to suit your specific storage needs. Maximise the storage potential by having racks built to suit whatever you need — pallet racking for large inventory or compact shelving for boxes and supplies. 


Whether you’re a tradesman looking to create a mobile workshop or a homeowner organising seasonal items, the flexibility of a shipping container is a game-changer. And if your storage needs evolve, getting more space is as simple as hiring another container.


One of the best features of containers is their portability. Forklifts and other special equipment can easily transport them wherever they need. This allows you to relocate your entire storage solution to a new site. If your business or living situation changes, you can take your storage with you. Moving your storage container with ease adds an extra layer of convenience to your space needs.


Compared to building a storage structure, purchasing or renting shipping containers for self storage is highly affordable. Traditional construction projects for more storage space can be expensive and time-consuming. So if you need an inexpensive storage solution quickly, repurposed shipping containers provide decent space at a fraction of the price of permanent buildings.


Not Temperature Controlled 

One major drawback of shipping containers is their lack of temperature control or insulation. While these containers excel at providing a secure and weatherproof environment, they do not regulate temperature. This can be problematic for temperature-sensitive items, like electronics, documents, artwork, wine collections, and delicate electronics. 


If preserving your possessions within a stable temperature range is crucial, external shipping containers would not be an advisable storage method. Internal units often come with better temperature controls and are less affected by the weather, guaranteeing your items are protected from the adverse effects of heat or cold.

Limited Sizes

Shipping containers come in standardised sizes, and while this uniformity is great for certain purposes, it can be an unwanted limitation. 


If you’d prefer a size customised to your business’ specific needs, you’re more likely to find what you need at a self storage facility, as they tend to have a wide range of unit sizes. Their buildings offer more flexibility to change unit sizes easily in case your space needs change suddenly or gradually over time.


How To Use a Shipping Container for Storage? 

installing shelves in their shipping container

So, you’ve decided to try out shipping containers for self storage — an excellent choice! Here’s how to make the most out of this storage option.

Customise the Interior

  • Think about installing wall-mounted shelves. These tools help organise your items and maximise precious floor space. Whether it’s tools, boxes, or other belongings, wall-mounted shelves provide a neat and efficient way to store items of varying sizes.
  • For larger or irregularly shaped objects, cargo racks are your ideal. These adjustable storage racks can be customised to fit your specific needs. Whether it’s a lawnmower, power tools, or sporting equipment, cargo racks ensure that everything has its designated spot, making it easy to locate and access your belongings when needed.
  • A plastic bin rack can be a game-changer when it comes to small items or loose odds and ends. The rack system lets you make the most of your vertical space, turning your shipping container into an organised wonder!

Organising & Storing Belongings

  • Effective organisation starts with categorisation. Group similar items together to form a systematic storage layout. Knowing where everything is will save you time and effort in the long run, whether it’s tools, seasonal decorations, or household items.
  • Packing is an art, especially in a limited space like a shipping container. Use boxes, containers, and storage bags to make sure items are packed securely and properly. 

Safety & Security

  • Security is critical when using a shipping container for your storage purposes. Make sure that you invest in sturdy locks for the container doors. A potent lock acts as a decent barrier to potential thieves and allows you to sleep easier at night, knowing your belongings are safe under lock and key.
  • If your shipping container is located on a property with multiple users, it’s in your best interest to set up clear guidelines for access. Limiting access to only those authorised to be there reduces the risk of theft or damage to your stored items. We recommend using a sign-in and sign-out system.

Where To Find the Best Shipping Container Storage in Ireland 

A Wm. O’Brien Self Storage Shipping Container

If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and decided a shipping container is a good fit for your storage needs, the next step is to find a high-quality supplier. Find yourself a company offering BOTH shipping containers and on-site self storage units.


Wm. O’Brien Self Storage provides the best of both worlds when it comes to protecting your possessions. For climate-sensitive goods or larger storage volumes, use our indoor self storage facilities. Our easy-access units protect your stuff in an easily-accessible and highly secure manner.


With business and personal storage offerings, we make self storage simple. Get in touch today with Ireland’s best storage experts to discuss the most practical storage options to meet your specific needs.


Call us on (0818) 001 090 today!