Moving into your RV on a long-term basis has its share of challenges. From figuring out how to share such a small living space with your loved ones to adapting to the unknowns that characterize a constantly-on-the-move lifestyle, learning to roll with the punches is all part of the adventure of full-timing or taking an extended RV trip.
Of course, it’s got its fair share of perks, too. For one thing, downsizing to just 150 square feet of living space can cast a lot of things into perspective and force you to figure out just how much stuff you actually need. If you’ve been craving the simplicity and thrift of a minimalistic lifestyle, this could be the perfect opportunity to break the keep-buying-more-stuff consumerist habit!
There is, however, the problem of the stuff you already have. You might not have room onboard for your whole wardrobe, book collection, or your toaster oven, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never use those things again!
No matter how dedicated you might be to the idea of living minimally in theory, there are some items that just carry sentimental, or even monetary, value… but which might not quite fit into the extremely limited footprint of your RV. Whether it’s your grandmother’s antique dining table or your epic collection of classic guitars, you might not be ready to part ways with some of your material possessions just yet, even if you’re aching to take on the nomadic lifestyle.
Sound like a familiar conundrum? What’s a well-meaning, would-be minimalist — with just a little bit too much stuff — to do?
Winter RV Storage Tips
Obviously, you’re going to need to find a place to keep your stuff. But fortunately, there are lots of options… depending on how you’re approaching this whole RV lifestyle thing.
For instance, if you’re holding onto a sticks-and-bricks home location, you may be able to keep many of your items inside your house while you’re traveling. Or if you’re selling your house (or ditching your lease) to get on the road, you might find a friend or relative who’s able to hold on to some of your prized possessions for you.
But for the purposes of this article, we’ll assume you’ve exhausted those options… and now, you’re in the market for a storage unit-type alternative.
Here are some of our best tips and tricks for finding high-quality storage solutions while you’re busy exploring the world in your RV, travel trailers, or campervan.
RV Storage Units for Rent
Before we dive into the nitty gritty about finding the nearest storage facility or the best deals on storage units, let’s deal with what’s right in front of you: packing.
Take the time to pack your belongings carefully. You’ll thank yourself when you retrieve them later free of damage.
As someone who’s moved over eight times and learned the hard way, let me tell you: simply throwing your items into a cardboard box isn’t going to cut it. After all, if you’re going to the trouble of storing these items in the first place, you clearly care about them… so pack them well, or otherwise, the whole thing might be for nothing when you find your goods damaged, scratched, and broken!
Although sturdy cardboard boxes are OK, you might consider investing in large plastic boxes, which are much more solid and also easier to handle. These IRIS 12-quart Stack & Pull boxes come in a set of six for about $35, or less than $6 per box… which isn’t much more expensive than some of the outrageous prices you’ll find on plain old cardboard at big moving companies. The difference is, these will last a lifetime… and come with convenient handles!
It’s also a good idea to package small, breakable items in bubble wrap and to cover large furniture with furniture blankets to avoid scratches in the finish. Even if you’re doing the moving yourself, you can never be too careful!
Alright, now that everything’s secured safe and sound and ready to be stored… how do you find the best local garage or outdoor storage units for rent in your area? What’s the average cost of storage units, and how do you figure out which are the fairest prices?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Garage Storage Tips
Climate controlled storage units are widely available across the country, and offer the best protection for your stuff. Although it might not seem necessary to keep granny’s set of antique glassware in an air conditioned environment, climate control helps ensure your stored items don’t accumulate mold and that any electronics maintain their longevity no matter how long you leave them.
Of course, if it’s impossible to find a climate-controlled location in your area, or if it’s simply out of your budget, you can increase the chances of your stuff making it through unscathed by investing in items like moth balls or, in the case of expensive wardrobe items, vacuum-sealed storage bags.
To see what facilities are available in your area, you can utilize big self storage companies’ location finders on their websites, or run a web search for “self storage units near me.” From there, you should have a few different options to choose from.
If you’re looking for the best buy, here’s one of the best helpful storage tips you’ll hear:
Go as small as possible.
It might seem tempting to get a huge unit, since they’re usually not that much more expensive and you won’t have to worry about cramming all your items into a tiny space. But over time, that extra $30 or $50 per month adds up… and you might be tempted to keep more stuff than absolutely necessary. (This whole going full time thing is at least partially about downsizing, after all!)
Also, keep in mind that many storage units will incrementally raise the prices annually — and bigger units always cost more. Then, you’ll be faced with the unpleasant choice of either paying more, or going through your belongings to cull some extra stuff and moving it all to a new unit — not to mention interrupting your trip to do so. No, thank you!
Vehicle Storage Units for Rent
We hope this post has helped you learn more about finding the best storage unit in your area so you don’t have to worry about your stuff while you take on your extended RV trip. However, if you were looking for information on how to store your RV, don’t worry — we’ve covered that, too!
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