Our Storage Solution

This will be home sweet home while we build our new house.

This will be home sweet home while we build our new house.

We will be living in our camping trailer for two years while we build our new home on our future homestead.  As most of you know, there isn’t a lot of storage in a trailer.  We could rent a storage space for our furniture and household items, but that just seemed inconvenient since there will be times we need items that are in storage, and the nearest storage rentals are at least 45 minutes from our property.  It can also be costly.  Sheesh…  we could buy all new furniture for the price it would take to store it for a couple of years!

Then we saw a cargo shipping container that our dear neighbors Linda and Charles had delivered to their property and knew immediately that this was a perfect solution to our storage issues. After some investigating, we found that we could have one delivered to our property for about $2,400 all in.  It used to cost a lot less just a few years ago, but lately the  price of these containers have gone up because of demand. Here in California, lots of pot growers use the containers as sleeping quarters for their “trimmers” or drying sheds for their “crop”.

When our home is built and all of our furniture and household items have been moved from the container into the new house, we can then store our wood chipper/shredder, log splitter, shop tools, etc., in the cargo container.

Of course, if the zombie apocalypse happens anytime soon, we could also use it as a safe room! 😀

Cargo Container Storage Solution

This spot was fairly level, almost always shady, and had only a few trees that needed to be removed.

Before we had the container delivered, we needed to prepare a level place to put it!  It needed to be near the orchard, tool shed and our travel trailer, so we found a spot under tall pine, oak and fir trees that will shade the container, yet was fairly level.

The first order of business was to cut down a few small trees and remove the stumps.  Whew – easier said than done.  Beside the fact that all woodcutting was supposed to be done before 11AM (restrictions placed by CalFire because of high fire danger), we happened to be in the middle of a major heat wave for the first couple of weekends we worked.  So, we cut down the trees, then futher cut them into 18-ish inch long pieces for firewood before 11 AM, then spent the rest of the day bucking brush and stacking the firewood.

Shipping Container Storage Solution

Old stumps were broken up with a pick and axe, later to be ground up into mulch.

After all of the stumps were out and the ground had been raked fairly level (we did everything by hand with pick axe, shovel and rake!) it was time to define the landing pad for our cargo container.  The four corners were staked and extra dirt was brought in to level out the low spots. We used landscape timbers reinforced with rebar for the walls and filled the low spots with dirt from the high spots. This is the same technique Ray used when he built the retaining walls with landscape timbers where our travel trailer now sits.  If you would like to see how a retaining wall can be built with landscape timbers, check out this post HERE. Since we got the landscape timbers pretty cheap (on sale at Home Depot at $1.49 each – we bought a pallet!), in the end, the whole project ended up requiring a lot more muscle than money.  You should see my biceps!

I had to show this picture of Louie, our neighbor's dog. It was so hot when we were constructing the pad for the cargo container, that he would lay in each hole we dug around the stumps to remove them, so that he could absorb the cool earth.  Smart dog!

I had to show this picture of Louie, our neighbor’s dog. It was so hot when we were constructing the pad for the cargo container, that he would lay in each hole as we dug around the stumps to remove them, so that he could absorb the cool earth. Smart dog!

Cargo Container storage

The landscape timbers being installed.

We set three concrete blocks (six at the lowest corner) into each of the four corners.  This is what the cargo container corners will sit on.  Rebar was pounded about two feet into the ground and concrete was poured into the holes, holding in the rebar and reinforcing the blocks.  The cargo container weighs about 5,700 pounds empty, so we wanted to beef up the landing pad as much as possible.

Using a cargo container as storage

Concrete pads in, retaining walls up, dirt level… Ready for some gravel rock!

Cargo Container Storage

There’s Louie again on the cool rock. It sure was a hot summer! After the rock was raked level, we were ready to have the cargo container delivered! Yippee!

Then came the rock.  Ray hired an independent contactor (he was retired, but had his own dump truck and worked when he needed extra money) who brought up ten yards of road base gravel for a very reasonable price. He said he would bring us a “fat load” and he certainly did!  We ended up with a lot more rock than we anticipated, so we used the extra to begin rocking our driveway.  Our county will not issue building permits until the road to the build site is at least twelve feet wide, cleared fifteen feet high, and completely rocked, so with this extra gravel, we are actually on our way to getting our building permit!

Well…  sort of! 😉

Large Storage Solution using Cargo Shipping Container

It wasn’t easy for the driver to get his rig turned around and backed into the spot we had prepared, but eventually he did, and placed it exactly where we wanted it to be!

The day for delivery of the cargo container finally arrived last week.  We were so excited! The delivery driver had a bit of a tough time getting turned around so he could back into the site, but once he did, the container slid right into place.  Perfect!

We didn’t waste any time getting some things into the container.  As we are preparing our home in the valley to sell, we are trying to “de-clutter” and so we already have a few truckloads to fill into the container.  Once the house is sold, we will bring up the rest of the furniture we are keeping for the new house, and selling off all the rest!Shipping Container for storage

We are so excited that the time is getting nearer for us to move up to our future homestead and start building our new home.  As I look at the house plans, I can’t help but dream about our future.  I hate to admit it, but I have already named all of my chickens (Beulah, Melba, Phyllis and Pearl), though I don’t have them yet and the coop is still only a plan on paper!

Ah well, a girl can dream, can’t she?




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32 thoughts on “Our Storage Solution

  1. oh so exciting!! you guys are getting closer and closer and I know you must be nervous and excited and thrilled! Guess you need to get that guy to bring a few more fat loads and get that road built! Awesome idea to use the shipping container, especially since it can have so many uses (zombies included).

    • Yes! Yes! So exciting! This is why I have been a bit MIA lately – so many things to do to sell the house we are in right now, prepare the future homestead, getting our house plans set, etc.. Right right now there just aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with my blogging. That’s okay, however, because moving up to the homestead is what my blog is all about!

    • Thanks, Ken. So… when are you guys going to come up and see it?? Besides, I think it’s time for another trail ride, don’t you? 🙂

    • Whew – let me tell ya – it was hot! We are actually a bit proud of our storage container, and it will certainly be useful! Thanks for stopping by, Deb!

    • It really is a great idea – but it wasn’t ours! Hahaha. It’s amazing how popular the cargo containers have become! People are making them into houses, barns, underground bomb shelters and swimming pools, so the increased demand is driving up the price. But – we have ours now! Thanks for dropping in!

  2. Great solution for storage! Though I think I’d rather get eaten by zombies than have to live in a shipping container! Happy building on your new place, and thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!


    • I seriously don’t think it will feel real until our house is sold, my husband actually retires, and we are living in our little camp trailer on the property. But – we are getting closer!

  3. Wow. Building a homestead is always so exciting!
    Our little (little?) homestead is the plot of land originally homesteaded to my husbands family when the territory was established. It’s always a work in progress, and it’s interesting to find things our ancestors used over a hundred years ago. I can’t imagine starting from scratch.
    Oh, we named a few of our chickens too 🙂 . Just finished the new “Cluckdominium.” Had so much enjoyment doing it and am sure you guys will too.

    • How wonderful that you have personal history on your homestead! That is just too cool. Starting from scratch has been hard, but we have been working the property for 8 years now, so it’s fun to look back at where we started. That is the main reason for my blog – to keep a journal of our progress. Now that we are getting close to actually think about building the house, we are a bit more anxious, nervous and stressed, but excited and hopeful at the same time! Sometimes I don’t know whether I should be laughing or crying. I loved your post about daddy homeschooling – it brought back a flood of memories of when my kids were little! Have a great weekend, Deborah!

      • 8 years? Wow. It’s so exciting to peak in and see your progress. With your goal in mind, did you know you can get your blog published? Yes, if you’re doing it as a journal, you can publish a little book for yourself when you’re done–as if you will ever be done 🙂 .
        I’m rooting for you in your exciting journey.

        • Thanks, Deborah, for your encouragement! I didn’t know you could publish a blog into a book! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

    • Haha – yes, I think some people thought we were nuts, but it was the best solution for us! I just saw the cutest craft cottage on pinterest. A lady had one of these cargo containers put in her backyard (they had access through an alley) and she put in shelves and tables and decorated it into her little craft cottage! I think you should just go ahead and get yours! Thanks for visiting today, Elena!

  4. Great idea for a storage shed. I laughed when I read about the names for your chickens. My husband, a city boy, once asked me what the difference was between our hens and chickens we eat. I told him that the difference was that our hens had names. When he looked at me and told me he wasn’t kidding, I told him I wasn’t either. Who wants to eat Henery noodle soup?

    • Oh so true! Henery noodle soup – hahaha! When we raise meat chickens, I don’t plan to name them because then that would make them more like pets! At least the laying hens will be around for a few years! I love your latest post with all the fun and nutritious halloween food – that vegetable stick skeleton is so cute! Have a wonderful weekend, Patty!

  5. My in-laws live out in the country and had the same issues as you. They ended up buying a storage container for their land, and they love it! It’s the perfect solution (as I’m sure you’ve discovered) because everything stays nice, dry and cool in there.

    Thanks for sharing on Hump Day Happenings!

    • Yes, it should stay pretty cool because we have it parked under trees. But when it was on the lot in full sun – whew – it was like an oven! So far we are very pleased with our purchase. Have a great day, Megan!

  6. Shipping Containers – perfect solution for transporting goods, long term storage or zombie apocalypse safe room. disclaimer: Stocking appropriately for apocalypse events not included. 😀
    Glad it worked so well for your storage needs and hopefully you won’t need to use it as a safe room.

    • Yeah – zombie apocalypse events notwithstanding – this is one strong storage container! I just hope everything will fit in! Thanks for your comment Stella Lee. I slipped over to your blog and read about the wonderful sounding dark chocolate and cherry lip balm. Mmmmm….

  7. I agree Vickie, this is a much smarter idea than a storage unit. Especially if you live that far away from one. What a fun thing, to be building your home on your property! Can’t wait to see each stage!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  8. Wow, you have been working so hard and consistently…8 years is a lot of planning happening.
    Great list for the blog party too, thank you
    Alexa blogging from Sydney, Australia

    • Yes, we have been working hard, but it seems we have been hardly working! I know that sounds strange, but when we are up on our future homestead, we are so in love with the land that even though we go to bed dog tired, we are extremely happy.

  9. I am just now joining you on our journey to being a homesteader! How awesome! We are working towards getting out on our “homestead” too. Right now, we are in the middle of building a tractor shed. My husband talked to someone who is selling Quonset huts. We have also looked at storage containers for storage as well, but for now, our tractor shed will be the start. This is a great investment for your homestead! Love the pad that you created to set it on. Looks marvelous!

    • As you know, when you need storage, it really doesn’t matter how you get it! In our case, we were looking for something that wouldn’t leak and could be locked tight. Your tractor shed sounds like a winner! Give Annie a hug for me!

  10. Oh how exciting! Y’all are about the take the plunge!!! The container is a great idea. I’ve never thought about that and assumed it would cost more. I saw on the stevia post that you are making the house “presentable” to sale….replacing garden with lawn and all. How sad, that it is more marketable that way. I wish you luck living the dream.


    • Thank you so much, Ann. Coming from you, one who has been “there” and is striving for the same thing, your good wishes mean so much! I can’t wait for the day when we are both happily settled on our homesteads. The dream lives!