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Can You Live In A Shipping Container?

Posted on April 10, 2020 by Garrett Crocker

Can you live in a shipping container? What things do you need to think about when considering this particular living arrangement?

There are generally two overarching concerns before one decides to make the move into shipping container living: the personal and the legal.

The personal: What does one need in a living space in order to be happy?

The legal: Are there appropriate zoning and housing laws — plus the infrastructure — to make your shipping container home habitable for the long term?

Let’s take these concerns one at a time.

Living In A Shipping Container: The Personal

Living in a shipping container represents a sacrifice — but one that’s borne from a sense of adventure.

The first thing that one must consider is whether or not inhabiting limited space is an attractive lifestyle choice. Plus, there is the fact that many shipping container homes are located away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Are you prepared for the possibility that you may not appreciate isolated living as much as you thought you would? 

Of course, more and more cities are allowing for the design and construction of shipping container communities. If you happen to live in one of these cities, then you won’t have to worry so much about that sense of isolation. You will, however, have something new to deal with: crowds! (Along with a small living space.)


What else? There is a certain style of living that is best complemented by shipping container homes: individual and minimalist. This is why so many people are drawn to the simplicity of downsizing into a shipping container home.

Make no mistake: One can craft a lifestyle of one’s choice when living in a shipping container. But it is nevertheless true that most of the things one takes for granted in modern living may have to be downsized in a container home.

As we’ve examined elsewhere in the Container Stop blog, there are several things in addition to the small space that may be considered cons of shipping container living. (Naturally, we think the pros outweigh the cons, but it’s important to have all the information so that you can make an informed decision on whether shipping container life is for you.)

Shipping Container Home Cons

  • You’ll need insulation. Depending on your location, without adequate insulation, your shipping container may become unsuitably hot in the summer and unbearably cold in the winter.
  • It can get noisy. Containers amplify sounds, so you may want to soundproof the container.
  • The potential for high set-up costs. To make them livable, you’ll have to add the basics yourself — electricity, plumbing, windows, sliding glass doors — not to mention any so-called luxuries, such as carpeting and furniture. Container Stop can help with many of the basics. Get in touch today!
  • Health hazards. Containers can be of uncertain origin. To avoid potential hazardous materials, such as lead, remember to partner with reputable companies like Container Stop.

Living In A Shipping Container: The Legal

This is another topic we’ve covered on the Container Stop blog. What are some of the legalities that one must consider when looking at a shipping container house?

As we wrote in our “Can I Put A Shipping Container On My Land?” blog post, “Although we like to think that our properties are ours to do as we please, there are local, state, and federal regulations that we all must adhere to. Beyond that, there are often neighborhood regulations, as well as homeowners associations (HOA) that all have a say in whether or not you can have a shipping container home on your property.”

We recommend doing a little research into the local laws and regulations regarding container homes in your area. If possible, hire an attorney to help you sort through the thicket of property zoning rules, building codes and permits, property inspections, and more.


You’ll also want to pay close attention to laws regarding shipping container modifications. You want to make your home as comfortable as possible for yourself. But in order to do so, you’ll need to know what your local authorities require. The last thing you want to deal with is having to redo something because a building inspection determined you haven’t stayed up to code.

Educate yourself as well on the deed restrictions to your property. No sense in constructing a super fantastic container home on a permanent foundation in a place where it’s not allowed. Once your home is built, you want to live there, not fight for its existence!

Finally, you’ll need permits for electrical work, plumbing work, and other construction add-ons.

Container Stop

All of this may sound daunting. Don’t let it get you down!

Lots of people have discovered the joy of eco-friendly alternative living spaces. Maybe even some of your friends and family have moved into a tiny home or had someone like Container Stop build container homes for them!

In fact, many people have constructed custom homes and vacation residences out of shipping containers. So if you’re not sure if full-time, tiny-house real estate living is for you, consider a part-time residence instead!

And be sure to contact Container Stop with any questions. Our service area continues to grow, and we look forward to expanding our operations into your neck of the woods.

Our Box, Your Dream!

We’ve built cabins, garden sheds, and tack rooms with our containers. Have an idea for your shipping container? Let us know!

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