Should You Rent a Storage Container or Build a Shed? | Pro & Cons


Padlock on Green Container

Which is the best option for storing inventory, valuable equipment, or old junk? This is an age-old question that has been debated among home and business owners alike. Choosing the right storage method for you can be a challenge, and there are a number of factors you should think about.

When deciding between a storage container and a shed, you need to consider your specific situation. Storage containers can provide offsite storage, climate control, and large storage capacity, while sheds are convenient for their customizability and ability to increase property value. 

This article will break down a few advantages and disadvantages of renting a storage container versus building a shed on your property. It will also address some general factors to take into account when choosing the best option for you. At the end of this discussion, you will have enough guidance to make an informed decision between the two alternatives. 

Storage Container: Pros and Cons

Pros

Durability 

Many storage containers are made from weathering steel, which means they can withstand rain, hail, strong winds, and even seawater. They can also be left sitting for a long time without starting to rust.

Climate Control Capabilities

Items such as wooden furniture, clothing, and photographs can deteriorate over time, especially in extremely warm or wet climates. Therefore, it is wise to place these things in an environment that allows for climate control. Many storage containers provide these features and will protect your belongings from mold and mildew that can form during long periods of storage.

Ease of Transportation

Your storage items can be picked up and deposited in the desired location, container, and all. Their shape and build also allow them to sit firmly on pretty much any foundation – trucks, ships, railway cars, grass, gravel, etc.

Cons

Expensive Over Time

Let’s say that you decide to build a shed yourself, and purchase all the materials needed to assemble one for $1,000. While that may seem like a colossal lump sum to pay, you can easily end up paying the same amount in less than a year if you rent a storage container for $100 a month. Also, while they are relatively easy to transport, the cost of delivery and pick up can be very steep.

Lastly, a lot of people don’t realize the psychological impact of being able to store items at an out-of-sight location. The “out of sight out of mind” convenience causes many people to buy a lot more stuff than they need, safe in the knowledge that they can always “put it in storage” if they run out of room. 

All of this can lead to thousands of dollars wasted over time. 

Difficult to Access

Many residential areas may not permit you to keep a large storage container on your property. A storage facility often has limited operational hours, which means that you may not have access to your items as frequently as you would prefer.

Shed: Pros and Cons

Pros

Relativity Simple to Build

Basic sheds are not difficult to build. Simple sheds are available in kit form, which can be purchased at your local hardware store and assembled in a matter of days.  

Greater Customizability 

Storage containers come in a variety of sizes, but they are generally shaped like a cube or a rectangular prism. If you build your own shed, you can make it whatever shape will best suit your needs.

Permanent Sheds Can Increase Your Property Value

Extra storage capacity is often very attractive to prospective buyers, so building a well-designed shed in your backyard can add significant value to your property. 

Cons

Difficult to Transport 

If you need to move or transport your shed to another place, it can be quite an undertaking to deconstruct your shed and reassemble it at the new location.

Can Be Challenging to Design Well

As mentioned earlier, you do not need to be a master carpenter to build a simple shed. However, if you’re a beginner, you may not have the skills necessary to create a strong structure that has the capacity to store your items safely and prevent them from deteriorating due to harsh climate conditions. If so, you need to hire a contractor who knows that they are doing, and this can be expensive.  

General Factors to Consider

If you are still having trouble deciding which storage method has superior advantages to the other, below are the general decision factors to contemplate: 

Financial Circumstances/Costs

When people think about storage, the first thing that often comes to mind is cost. If you are unable to build a shed yourself, you need to consider hiring a professional builder. However, since it is paid for upfront, it may still be less expensive than a storage container rented over a long period of time. 

On the other hand, if you just want to store things for a few months, a storage container is likely more economical.

Your Living Circumstances 

Are you a homeowner, or is your house rented? Your situation will determine a lot of what you are permitted to do on your property. For example, most landlords will not allow you to build permanent structures like sheds on your yard. In that case, a storage container is the most viable option. 

Storage Capacity Needed 

There is no specific guidance that dictates how large a shed is allowed to be. However, unless you are in the position to build a shed that is the size of a small house, a storage container will typically provide you with greater storage capacity than a regular garden shed. The most common ISO (or International Organization for Standardization) containers come in two lengths: 20 feet (6.1 meters) and 40 feet (12.2 meters).

Level of Access Needed 

The fact that you are putting some items in storage would indicate that you don’t intend to touch them for some time. However, if there is a chance that you will need or want to access your stuff frequently, it’s probably best to choose a storage method that is near where you live. In that case, it would be ideal to have a shed right on your property. 

Level of Security Needed

If you rent a storage container, even though you will not be around to keep a close eye on your items, they can still provide a lot more security. While most sheds are made out of wood, thin sheet metal, or other materials that can be forced open, storage containers are made out of steel. Their security is also reinforced with inner bolts, crossbar locks, and heavy-duty padlocks. 

On the other hand, you can equip your shed with alarm systems, security cameras, and perimeter fences; it all depends on what puts you at ease.

Length of the Storage Period

One major benefit of renting a storage container is that you can move freely without having to worry about transporting your belongings as well. This is unlike having a shed, where even if you only move a few blocks within your neighborhood, you must either dispose of your items or move them with you. 

Conclusion

If you want to be able to store a large quantity of items without having to worry about maintenance, a storage container is a good choice. However, consider that it may cost you more in the long run. A shed is a perfect option if you want to be able to customize the size and shape of your storage unit and keep a closer eye on your belongings.

One storage system is not superior to the other; it all depends on your particular circumstances and long term needs. 

Jim James

Jim James spent most of his childhood outdoors fishing on lakes in his area. Due to his scouting background, he has always been interested in survival, camping, and the outdoors in general. Jim is a best-selling author and has a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. He lives with his family in Charlotte, NC.

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