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dumpster living :)

bonhaus
January 10, 2019
We are planning to build a small tea house that can double as a temporary shelter (earthquakes! We live close to a fault zone). An obvious choice might be a modified shipping container, but our backyard is not large enough. We were thinking of a modified dumpster - afterall, it is the same sturdy steel container like a shipping container. Anyone have any experience or advice with this?

Comments (32)

  • PRO
    GreenDesigns

    Your permit office and neighbors will not be amused at your trolling.

  • PRO
    Revolutionary Gardens

    I guess there's no idea so strange that someone hasn't already done it at this point: http://dumpsterproject.org/



  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner


    Shipping containers come in a variety of styles and the smallest size isn't much different than a garden shed. I think it's a great idea








  • bonhaus
    @ GreenDesigns...trolling? Not sure what you mean. In any case, we have neighbors only to one side, and they are on board with this possibility. We have also checked in with the city permit office. So thanks, but neither of these are an issue in our case.
  • bonhaus
    Thank you, @ BeverlyFLADeziner and @Revolutionary Gardens! That’s useful. We too were sure someone MUST have done this, strage though it sounds...
  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner



    Or you could use a PODS container. Better than a dumpster IMO. Easier to access and to lock.


    https://homesteadlaunch.com/bug-out-shelter/

  • PRO
    Carolina Kitchen & Bath

    Although I don't live in a fault zone, the idea is intriguing. Explain how it works as a shelter in disaster, because it seems like it could be easily twisted or destroyed. I'm obviously missing something, so bear with me.

  • millworkman

    Definitely been thought of before........................


  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Are you concerned about heating, cooling, plumbing (supply and waste), electrical and all that sort of stuff...?

  • beesneeds

    What size spot are you trying to fit this into?

  • greg_2015

    Couldn't you just build a conventional shed that is reinforced to withstand earthquakes? That seems more practical (and maybe cheaper) than trying to convert a dumpster.

    Big buildings are more susceptible to damage from the earth moving. Small buildings on a concrete pad can't be that much of a problem.

    Or buy a camping trailer and park it in your backyard.


    Or is there some advantage to dumpsters that I'm not seeing?

  • PRO
    GreenDesigns

    If you're less than 48" tall, and don't mind rain leaking through it could---nope, it still sounds awful. And unless it's less than 90 sf, permitting WILL be an issue.



  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner

    Perhaps the steel container has unique benefits in the aftermath of an earthquake; Secure, immediate housing on their property. We've all seen the CA state response to the wildfires. They do the best they can, but people have to help themselves, and I think being proactive is commendable.

  • tiggerlgh

    https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-dumpster-home-sweet-home-article-1.1422854

    One ot the guys on Two Broke Girls (used to be a TV show) lived in a dumpster

    https://inhabitat.com/nyc/tour-dekes-tiny-dumpster-house-from-2-broke-girls-video/

    Its definitely been done before.


    I do like the idea of the storage containers better but this could work.

  • Kristin S

    These are commonly called CHUs - containerized housing unit. The military uses them for housing in some places (we have a friend who lived in one when stationed in Iraq). There is a lot of information about them online, and I believe you may even be able to buy them prefab.

  • lefty47

    HI -- How about a small house boat for when everything drops off into the ocean.... just joking !! A small shipping unit could look nice if your allowed to have it . Anything that is for a cabin such as toilets can be used and hand pump water sinks etc. Solar panels on the roof ...spray foam interior for insulation . You will need to do a lot of homework !!

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    I use to work in downtown Detroit, and walking from the parking structure to the building I worked in, I passed several dumpster where something was going on inside of them. I never stopped to investigate. I do not think there was "living" going on inside them, but there may have been "dining".

  • lefty47

    And a lot of times it is unwanted pets .


  • grdnbeth

    Check out Mod Pools

    Good idea

  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    My neighbor down the road tore his rickety barn down and substituted a high cube container for the two horses. The codes guys were not amused. Neighbor had to get rid of it, and pay to stable his horses at the other neighbor’s. The one that was still speaking to him after having that thing dropped in the pasture, visible from the road.

  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    I might also consider a small Airstream. They are outfitted so they are very livable.

  • worthy
    Or recycle an old van.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER

    I'd park an RV in another state.

  • Mrs Pete

    I wouldn't go to a tea house located in an old dumpster.

  • alenm3

    Very interesting idea. I'm just wondering if it would make more sense to reinforce a room or area inside the house instead of having the earthquake shelter outside. Most earthquakes last less than 30 seconds.

  • bluesanne

    Neighbor had to get rid of it, and pay to stable his horses at the other
    neighbor’s. The one that was still speaking to him after having that
    thing dropped in the pasture


    My horses wouldn't talk to me either if I tried to stable them in something like that...

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    "...dumpster living..."


    Just don't locate the dumpster domicile too close to the curb where the garbage boys can hook it and dump it...

  • alenm3

    Virgil, LOL!

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER

    Coffee spit on the monitor here, lol

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    From some perspectives, locating it close to the curb may not be all that bad of an idea. Probably cheaper than a maid service.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Ooops...there goes another rubber tree plant...!

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