Can You Live Debt-Free In A Shipping Container Home?


Who doesn’t love the idea of living debt-free? Some people have made it a reality by living in cool but cheap shipping container homes.

Jaimie and Dave, a Canadian couple, know it to be all too true because they built a fantastic shipping container home on a piece of property so they could experience life without being in debt.

The noted metalworker and his wife embarked on a DIY journey because they wanted a good challenge. The result is a two-story house built out of stacked shipping containers with a deck. The couple worked with the city to get the appropriate permits to create a structure fit for occupancy. They wanted to be able to live in the home after they built it without incurring debt with mortgage payments.

A Labor of Love That Consumed Their Weekends

The project which took up most of their weekends for months was a labor of love. It almost didn’t happen because the money the couple saved for the project wasn’t as much as they needed to complete it. Jaimie and Dave nearly ran out of money before they finished the building of their new home because getting financing on non-traditional builds is almost impossible. Lenders don’t see the value in unusual dwellings as much as the couples building them do.

How The Shipping Container Home Is Set Up

The 20-foot shipping container used to create the upper level of the home sits on top of a 40-foot shipping container. The inside is 406 square feet finished. The land that the house resides on belongs to the couple. They can walk out their front door and directly into their garden where they grow some of their food. The deck is a big part of the couple’s design because Dave likes to say, «Sometimes you have to go outside to change your mind.»

The interior is full of things that the couple loves. The flooring didn’t look the way that Jaimie first anticipated, but it has grown on her. The tiny home has a contemporary look with a sofa that fits it perfectly. The kitchen space is huge and can fit up to six people in it. It has full-sized appliances and even a dishwasher.

A big bathroom was a must for the couple. It has wall-to-wall cabinetry. A beautiful shower took Dave a long time to build as part of his recovery process, but it’s just the way the couple wanted it to look. A spiral staircase leads to the top floor where the master bedroom is.

There is a lot of windows and space to move around in on the upper level where the bedroom and loft are at. Jaimie spends time watching TV, reading, and writing in the comfort of her bedroom. The deck is accessible through the master bedroom. It allows the couple to eat outdoors or enjoy a cup of coffee together.

Adversity Brings Many Beautiful Changes

Living tiny requires patience and determination. Midway through the build, the resilient man suffered a brain bleed, which delayed the completion of their project. Jaimie found him just in time because doctors reported that had he gone to sleep, he wouldn’t have survived the attack. Dave told his wife while lying in his hospital bed that he didn’t have time to be sick because he had a house to build. A testimony of how committed he was to his project, it wasn’t long before he made a full recovery and finished the home he and Jaimie started together.

After undergoing three months of therapy on his deck and using the stairs of the container home, the couple was ready to complete their project. It took them a total of 10 months to finish the job and move into their new home. Although they could have very well put their project on hold indefinitely, they chose to make it part of the therapy process. As Dave learned how to speak once again and use his fine motor skills, he was able to use power tools to complete the home one section at a time.

You, Too, Can Live Life Mortgage-Free

If you want to live life on your terms, use Jaimie and Dave’s story as inspiration. You don’t need to assemble a shipping container home to be comfortable. You can, however, think outside the confines of traditional housing to create a dwelling that is right for you and your family. There is a lot of freedom in building non-traditional houses made from items that people use for other purposes such as adapted school buses and shipping containers.