What NOT to Store in a Shipping Container

different fruits on the wooden table

Shipping containers have been getting a lot of love recently because they look cool, are relatively low maintenance, and more affordable than some other storage options out there.

You can buy one and put it on your property long-term, and moving companies often measure household items in terms of how much will fit in a shipping container.

If you’re a business that deals in any sort of importing or exporting, you’re probably very familiar with shipping container size and some of the storage restrictions.

shipping container

Shipping items across the ocean, though, is different from storing things in a shipping container on your property or at a rented space at a storage facility. There are things you should avoid putting in there if you don’t want them to ruin. These days, there are a lot of customization options for shipping containers to add things like insulation and ventilation, but still, there are some things that just don’t belong there.

Here are some things you should NOT store in a shipping container.

Things to Avoid

Let’s assume you’re using a shipping container for temporary storage while you renovate your house, or you have it as a longer-term solution but haven’t yet made any alterations. That, or you’re hiring a shipping container storage company to drop one off at your house or business while you handle some much-needed renovations.

Shipping containers are great when they’re plopped down next to a home or business and you can move everything a few feet to clear some space inside. Here’s what you should avoid putting in your shipping container, no matter where you’re storing it.

1. Anything Living

The shipping container is designed to limit airflow and light from coming inside. These large metal containers are made to withstand anything that comes its way as it’s moving across large bodies of water.

Knowing this, you shouldn’t put anything living in the shipping container. Avoid putting pets inside, even if it’s something like fish or a turtle, etc.

Plants shouldn’t be in there for too long either. A couple of days might be no issue, but plants will wilt and die pretty quickly without the sun and air they need.

different fruits on the wooden table

2. Certain Food Items

Dry foods are ok to put in shipping containers, but avoid putting anything perishable inside. The conditions in a shipping container can shorten the food’s shelf-life and it will spoil faster. Additionally, having food items go bad in your shipping container will probably affect whatever else is in there, and could lead to mold growth and awful smells.

Many storage facilities forbid food storage of any kind. If your shipping container will be parked on rented space at a storage facility, be sure to review your lease to ensure you comply with their specific policy on food storage.

3. Gasoline

A lot of people look at shipping containers as a way to enhance their emergency preparation plans. They put backup clothing, dry food, tools, and other items in there in case something goes wrong and they need to transition to more self-sufficient living.

However, it’s a bad idea to store gasoline canisters inside of a shipping container because it’s highly flammable and an explosion in a small space like that could have disastrous effects.

4. Cleaning Chemicals

Cleaning chemicals on their own in a storage unit might not be a big deal, but you want to skip putting them next to furniture, clothing, and other sensitive items. If they spill, they can quickly ruin whatever is in their way and cleanup will be tricky.

5. Fireworks

For some reason, people often try or want to store fireworks in their storage units. Perhaps they got a good deal when prices dropped after the holiday season the year prior, and want to wait until some future date to break them out and have some fun. While this is understandable, keeping fireworks in a shipping container is a bad idea.

First of all, they’re flammable, and if they catch fire it could be curtains for everything else in your container depending on how many fireworks you have. It’s best to keep them out of there.


6. Fertilizer

A shipping container can be a fantastic place to keep your mower, shovels, wood, wheelbarrow, and all of your other gardening supplies. It’s not, however, a good place to keep fertilizer. If you’re storing fertilizer in decent quantities, it can quickly become a fire hazard.

7. Anything Else That Is Flammable

In general, you don’t want to put anything flammable inside of a shipping container. Things like matches, lighter fluid, nail polish, nail polish remover, anything aerosol, and other toxic materials are serious fire hazards.

In a shipping container, it’s hard to see if and when a fire breaks out. It’s not like there are any windows to help you see, and they are surprisingly good at containing smoke. That means that you’ll probably get there and react too slowly to stop some serious damage from happening.

What starts as a small fire can quickly wipe out everything in the shipping container. It is one of the reasons why shipping companies are so strict about what goes inside.

8. Humans

OK, so this one may be obvious to a lot of people, but getting a shipping container can be exciting for kids, especially if it’s something new and exciting on your property. Whether you’re using a shipping container for temporary storage or are buying one to install long-term, don’t let kids have sleepovers or play in the shipping container.

The container doesn’t have proper air ventilation, and oxygen runs out and it’s hard for people inside to notice what’s happening. Just make it a rule of thumb that kids can’t stay or play in the shipping container.

9. Valuables

Don’t turn your shipping container into a makeshift safe. Having a large shipping container in your yard or on your driveway could be a big target for would-be criminals. They know that you likely will have some household goods or appliances inside while you’re dealing with a project at home. You shouldn’t make it easy for them by keeping things like jewelry or prized family possessions inside.

Even if the shipping container has a locking mechanism on it, you are going to be in your home sleeping at night and it’s difficult to monitor what’s happening outside. Play it safe and keep your jewelry, watches, and those family photo albums somewhere safer.

laptop on the desk

10. Personal Electronics

Anything with complex electronic components shouldn’t go in a shipping container. It could affect the devices because the shipping container isn’t climate-controlled.

If you leave electronics in there for too long, it could damage them if things get too hot or cold. While keeping things like a portable air conditioner will probably not be a big deal, smaller, more sensitive electronics should go somewhere else.

11. Firearms & Ammunition

Storing guns or ammo in a shipping container should also be avoided. The reason is that the container will likely not be climate-controlled, and when things heat up, ammunition could become less stable and increase the risk to people in the area.

A shipping container made from corrugated steel is one of the most sturdy storage options out there. And, there are millions of them around, so they can be a great temporary storage option if you’re redoing your kitchen.

They’re also a fantastic long-term storage solution whether stored on your property or in a rented parking space.

With a shipping container, you’ve got an indestructible storage option for tools, supplies, furniture, or whatever else you need to store. They’re very reliable, and there are now services that can customize a shipping container based on your needs.

Agua Dulce Storage | 11715 Davenport Road Agua Dulce, California 91390 United States
Agua Dulce Storage | 11715 Davenport Road Agua Dulce, California 91390 United States

If you’re looking for a Storage Facility that offers to rent a shipping container or renting a space to park your shipping container, Agua Dulce Storage has got you covered! Here at Agua Dulce Storage, we offer a wide selection of parking units to accommodate your every need. To learn more about our storage facility, please check out our website at https://aguadulcestorage.com/.