Climate controlled storage can be the answer for storing your valuables and those things that can't be replaced. They're wrapped, padded, and crated for safe-keeping inside a weather proof building.
If you go this route, look into storage insurance. The insurance the storage provider includes with your agreement likely won't cover the cost of what you are storing. The coverage that comes with the unit may pay only a flat rate per pound. Look for insurance that pays replacement value. With art and antiques, and other items that aren't readily replaceable, you may need to negotiate an agreed upon value when you buy your insurance policy.
Here's what happened to us:
We had some valuable antiques. We had beautiful antique furniture that had been in the family a few generations. Bob had some high-dollar tools. We gathered an odd assortment of things that for whatever reason, we felt deserved special attention.
We chose a reputable climate controlled storage company. It was inside storage. The building was supposed to be heated and cooled to maintain reasonably steady year round temperatures. They were suppose to wrap or cushion items to protect them. The crate was to be stored off the floor. This was supposed to be safe and secure, and we thought, the right choice for these items.
I wrote the check and paid the rent for a year. Since we were new to full-time traveling, I wasn't sure how mail forwarding was going to work and whether or not I'd get the bills on time. I didn't want to have to worry about paying for it every month. Paying in advance, I thought, secured things.
A few months after we'd left, I get a letter from the storage provider saying they are going to sell our stuff for non-payment of the rent. Because our mail was going through a forwarder and it took it a while to reach us, the date of the sale had already passed. To say that I was an unhappy camper is perhaps the understatement of the year.
A phone call to the company revealed that they had a new person doing the books and she had made mistakes, erroneously sending out the notices to numerous customers. Although relieved that they hadn't really sold our things, I was miffed. How easy it would have been for them to not discover their mistake until after the sale.
We decided it was time to retrieve our things from the supposedly secure storage. We were in Texas at the time and made an unplanned mid-December trip from Texas to South Dakota with a cargo trailer.
When they opened the crate, my heart sank. My antique furniture was gouged. Not slightly scratched. But gouged, apparently from when the forklift tines went through the crate. Yes, they had insurance, but it paid only a pittance per pound. At that point, we decided that everything in that crate was either going to be sold or put into our RV where we could use or enjoy it.
Controlled climate storage is probably the best, most secure commercial storage that is available. But, is it worth it for RVers? For us, no. But, it may be for you.
If you do put things into storage, I have three suggestions for you.
1. Take picture of what you are storing. Make sure they are close ups that show the condition of the items. You need proof of what you put into that storage container.
2. Consider insuring the contents of your storage container.
3. Keep your payment receipts. If possible, keep receipts showing what you paid for your items. And, keep the receipts that show you paid your rent.
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