How to Pick the Right Sized Container

Have an upcoming project and wondering how to pick the right sized container for it?

This is a common question we’ve encountered at Southwest Mobile Storage and one that has many different options.

Whether you need a container for storage, home renovations, or even moving, here’s our advice on how to pick the right sized container for your project.

How to Pick the Right Sized Container


There are three standard sizes of containers you can choose from:

  • 10 foot containers
  • 20 foot containers
  • 40 foots containers

While these are the standard sizes, containers can also be customized and modified to meet whatever requirements you might need.

Now that we know the different container sizes to choose from, let’s take a look at a few things to help picking the right size for your project.


1. Your situation

Are you moving? Renovating or remodeling your home?

Working on a construction project?

The type of situation and scenario has a lot of impact on the size of container you should choose.

how to pick the right sized container A
how to pick the right sized container A

For example, a 10 foot container can be good for storing excess inventory, such as for a retail business.

However, if you’re working on a construction project, a bigger container may work better for you.


2. Make a list

The next thing you should do is begin making a list of the items that you want to store.

While it might make sense to start your search for a container first, that can sometimes cause challenges later on.

how to pick the right sized container 1
how to pick the right sized container 1

What if you get a 40 foot container believing that you will have a lot of items, but when you place everything inside, you discover you have more space than what you needed?

Not only does making a list create an inventory of your items which is helpful for insurance, but it will also give you an idea of the size of container you’ll need.

For example, a 20 foot container is usually the best choice for one or two bedroom apartments or homes.


3. Choose a trustworthy supplier

You know your situation and you’ve made a list of the items that will be going into the container.

Now you need to choose a container supplier.

Choosing a reliable and trustworthy supplier can be a tremendous help when it comes to getting your questions answered.

Southwest Mobile Storage, for instance, has over twenty-five years of expertise when it comes to shipping containers.

We also have an on-site fabrication center where we clean, inspect, customize, and modify all of our containers.

how to pick the right sized container 2
how to pick the right sized container 2

When choosing a container supplier, make sure the company has:

  • Relevant work experience and are knowledgeable about shipping containers
  • Diversity of containers and sizes being offered
  • Affordable rates that will fit into your budget

These points lead us to our next consideration.


4. Leasing vs buying

As you come to narrow your choice of suppliers, you’ll also need to determine if you want to rent/lease a container or buy the container.

If you’re using a container for business, there’s the option of either leasing or buying, depending on how long you will need the container.

A given rule of thumb for businesses is if they only need the container for a year or less, they should lease; more than that, they should buy.

For those using a container for home purposes (moving, remodeling, renovations, etc.), leasing or renting a container is the more common option.

In this article, we laid out how to pick the right sized container for your project.

From choosing the situation where you need a container to whether you should lease or buy, we explored the different options to consideration.

We offer the standard shipping container sizes, as well as customization and modification to the container you need. We can add doors, windows, security locks, and more at your request.

If you’re interested in using shipping containers for your upcoming project, give us a call at 800.686.9114 or fill out the form below.