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    Simple Living: The Shipping Container!

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Jess Ainscough - The Wellness Warrior



    Guest post by Amanda Rootsey.

    A few months ago I introduced you to our simple life, living “off the grid” as much as possible in a solar-powered caravan. Recently, we decided to upgrade from our caravan to an ‘eco-cabin.’

    Okay well to most people, going from a large caravan with a full kitchen and bathroom to our new home might seem like a downgrade! In fact, ‘eco-cabin’ is actually a very fancy name – at its core it is a very humble recycled shipping container.

    Why on earth would you choose to live in a shipping container? Oh I’m so glad you asked…

    A ridiculous amount of shipping containers exist in the world today. In fact, more than 420 million shipping containers move around the globe every year, transporting 90% of the world’s cargo. (source: They are generally sent to scrap yards after their glamorous life of travelling the world, at the tender age of 20.

    We like the idea of giving one shipping container a new lease on life and it’s a fantastic way to reuse something that would otherwise be a huge hunk of junk!

    Built to withstand huge amounts of weight and pressure, as well as extreme weather conditions, these containers make ideal building blocks and are a simple, cheap, sturdy and easily-transportable home.

    In comparison to building a home from scratch, it cuts down on wood consumption in the framework, so we also like the fact that we haven’t contributed to unnecessary logging. It also won’t rot, is completely vermin proof, totally storm proof and we can easily move it with a tow truck.

    When we tell people that we live in a recycled shipping container they kind of screw their noses up at us, but the one we bought is actually finished very beautifully. As you can see in the pictures it has polished floors, a balcony, big sliding doors, a window and it is completely fitted out with 12V power.

    It also has an extended roof made out of cold-room/freezer panels which help to insulate the cabin. We’ve added one solar panel to the roof and one battery and that is all we need for lights, TV, a fridge and the occasional computer charge-up! (Though we do have a generator as well which we use occasionally when the sun hasn’t come out to play for a while, or if we want to use the coffee machine!)

    You can buy a shipping container for approximately $4000 and deck it out yourself if you know what you’re doing. We don’t, so we found this website and ordered it from these guys: It was more expensive but very cheap in comparison to a house.

    There is so much that you can do with shipping containers and they are the perfect solution for quick, affordable housing. They are often used as temporary housing at mining sites or in situations where people need something very quickly, such as after the floods in Victoria.

    As for our bathroom and kitchen, I do miss having them inside sometimes but very rarely. We love showering outside in the sunshine and we always have. We showered outside most of the time even when we had a shower inside the caravan. We have a small camping toilet that we have set up on the balcony of the little shack next door to our ‘eco cabin’ and we built ourselves a little kitchen too. It’s been a fun adventure, to say the least! 

    Author bio: Amanda Rootsey is Australia’s first Eco-Model and co-founder of Vegan Era. After going through cancer, her perspective on life changed a lot and she now lives in a solar-powered eco-cabin on top of a mountain with her boyfriend and little staffy girl, Trudi. She blogs about living simply, natural health, eco-fashion and vegan food at

    What do you think about the idea of living in an eco-cabin/shipping container?

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