5 Places To Store Scrap Securely & DIY Storage Options

Ways to Store Your Scrap Securely

Collecting and recycling scrap metal is a popular side hustle. However, finding bits of valuable metals is only part of the puzzle. You have to consider how and where you’ll store the scrap finds. (If only to stockpile your metal pieces awaiting better prices in the scrap market and get a chance to turn in your collection.)

Let’s discuss the safety protocol you can implement to ensure your scrap metal stays safe.

Avoiding Common Risks Associated With Scrapping

Most types of scrap metal have their risks. It’s vital to avoid them to make the most out of your collection. Such risks include: 


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Scrap metals such as cable, wire, copper, and brass that are typically smaller, lighter, and easier to handle make for easy targets. Catalytic Converters have probably been the worst example of this over the last few years, where thieves cut them off of vehicles for the valuable metals inside.

Thus, your storage location should have a good lock – think of chains, locks, and heavy-duty combinations – as well as measures to keep thieves at bay. That means open places like your yard are inadvisable. 

Suggested Reading: Scrap Metal Thieves Give Industry A Bad Name


Your scrap metal may not be pristine; nonetheless, you should preserve its value as much as possible. That said, ensure your finds are stored in a dry space. Water and snow can wreak havoc on metals exposed to them and lower the grade you may receive.

If the storage unit is humid, invest in a dehumidifier. Similarly, ensure any scrap metals stored outside are well protected from weather elements. 

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Scrap metals may be a valuable treasure trove to you but an unattractive eyesore for your neighbors and community. That’s particularly true when you put them in a way that makes the area untidy or obstructs your neighbor’s view. 

Many municipalities and neighborhoods have regulations prohibiting scrap stockpiling in open places. While you can cover the collection with a tarp, that may fail to meet the local laws or eliminate the neighbor’s concerns. 

Lawn damage 

Avoid placing scrap metals in your yard to keep the grass in your backyard healthy and in good condition. 

If you do, the scrap will block the sun from reaching the grass – interfering with its development and eventually leading to the death of your lawn.

Moreover, chemicals from the metals may leak, contaminating the soil and groundwater below. 

How to Best Store Your Scrap Metal

There are multiple options for storing scrap finds on and off your property. (The method of choice will vary with the volume of your collection.) 

So, once you figure out the amount of space you need to devote to your finds, here are some convenient yet safe storage ideas you can try. (And no, none involve tossing your scrap in a nondescript corner of your boneyard.)


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Storing your scrap metals in a barn is both convenient and safe. Not only is the space ample, but it also accommodates more oversized items. It also protects your collection from thieves, weather elements, and eyesores. 

Enlist a building professional for the best outcomes when constructing a barn on your compound.  


If your metal pieces are not bulky and don’t have a sprawling collection, consider storing them in a cellar – an underground storage space. 

Being hidden from the view: your collection may be safer in a cellar than in a barn. 


You can rent a used dumpster at a low price for long-term storage. Or rent one for relatively shorter storage periods. As usual, rental rates will vary based on i. the size of the dumpster and ii. the rental duration. 

Storage unit

For several reasons, secure and well-monitored storage units are a popular option among scrapers:

  • You can store different types of scrap finds.  
  • You have short or long-term storage options.
  • You can access your collection whenever you need to. (Especially if the storage unit is near your residence.) 
  • The storage unit’s rent is tax-deductible as a business expense.  

On the downside, some storage units do not allow for the storage of scrap metals. Therefore, study your rental contract beforehand, lest you risk fines and harsh consequences. 


Consider paying for warehouse space if you can’t find a storage unit, mainly if you deal with large volumes of scrap metal.   

You can also rent any other commercial property to store and process your scrap – so long as the property allows the same. 

Or gauge whether there’s some viable storage space at your workplace – where you can store large items for a week or two without inconveniencing your colleagues. 

DIY Scrap Metal Storage Ideas

  • Consider building a shed or a storage garage. Add built-in shelving with Rubbermaid containers clearly labeled for different scrap metals. 
  • Store smaller items up high to save floor space and keep your finds organized. 
  • Put shelves at the corners of your shed or garage, leveraging existing studs. 
  • Install a heavy-duty wire shelf in unused spaces between overhead joists in the garage or basement. 
  • Install attic decking panels to optimize the overhead storage space above the garage or shed rafters – to create accessible and useable storage surfaces. (Consult a professional contractor to ensure the rafters can support the extra loads.)
  • Invest in small, stackable boxes to store smaller metal pieces. (Label them clearly for easy organization.) 
  • Create a storage grove on your property – and ensure it’s safe and secure from thieves and unfavorable weather elements. 
  • Buy a cheap privacy fence and use it to create a storage space between it and some bushy trees. 
  • Buy a trailer or a shipping container. Be sure to weld a lock that’s hard to break. 
  • Rezone some of your structures to commercial properties – allowing you to store scrap collection without municipal complaints. 
  • Leverage large buckets or drums with removable lids for e-scrap and nonferrous metals. 
  • Use rows of garbage cans for smaller items. 
  • The list is endless.

If you cannot secure a safe storage space:

  • Keep your scrap acquisitions tightly controlled.
  • Breakdown large items fast (within two days).
  • Wait for calls (instead of driving around looking for scrap metals) and make sure you can move the finds on the same day.

As you can see, there are many safe ways to store your scrap finds for the long and short term. Whatever method you use should shield your collection from thieves and weather elements. It should also comply with the local and city regulations. 

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