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What Can You Fit Inside a Shipping Container?

It’s quite easy to arrange for a storage container rental. Depending on the company you’re working with, you will likely have access to both new and used standard shipping containers with a length of either 20 feet or 40 feet.

What can you fit inside a shipping container?

You may also opt for a high cube shipping container that offers greater height, or even an open-top container that doesn’t have a roof, so it’s easier to store large equipment or irregularly shaped items. However, getting the right size and type of container is only half the work; it’s also important to prepare a storage plan for loading the items, so they fit well. This will prevent you from paying more for unused space or renting an additional container.

How big is a 20-foot shipping container?

Twenty-foot shipping containers are a popular and practical solution for storing or moving items locally or even overseas. The internal dimensions of a standard 20-foot container are:

  • 5.898 m long x 2.352 m wide x 2.393 m high (in meters)
  • 19’4” long x 7’9” wide x 7’10” high (in feet and inches)
  • 13.86 square meters (146 square feet) floor area
  • 33.2 cubic meters (1,172 cubic feet) volume with a usable capacity of 32.6 cubic meters

This type of container is large enough to accommodate 10 standard pallets (or 12 Euro pallets) without stacking. It is also the recommended size for people looking to store household goods in a one- to two-bedroom apartment. These include furniture, appliances, large electronics, and many other items that are properly packed in boxes.

Most cars can also fit in a 20-foot container and leave some space to store other cargo. It’s even possible to fit two small cars into the container, though this is not recommended, especially if you plan on moving the container. This is because the vehicles may need to be partially overlapped using straps to suspend one over the other, making the entire process risky.

Other items that can fit inside a 20-foot container include:

  • 9600 wine bottles
  • More than 1,000 bags of cement (25 kg each)
  • 60 fridges
  • 400 flat-screen TVs
  • 500,000 eggs
  • 200 full-size mattresses
  • 50,000 bananas

How big is a 40-foot shipping container?

A 40-foot container has twice as much space as a 20-foot unit. Its dimensions are:

  • 12.025 m long x 2.352 m wide x 2.393 m high (meters)
  • 39’6” long x 7’9” wide x 7’10” high (feet and inches)
  • 26.47 square meters (285 square feet) floor area
  • 60 cubic meters (2,120 cubic feet) volume with a usable capacity of 67.7 cubic meters

Forty-foot containers can hold up to 22 standard pallets or 27 Euro pallets with no stacking, as well as the contents of a three- to five-bedroom house, including items in the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, dining room, and den. If packed in boxes, a 40-foot container can fit about 60 boxes comfortably, which makes it ideal for big removal jobs. You can also fit two to four cars depending on their size.

These huge containers are primarily used to carry lightweight but bulky items that require a lot of space, such as:

  • Cotton
  • Reams of cardboard
  • Bulky furniture pieces
  • Electronics
  • Plastic bottles

High Cube and Specialist Containers

If you need to store or move items that are taller or irregularly shaped, it may be more convenient to rent a high cube container. These containers have the same length and width as a standard 20-foot or 40-foot container, but offer an extra foot of headroom to give you more vertical storage space. For some applications, the extra vertical space can mean the difference between using a 20-foot high cube container and a standard 40-foot container.

Apart from high cube containers, there are also some specialist units that are used to transport large or awkward cargo. Open-top containers, for instance, are ideal for tall equipment and items that won’t fit in a high cube unit. After loading the container, the top is covered with a temporary canvas roof to keep the items safe. You can also choose a flat rack container (with open sides) for items that are too wide to fit in an enclosed unit. Some shipping containers have doors on both ends, allowing you to load and unload your items conveniently from the two sides. This can be particularly helpful for a first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory plan.

How to Maximize Shipping Container Rental Storage Space

Loading a container to fit all your items can be a challenge. You need to think about the layout and plan ahead, especially if you intend to load it with items that you will have to access before shipping. It can be particularly problematic if you fill a 40-foot container only to realize that you need to access something that is deep inside, forcing you to unload a lot of the items.

Proper organization is important when loading any container, especially when packing up the bigger unit. Here are some useful tips to organize your unit:

  • Dismantle any pieces that can be re-assembled.
  • Carefully pack your items in boxes, using adequate bubble wrap to keep them safe.
  • Stack the boxes based on the weight.
  • Place heavier items at the bottom.

Many people prefer to rent a 20-foot shipping container because it’s cheaper and more convenient to transport compared to the 40-foot unit. However, it’s not always possible to squeeze your items into a smaller unit. If you have many items to store or move, getting a 40-foot container will be cheaper compared to using two 20-foot containers.

Final Note

Shipping container rentals provide an affordable way to safely and securely store or transport items locally or globally. This guide can help you determine the best size of shipping container for your specific needs. Keep in mind that the actual items that fit into any shipping container largely depend on their shape and your ability to organize them inside the unit. For more information, please contact Secure Container Solutions.

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