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Storage Facility Choices: Dealing with What Doesn't Fit in the RV

Storage facility options… What should you do with all your stuff? You're about to go full-time RVing and can't take it all with you. Where should you store it? Should you rent a self storage unit?

As we prepared for full-time RVing, we faced those questions, too. We'd been accumulating things for years. We lived in a fairly good size house and Bob had a workshop. The one thing we knew for sure was that it wasn't all going to fit into the recreational vehicle that was about to become our new home.

Here's how we handled it.

We sold some things. We posted classified ads in the local freebie paper (you know the kind that is more or less all classified type ads) to sell some of the specialized things. We had garage sales. That got rid of most of the stuff that we knew we didn't want to keep or take with us.

But, that left all those things that we thought we wanted or needed to keep. We didn't want to burden family or friends with our excess baggage. So, we turned to commercial storage providers.

We handpicked the most valuable and most sentimental items. We put them in a climate controlled storage facility.

That left us with boxes and boxes of other stuff. You know, all those things that you don't need badly enough to take with you, but that you think you need to keep. We rented a self-storage unit for these things. It was one of those mini-storage, self-access places, the equivalent to a barebones garage.

And off we went to enjoy our freedom as new full-time RVers.

Bob wanted to use his chainsaw. It was in South Dakota; he was in Wisconsin. I wanted to cook in my cast iron. It was boxed up in SD; I was in Kentucky. We needed this or that -- but it was stored in SD and we were in Tennessee or some other state far from it. So, we bought the things we needed and what we had in storage stayed there, doing us no good. We were paying for storage and paying to buy replacements.

We pulled our stuff out of both the controlled climate storage and the mini-storage. It was a relief to not have that monthly bill. It was also a relief to not have the stuff there to think about. It ended the frustration of, "I've got one of these, but I can't get to it."

Some RVers put things in storage and have great luck with it. They go full-timing for a while. When they tire of RV life and travel, they retrieve their old belongings and go back to their old way of life.

Others use a storage facility because they like to visit their things every year or so. They take comfort in the idea that their extra screwdrivers and cake pans are there waiting for them. They think the benefits of keeping things is worth the cost.

For us, commercial storage was a waste. We used two different storage methods. We used two different storage companies. They were even in two different towns. But, the end result was the same for both -- expense and damaged belongings.

For more specifics, see the related articles on storage providers that I link to below.

Go to the page about our experience using a mini storage unit, with tips on how to make it a better experience for you.

Go to the page about our experience and suggestions for using a climate controlled storage facility.

Go to the RV Life and Travel blog from this page about your storage facility options.

Go to the RV Life and Travel home page to find more articles about RVs, RV camping, and full-time RVing.

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