Shipping Container Home

I hear more people say they wouldn’t live in a Shipping Container Home than I hear do. But in reality what if you had no choice? Western society is used to being able to pick what they want since before I was born. Times are a changing however but at the same time people are still able to get a good standard of living without as much work as those in China for example.

I came across these photos of workers in China who do have a Shipping Container Home the boom times China are currently in means many people cannot afford housing but will take what is available often that is shipping containers on the edge of a construction site.

shipping container home china

The element of choice has been removed from the equation and not only that the shipping containers are in a sorry state as well. Although it does seem China hasn’t dealt with the housing crisis yet its going to keep hyper inflation affecting the economy until it does solve the problem.

shipping container home china

Can’t live in a shipping container home because its too small? Well imagine this setup where a 20ft shipping container is shared with at least 4 people does look rather grim.

shipping container home china

For the couples you get a whole 4 square meters of space as you can see here with migrant workers 35-year-old Jiang Zhirong with her 35-year-old husband Gong. But this is the problem we are now facing as reality is kicking in that people in China will put up with a real struggle that makes things in the West seem almost trivial in comparison. They suffer with elitism and corruption that affects their entire trade and markets while damaging ours due to the counterfeiting and companies moving East to save money.

shipping container home china

Thing is I do believe things can be done better and that China should be doing more for its workers homes like these below can be cheaply mass produced and its stacking system making it cost affective for workers by lowering the space needed such as below.

shipping container home china

Problem for the rest of us is China doesn’t seem to be slowing and although the West seems to think there is some miracle in propping everything up by a capitalist empire its proving that manufacturing and farming will always be the backbones of economies regardless what people tell you with a pin stripe suit and shiny shoes. Fuel prices keep going up and “worker homes” may eventually become a norm in some areas especially for large scale projects. I worked in construction nearly all my working life and have to admit I have no issue with living in a shipping container home and with the end of peak oil and things changing it may not be “choice” but demand that will make the final decisions in future.

Living In A Shipping Container–The Right Type Of People

the wrong crowd

The thing with shipping container homes is you will either get a “that’s cool” or you must be mad type of comment from the people around you. But myself I consider myself one of the right type of people for a shipping container home and I will explain why.

Initially through my first years of leaving school and struggling through college I was having to make do and maximise my cash flow sometimes would be a case of down to the last few pounds (UK money) and then buying something I could then sell later to make more money. Over the years this developed where I was cashing in my salary at the end of the week selling goods all weekend before putting money back in the bank on Monday.

This isn’t thrifty but it does go against the grain as we are told we should have the latest clothes, expensive car, nice house etc. the fact is everything is based around consumer spending and increasing personal debt. I will give a simple example of what I mean if you take a rawl plug its pushed on all the DIY shows as the way to hang a shelf etc but does anyone talk about a whittled piece of wood you just hammer in the hole and snap the head off? Something that is free, doesn’t damage the environment and most of the time actually does a better job due to a tighter fit? Of course not you go down to hardware store and buy the bits and pieces we are told are “right for the job”. The removing of thought from most things has been on going for some time.

Now for me I spend most of my life up and down financially as even when I was with my ex partner and having a great salary her expenditure was a struggle to control. We had the house, the car, 5 horses, ate out most of the time etc.

My salary then was around ten times greater than most of the people I knew from school and generally it was gone at the end of the month due to everything being on finance to keep up with my ex’s desire to compete with the neighbours. But here is what changed.

I left after a problem in the relationship and within the first month I had already saved nearly £3,000 even though was still burdened by debt left over from the relationship. How? because I didn’t eat out and if I did it was lunch time at work that meant my night time meal wasn’t a big curry take out but often was even skipped if not something simple. I began cooking more and at the same time because I had regained my financial control I started to use my remainder at the end of the month for paying off huge chunks of debt instead of thinking “hey lets party!”.

I began to get debt free to the point where I am today living in a completely debt free environment on the other side of the world in the Philippines. If anything I have learned we don’t need most of the stuff we are told are “essential” or this years big item! Even in the U.S. people are waking up to the fact they are sold lies daily and the American dream has changed including the idealism of consumerism. They have realised the last iPhone didn’t enhance their lives so generally don’t buy the new mobile because its irrelevant except as a fashion accessory. That’s all part and parcel of living in a shipping container because its not about “getting by” but actually taking control of your life.

Here in the Philippines Christmas is celebrated by church masses and giving food to neighbours the giving of presents is something being leaked in from the U.S. but thank god most people haven’t bought into it. Personally I actually tell people not to buy me gifts but instead save their money. Not because I am too tight to buy for others but simply most of the time people buy stuff for each other they neither need or want. I would rather someone took the cash and paid off a bit of their credit card because that’s a Christmas gift that keeps giving and not only makes me happy but also helps them get debt free.

This is how it gets on to the right type of people for Shipping container homes as its often down to what people want and need in life. There has been a lot of interest in the single mother living in a shipping container home she built for less than $4,000 but in reality it was her financial restraints that led her into this type of life. For others its being environmental,minimalistic or wanting control of their own lives. For me its a case of minimalist living and being debt free while achieving home ownership. Its not for everyone which is why people either get it or don’t.

 

Cutting a shipping container opening

First safety tip of the day is be aware that the metal is heavy and your unlikely to know how heavy unless you have either lifted a precut piece or have just cut it out and now realize its heavier than you thought. Would advise when cutting to make sure you organize things so it falls the right way as well as make sure nobody can wander in the way. When moving parts its worth getting another pair of hands to help rather than struggle.

When cutting always try to cut from the outside either by using a plasma cutter or as I have seen several people use an angle grinder. This allows the fumes to escape rather than build up which is what would happen if you worked inside. Would also advise wearing a mask as you don’t know the content of the paint and removal of floor prior to cutting. If using a disc cutter of any kind make sure your working in an area that doesn’t have passers by due to the risk of sparking as well as broken parts of disc flying off. Always wear eye protection.

Plasma cutter will rank above using a disc cutter because of its ease of cutting once setup.Adding metal tubes etc as straight edges as a guide will glide you through the motion of cutting the steel. The time saved especially if working in extreme hot or cold conditions is phenomenal over using a disc cutter but if you have the time and a tight budget would go with the disc cutter unless you can get a rental of a plasma cutter. Bit of an expensive tool to buy for a one off job. Remove the floor in advance of cutting its generally full of pesticides and of no use in a container home, check you have everything it needs as some require a combination of compressor as well as a specialist outlet all can be hired or bought but best to ask while at the store. Be aware there is a potential of fire so be cautious of your surroundings no point cutting on some dried grass on a field for example unless you fancy making the evenings TV report. When your cutting get on with it the tips will burn quickly and are expensive so utilize them as much as possible. You will get hot pieces fall away and this is why you need to make sure there is no hazard that could start a fire from the heat. One of the most important things as a final note is always work in pairs, you could be cutting and not see the potential of a fire breaking out behind you as pieces drop concentrating on the job at hand, you are at risk of falling steel plate and at the same time everything such as measuring is easier with two as your doing a lot of vertical work so if clamping things down for a straight edge to cut having a guy on the top while your lining up the bottom means you end up clamping things a lot easier saving you time and making sure the measurements are correct. Measure twice cut once is the golden rule.

Shipping Container Mobile Library

Shipping container mobile library

I remember the mobile libraries in my childhood and to be honest in locations that struggle for access to libraries it makes a lot of sense. This converted shipping container was conceived to support local Dutch schools that either couldn’t afford or didn’t have space for their own libraries. The BiebBus can pull up and raise its upper deck creating a kid safe environment that is also interesting and entertaining to the kids. Big lights, see through flooring all make it somewhere kids want to go and learn.

The library although packed with books it also has 4 computer terminals as well. Modern technology replacing an old community service thanks to Architect Jord Den Hollander who came up with the idea of raising the container outer shell as a reading room above while the main library remained below.

The reading room offers up a floor with magnifying glass that make the kids look huge from below at the same time its beanbags and round windows give the kids somewhere to sit and read.

Shipping container mobile library

Shipping container mobile library Shipping container mobile library Shipping container mobile library sketch