I’m a bit bias in this because I am used to hotel working as a contractor, being able to fit everything into a bag or a suitcase is normal and with container homes its also getting into the same realms. But then I start looking at projects around the home as my type of work changed from hands on to a laptop and meetings. In reality the woodworking and other tools I collected are pretty much just gathering dust in the garage of my parents. Over £10,000 of equipment that aren’t even seeing regular maintenance never mind usage.
For the home they will never be needed again but it gets me to the DIY issues that crop up where people head down to the hardware store at the weekends to get all the bits and pieces to do a simple job. Talking to them they will say they can’t afford a professional yet what they have been buying says otherwise. The tools will often only be used once and the job never completed to a professional manner. If it is that normally means its taken longer than it should, in reality people exchange weekends for repairs. The best example I seen was the head of a university I was at when his kettle broke. He had started to repair it when he suddenly just threw it in the bin and got one ordered for next day delivery with our usual supplier of other goods. Why? Because his hourly rate was £50 per hour and its going to take him an hour to fix the kettle by the time he stripped it down, fixed it and put it back together again. Whilst buying a brand new kettle was less than £20 and at least it should work for another year or more.
This gets back to the argument of giving up weekends as time with friends and family are precious. We work hard all week why should we be taking up our time under the sink or repairing something else? A professional can come in and get the job done in half the time and although not going to be cheap it ma work out to save a lot of time in the long run and if done properly money as well.
Doesn’t mean don’t have a woodworking shed or some other hobby it just means if you are going to go to the hassles and cost of buying machinery and tools make sure your really going to use them. Otherwise its a waste of money,time and space. All in all its how most people live these days with a lot of stuff around them they hardly use. Even if not considering a shipping container home I bet there is plenty of things you could de-clutter your house with and benefit from it.
The world changed from being social to being more in a bubble, I don’t call Facebook or Twitter being social its text across the airwaves its not sitting in a library with real people or going to a local pub with friends. Its isolation in the modern age where people banter about the little things in life generally that most people aren’t interested in. Real social engagement seems to be unfashionable for many yet for humans it is normal. Shipping container villages have probably got more going for them in a community sense than most streets these days. If we look at caravans and trailer communities the bonds between people are a lot better than most neighbourhoods. One of these aspects is that limited space makes people spend time outside with others. Sitting on the porch talking to neighbours, community group meetings, children playing together many of these things have been removed from general society. Not all to do with what people live in but how things are built and how people interact.
When looking to buy a Shipping Container for property use of some description the first issues should be what planning issues you may hit. In many cases the regulations don’t interfere with shipping containers as they are seen as “temporary buildings”. I know someone who has a huge shed which has only two restrictions which were height and square metre size “per year”. This meant that although he couldn’t go any higher than one level he has literally built to his maximum square metre limit every year for the last 10 years giving him a workshop that covers at least 800sqm of floor space more than he will ever need. At the same time due to the type of work he did it also suited him as the majority of materials were recovered from replacements on roofs of properties he was repairing that the owners were just glad to see the end of.
Now if your unsure or thinking your going to struggle hit the car and head round looking for people in your area and maybe ask in places like Yahoo answers about “city building codes” in your areas. The reason for this is if you can find people who have already done it you can find out how they got round the problem. Often it can be a green city engineer involved who can help push the idea and get it passed. Before I submit any paperwork for requirements I normally sketch up some rough plans and invite those who are likely to oppose the idea to come and view the location and talk about it as well as show them how it won’t become an eye sore to the area but actually enhance it.
Once your sure the planning isn’t going to be an issue its time to start hunting a container down. Ports may be the obvious way to find a container but what about searching for hauliers in the area? For example one near my parents delivers wine to a warehouse everyday but the containers leave empty back to port. This means there is a good chance you can cut a deal on the container delivered to your door if they have a spare one available saving on the commuting costs as you will hopefully only be paying for the container plus the delivery cost from when its unloaded at the yard if anything.
Classified ads are another place to find containers but often you will come across containers that don’t have any way of being loaded which means you have the expense of loading and unloading which is fine if you can locate equipment near both locations to do it or negotiate that loading is the sellers problem. Often though in the classifieds you can find shipping containers for free because they may have been put in location for a tool shed for example while an office complex or house was built and now its in the way, which is why it may pay to get one of these especially near the end of a construction job as there may be a JCB or other machinery that can lift it already on site and a quick £20 in the drivers pocket and your loaded.
As I sit and see that people talk of a second recession when in fact they just mean all those billions thrown at trying to fix a problem by “spending their way” out of debt surprisingly hasn’t worked (touch of sarcasm). Then we have not only entered a long recession but also the fact it was magnified by throwing away the spare capital we had to bail out banks that quite literally couldn’t care less about anything or anyone but themselves.
But at the same time the end of Mc Mansion construction is a blessing if nothing else came out of the recession. Oversized, poor quality and simply just not needed. These homes were just a figure of how out of control the housing market became in the U.S. but just as much I remember in my parents town a public toilet is now a small 1 bedroom apartment worth £100,000 and not only was it a toilet it backs onto a cemetery two bonus features in one overpriced property. Not going all environmental here by the way as people lost a fortune on property at the same time I can’t believe people were being encouraged to get into this much debt in every direction with the “market can only go up” mentality. Which as we well know history tells us otherwise time and time again. It was simply a case of consumerism gone mad as well as speculation as people bought more homes on the back of the fact the market will go up and that they could sell multiple homes as surely there are buyers out there somewhere (we just haven’t seen them).
Consumerism always ends up like this a pile of excess hitting landfills everywhere yet I agree choice and consumerism is great its just the fact people are buying so much stuff they simply never use, don’t need and often don’t know why they bought it except for materialistic value.
Moving on to shipping container homes though it could be the only safe bet in the current economic climate. They can have a low floor area meaning cheaper land taxes, easy to construct, readily available shipping container stocks in many parts of many countries and on top of all that you can do it as you can afford it keeping away from any debt from the bank. Building your own home especially now that the banks aren’t keen to loan could be the only option and using shipping containers could be the most viable. For us we are currently looking at going back to the UK shortly and I will be looking into the issues of construction there for our first family home as we can build it on weekends, complete the first 40ft container so we have beds,toilet area, kitchen etc. while we add more units to the shipping container home. Being able to stack also means we can buy a low amount of land and utilize several levels wasting no money. All part of why shipping containers homes are so viable.
One of the big advantages people forget when looking at off grid shipping container homes is that they are ideal for weekend retreats. In our day and age where we are driven by workload and technology the great outdoors is something often observed through a window be it a car or a home. Yet we are surrounded by nature, heading up to a shipping container home that is nestled away from the day to day burdens of life open up a space that is switched off to most technology and somewhere that builds a family space. An environment for children to get in touch with nature while the parents are able to not only function as a family but also a couple.
A shipping container off grid home may be a savior of many marriages in the world of hectic lifestyles that most people seem to have these days. I remember the “run to the sun” in the UK as the weekend hit there was only one thought not overtime for the weekend but getting on route to the south coast for the weekend. Back then there was no thought of a retreat but simply crashing out in the car or using a tent depending on the weather. The main thing though is that those things got forgotten as the years went on and part of the reason the relationship I was in then dissolved as city working took over and my now ex’s interest went into owning horses and suddenly we were more like ships passing in the night than anything else.
Bit of a warning to others as well as myself that getting away for the weekend is not only healthy and enjoyable but a part of life we need to reinstate and get our work lives in balance.