A mini storage unit seemed the ideal solution for storing less valuable items that we couldn't take with us. They're available in several sizes, easily accessible, and reasonably priced. But....
We put are most valuable and cherished items into climate controlled storage. But that left us with boxes and piles of excess stuff.
Household items: sets of my good china, Christmas decorations, small appliances, my cast iron cookware, furniture, etc. Stuff from Bob's shop: hand and power tools, building materials, things he had amassed that he thought would someday be useful. And, personal items: clothing, pictures, paperwork, miscellaneous what-knots. All things that we weren't sure we wanted to get rid of before we hit the road in the RV.
We packed the last of what we were leaving behind into a mini storage facility in South Dakota, and we took off on our adventure.
During the course of the year, we often needed or wanted something that we had stored. But, having it there really did us no good.
The following summer we returned to South Dakota, knowing we had the job of dealing with a mini-storage unit packed with stuff. The plan was to eliminate the storage and the bill that went with it.
We opened the door to the storage garage and found two things we hadn't counted on: mouse damage and water damage.
So, in addition to the task of dealing with boxes of stuff, we now had to deal with boxes of stuff that was wet or had been chewed on by mice. Or both.
We cleaned. We threw. We sold. We kept very little.
The things we had really needed, we'd already replaced during the year away. Many things, we realized we just didn't need or want.
If you are going to put things into this type of storage, here are some precautions you can take to decrease your chances of damage and loss:
1. Look for signs of water damage in the unit before you agree to rent it.
2. Try to keep your things off the floor. Putting it pallets may be sufficient.
3. Know that the wettest place may be in front of the door. You might put a barrier there of some type.
4. Use rodent control. Using both traps and poison will give you better protection than just one or the other.
5. Make sure you have the door to the unit shut tightly, and that it fits snugly to the floor of the unit.
6. Put a decent lock on the door of the mini storage garage you rent.
The self-access storage lockers can and do serve a purpose. If you use one and take the above precautions, it may work out just fine for you. They are very popular with many people, including RVers.
As for us, we would have been better off to eliminate the extra stuff at the start and not put anything into storage.