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Seasonal Storage Tips for Religious Organizations

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Prayer halls, community centers and educational spaces have an evolving need for seasonal storage. From storing tables, chairs and pews to musical instruments, office supplies and maintenance tools, there’s a constant need to keep things stored and organized.

Additionally, there are unique storage considerations that religious organizations must deal with, from limited and temporary facilities to expanding storage capacity as the community grows.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how religious organizations can make seasonal storage a cinch with shipping containers.

What Can You Store in a Shipping Container?

While there’s almost no limit to what you can store in a shipping container, there are common items that almost every congregation requires to complete their services and meet changing seasonal storage needs. Here’s a few of them:

  • Seasonal décor
  • Folding Tables/Chairs
  • Books
  • Pews
  • Documentation
  • Medical supplies for first aid
  • Plumbing equipment
  • Electrical equipment
  • Materials for religious education
  • Books for children
  • Camping/Outdoor gear
  • Religious vestments
  • Historical Photos/Documents
  • Children’s toys and games
A sound board technician works in a sound booth.
Sound equipment is used in a variety of religious organizations. From instruments and piano equipment to sound systems, amplifiers, microphones and even choral risers, different pieces of equipment have varied storage requirements. Consult the user’s manual for each piece of equipment for specialized storage instructions.

Each of these items has unique storage considerations. Religious vestments, for instance, need to be stored in a more secure location than camping and outdoor gear. Your organization likely won’t want to store vestments, religious food/drink, or important religious objects in a storage container.

However, moving excess equipment, like tables and chairs into a storage container opens space for service-essential items closer to the worship space.

Why are Storage Containers Useful for Religious Organizations

While there are numerous storage solutions, there are some key reasons that shipping containers are particularly useful for religious organizations.

Affordability

Most religious organizations depend on the charity of their congregations. Lifeway research from 2022 states that 24% of congregations with less than 50 members have seven weeks or less in cash reserves. That means that the places of worship that need the most financial assistance are also the least established.

Because shipping containers are widely available in most countries, they’re a more affordable storage option compared to alternatives.

Low Maintenance

In addition to their affordability, containers require minimal maintenance. Containers are made with a special type of weathering steel. This “Corten” steel is naturally rust-resistant. When the paint is chipped, the steel is exposed to outside air and forms a protective layer that helps mitigate, but doesn’t prevent further rusting.

Because of this, painting is the most common maintenance work that needs to be performed. Containers with proper maintenance can sit in one place for years, without degrading or losing structural integrity. When a congregation’s time is spread across ministry, outreach and church maintenance, it’s beneficial to have a storage solution that you can rely on to maintain its condition for many years.

Flexibility

Containers that are 20ft long and shorter can be moved with a flatbed truck, even while loaded. This flexibility gives religious organizations the ability to move storage on and off-site, which helps when moving storage to a new location. This gives religious organizations the power to decide what’s best for their congregation and make decisions accordingly.

Keep in mind that shipping containers that are longer than 20ft can only be moved on a truck when unloaded, due to regulations pertaining to public roadways.

Scalability

Places of worship experience increased attendance during holidays and special events, which requires more equipment than is needed during a typical service. In these circumstances, it can be challenging to find the necessary storage space with such short notice.

Containers can give religious organizations the ability to meet fluctuating demand, even during the busiest times of the year. If more storage becomes necessary, containers enable cost-effective expansion opportunities, either as a short-term measure or as a part of a comprehensive storage plan.

Empty chairs in a church auditorium.
Chairs present a challenge for religious organizations. While lots of seating is needed during services, other circumstances like youth activities or group meals may require fewer chairs. Consider storing them in a storage container, as it can be located nearby the service area, making it easy for staff and volunteers to move chairs in and out when required.

Storage for New Religious Institutions

When starting a new institution, there are numerous challenges that religious leaders must consider. For instance, you may be limited by your starting capital and partnerships. While some new institutions receive funding from an existing one, the level of support typically declines over time as the new one becomes more established.

Because of this, new congregations need to be especially considerate regarding resource allocation. Because these places of worship can’t afford a permanent meeting place, they typically rent worship spaces, sometimes from public spaces like school auditoriums, from warehouses, or from other religious organizations that are willing to share their space.

In some cases, new congregations can meet in private residences. These struggle with inflexible seasonal storage, as the house’s storage space is typically used by the people living there as well.

In these early days, new religious institutions need a flexible option that helps them consolidate storage at a moment’s notice. Shipping containers can be a cost-effective way for these newer religious communities to establish themselves, helping them secure their storage in a designated place.

Food Storage for Religious Communities & Organizations

In addition to worship-related storage, religious organizations also commonly store additional food supplies, either as an emergency-preparedness measure, or as a part of the organization’s charitable outreach.

These ministries need to be located close by and require a trained and knowledgeable staff, from those interviewing potential clients, to those stocking and staffing the food bank. Before they have a permanent space, they might have to make do with storage solutions that meet their short-term needs.

A storage container can be a great way to get a ministry like this off the ground. With tangible community outreach, new organizations can establish themselves in an area and market their congregation to new members, while providing social services to those in need.

Folding chairs stand upright in rows on a grassy field.
Storage containers are great options for outdoor events, due to their portability. Containers can be loaded with chairs and then moved with a forklift, and this process can be repeated for youth sports events, weddings, graduations and more.

Summary

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we have the experience to ensure that our storage solutions can meet the specific needs of your organization. Whether you need worship storage, food storage or seasonal storage, we can help you meet your needs with containers for purchase, rent and modification.

Interested in learning more about how shipping containers can meet seasonal storage demands for your religious community or organization? Contact us, and a container sales representative can assist you, providing you with a quote and answering any questions you may have.

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