You know you need a lot of dry, safe storage, but just how much is enough?  Ask yourself these questions and you’ll know:

1)      How much stuff do you have? Size up what you actually need to store.  The most common sizes of containers are :

20’ - 20’ x 8’ x 8’6” – or 1,169 cubic feet

40’ standard - 40’ x 8’ x 8’6” – or 2,385 cubic feet

40’ high cube - 40’ x 8’ x 9’6” – or 2,690 cubic feet

High cubes are nice if you are thinking about living in a container.  The internal height of a standard container is 7’8.5”, and a high cube is 8’8.5”.  Over time, you will feel that height difference.

Do one of these seem like enough to fit what you have?  If not, think about specialty sizes, but keep in mind that the cost on those containers adds up – bigger, more specialized trucks are required to deliver them and they may have to come from further away.

2)      Are you going to move the container around? If the answer to this is yes, think small.  A 20’ container weighs 5,000 pounds when it is empty, but is still small enough and light enough to be mobile.  20’ containers can be moved on a variety of trucks and even when they are full, can be moved by very heavy duty forklifts.

40' container on a truck
40' container on a truck
Used 20'
Used 20'

Once you jump up to a 40’ container, you will need a larger truck for moving it and when they are full, you will need a crane to lift the container on and off the truck.  Cranes mean money.  So even if you need the space of 40’s, think about 20’s.

3)       Are you going to ship the container overseas? If yes, even though the container is moving around, think about the 40’ or the 40’ high cube.  Usually there is a minimal extra cost to the larger size and you get to send more per cubic foot.  However, the delivery issues listed above still apply.  To get around this, most freight forwarders will pick up your container from a depot, bring it to you for loading, you load it while it stays on the truck, then they deliver it to the rail or port to ship.

4)      Do you have enough space to accommodate the size you want? Containers are delivered on tilt-bed trucks when you ask for ground-level delivery.  This means that the truck will back into the spot you want the container.  The back of the truck tips down and there is a winch on the truck to lower the container off of the bed of the truck and start setting it on the ground.  Then the driver pulls forward and finished setting the container on the ground with the winch.  All of this works beautifully – if you have enough space.  For a 40’ container, you will generally need 110-120’ of a straight, relatively flat area.  For a 20’ – 100’.  And don’t forget that the truck has to get to that spot.  Make sure you think about how the driver will pull in and pull out of your site.  Think about how firm and flat the ground is because delivering a container involves more physics than driving a truck across a ground.

Used 45' container
Used 45' container

5)      Do you still need more or less space? If you need more space, there are larger containers – 45’, 48’ and 53’ containers.  They are not available in all markets and require larger trucks than 40’s, so be prepared for additional costs.

If you need less space, containers can be cut down for an additional fee.  Generally this process will add an extra $2000 dollars and the containers will still be delivered on the same truck.

If course this won’t answer everyone’s question on sizes.  Give us a call if you want to discuss it further!

10' with roll door added
10' with roll door added