Here are some tips to help you store your RV, your boat and your worldly goods!
RV STORAGE TIPS
How To Choose Your Storage Location
You need a safe home for your RV while you aren't out on an adventure. Our advice is to turn to a reputable RV storage facility.
Locations like the RV Storage Vault are the ideal environment for RV, boat, Semi-Truck Parking and self-storage.
We provide uncovered spaces and enclosed units for your RV and boat.
Look for a location that is safe, reliable, clean and well protected. A good facility that is gated, well lit and offers 24/7 surveillance cameras will protect your investment and give you peace of mind.
You should also carry insurance for your RV. Most storage facilities will require that you insure your asset.
Clean it up
Before you store it, it makes a lot of sense to give your RV a good wash and wax. The RV wax will help protect your RV from sun damage and keep the dirt from building up. It also makes clean-up after storage much less stressful and time consuming.
Once it is clean, make sure the silicon seams, caulking and rubber seals are secure. Repair any cracking or peeling (try an RV sealer) to prevent leaks or ways for insects to enter.
Make sure the roof is secure and well sealed as well.
Leave the curtains OPEN
You may think it makes sense to close your night time shades. Don't do it! If you have a small leak and you close all of your curtains or using night shades, you will produce a dark, damp environment, perfect for growing mold and mildew.
If you do get a bit of moisture in your RV, sunlight will help combat the mold that could grow.
Retract your slide-outs
Make sure to retract all of your slide-outs for storage. This way the mechanical parts, roof, slide toppers and rubber seals are not exposed to the elements and there is less chance for leaks. Make sure to clean the rubber RV seals, roof and mechanical parts underneath.
Keep the air flowing
Your unit should be well ventilated when you store. You don't want to open the door to a moldy, musty smelling RV.
That is never a good way to start a vacation. Leave the roof top vents open. If you have the right RV vent covers, you will get the air circulation you need without the moisture.
Drain the water - all of it
You should remove ALL water from the plumbing system including the water heater tank to prevent it from freezing and bursting your pipes.
Adding a bit of antifreeze to the piping, valves, drain “P” traps and a little bit into each waste tank will help make sure you don't have leaks and broken pipes or hoses. Follow your manufacturer's step by step guide to winterize your RV and boat.
Protect yourself from pests
It is important to make sure all external openings are blocked off or screened. Popular spots for bugs to encroach are rooftop plumbing vents, inside the exterior fridge panel and vent, the furnace exhaust and air intake piping.
Also, if you stuff steel wool and spray foam into underbelly access points, it will help keep rodents, chipmunks and squirrels from making your RV their new home.
Get rid of ALL food
Reduce temptation for pests by removing anything they might eat, including paper. Set out bowls of moth balls to deter rodents. They don't like the smell.
Seal your firewall
A scrap of metal over the gap will deter rodents and other critters.
Make sure your RV “Deep Cycle” batteries are fully charged before storage. No one wants a dead battery when they are ready to go on vacation!
Also, having the battery fully charged will assure it doesn't freeze in cold weather. After that, use the battery disconnect switch to ensure all power sources are disconnected. If have RV solar power, leave it plugged in to maintain the battery at full charge. It will make it more likely your RV starts up in the spring.
Clean the fridge and pantry
Clean out your fridge and freezer and prop them open to have air flow during storage. Keep the fridge and freezer turned off and doors propped open slightly to allow air to circulate and prevent mold buildup.
Seal access holes
Seal around tubes and hoses, even tiny holes. You'd be amazed at how little space a rodent needs to sneak through.
Maintain your tires
Nothing can slow you down faster than a blown tire. Keep your vehicle's tires in good shape and make sure they are clean and out of direct sunlight. Moving your RV every couple months is not a bad idea as long as you are not doing it in extreme cold conditions. If you are in an open parking space, even turning it 180 degrees can change the way the sun and weather hits it. If you can put the RV on leveler blocks to avoid pressure on one part of the tires, even better! If possible, try to take your RV for a spin every few months.
To cover or not?
While it is a pain to get on and off, covering your RV can save it from a lot of costly weather damage. Mother nature is not always kind to RV materials such as plastic, fiberglass, rubber and vinyl. The sun will take the sparkle and color right off your beautiful RV.
You might also consider renting one of our enclosed parking spaces (as availability allows).
Lock it up!
A great way to secure your RV better than the locks that came on it is to invest in a lock that goes around the kingpin. Pad locks and cylinder locks are great options.
Cover Up Inside
Don't overlook the interior of your RV. Place covers on your furniture to avoid dust and grime. This may also help fend off pests that want to burrow, chew, or otherwise destroy your sofas, chairs, and mattresses. And when you are ready to use your motor home again, you won't have to worry about dusting or vacuuming your furniture.
BOAT STORAGE TIPS
Clean and inspect your boat
Clean your boat before storing it. You can't properly protect your boat if there is dirt on the interior and exterior. Start at the bow and work toward the stern, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies where dirt likes to hide.
A mild soap and water solution will do the trick, but be sure you rinse it well.
Next, inspect your rigging for signs of wear or damage. You'll also need to check around your cleats and hooks for corrosion, which can eat away at ropes and wires over time.
A good cleaning with a mixture of hot soapy water should do the trick here too. Last, inspect any part covered in fuel or oil. If there are leaks, you'll have to clean them up before storing your boat again.
Next, check for dents or cracks in the fiberglass or gel coat. Repair as needed using quality marine-grade epoxy resin filler followed by a skim coat of high-bond primer surfacer to fair out imperfection.
Secure and removing your batteries. Make sure the terminals are clean from corrosion, which can damage their ability to hold a charge. Next, check cables for signs frayed wires or burned insulation.
Disconnect and remove batteries to protect from extreme temperatures. Store your batteries in a temperature controlled environment and reinstall them again at the beginning of the season.
Remove all the water by hosing it down and then using compressed air to blow out any remaining water. You also want to clean off any salt or dirt that may have built up.
Use an appropriate lubricant on all moving parts and apply a rust inhibitor to any metal surfaces. If you are not able to do this yourself, take your boat to a reputable marine service center for a full engine tune-up.
Moisture can be one of your biggest threats when it comes to preparing your boat for storage, especially during the cold season. You need to make sure all moisture is removed before putting your boat away for the winter. When you use a hose to clean out your engine compartment, be sure to open all the compartments.
Pay close attention to behind bulkheads or lockers where water gets trapped. Afterward, remove the drain plugs so they completely drain. Use a dry cloth or towel to absorb any moisture inside. If you have an onboard freshwater system, open the faucets so they can also drain.
In order to keep your boat stationary while in storage, use proper tie-downs. Whether you're using storage moorings or regular tie-downs, you need to make sure your boat is attached securely to protect it during storage and transport. This may seem like an obvious step, but it's surprisingly common for people to skip this essential step when preparing their boats for storage.
Rust never sleeps
Corrosion is one of the biggest enemies of winter boat storage.
A premium boat spray will help. Make sure to brush off dirt first, then wipe the whole surface down with a damp cloth before applying the corrosion prevention spray. Completely coat all metal surfaces, paying special attention to areas that are prone to corrosion, like trim tabs, rudders, and engine brackets.
The best way to protect your hull from corrosion is to use good-quality, moisture-cured polyurethane paint. You can protect all battery terminals with an anti-corrosive agent like Vaseline or WD-40.
This is especially important if you are using lead-acid batteries that are prone to corrosion around terminal posts once their protective coatings wear away.
Check the gasoline
Gasoline is another major factor to consider when getting your boat ready for storage. It's important to store your boat in a well-ventilated area, especially if you have a gas-powered engine. If you can, try and siphon out all the gasoline from the tank before storage.
This will help prevent moisture or condensation from building up inside and causing corrosion. If you can't siphon it all out, then add a fuel stabilizer to the tank. This will keep the gasoline fresh and help prevent build-up over time.
The best way to protect your boat from the harsh winter elements is use a quality storage cover. Not only will it keep the dust and dirt off, it will also help prevent fading and sun damage. Be sure to get a cover that is made specifically for boats, as they are designed to resist water, weather, and UV damage.
When choosing a storage cover, make sure you get the right size. It should be big enough to completely cover your boat, yet not so large that it becomes difficult to manage.
Have your boat winterized for storage. Since you're storing your boat in a colder climate, it's important to winterize the engine to protect it from freezing.
This involves adding an antifreeze mixture to the cooling system and then running the engine for a few minutes. If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, there are many marine mechanics who can do this for you.
Bedding, Clothing, Curtains, Drapes and Linens
Fabric items like clothing, curtains and drapes are best if stored on hangers. If hanging cartons are not available, such items should be carefully folded and stored in dresser drawers or cedar chests along with bedding and linens.
A refrigerator or freezer should be thoroughly dry and stored with its door slightly ajar. Some goods can be stored inside large appliances. Be sure to make a note if you place anything inside. Boxes can be stacked on top of stoves, refrigerators, and freezers. Make sure that stoves and cooking equipment are clean and dry before you pack them.
Dishes and Glassware
Place a layer of packing inside the bottom and the top of boxes containing glassware. All glass items should be individually wrapped: nest cups and bowls together and stand plates, saucers, and platters on their edge. Wrapped glasses should be placed near the top of cartons. Again, fill all open pockets with packing paper. Label all boxes containing glassware and do not place heavy items on top.
Place a pallet, corrugated cardboard mat, or plastic sheet on the floor before placing furniture. If possible, stand sofas and mattresses on end. Disassemble beds and tables and wrap table legs in paper. If a table will not disassemble, place padding on the floor and place the table on its top with the legs pointing up. Use dresser tops for stacking cartons and dresser drawers for linens or small, delicate items. Keep upholstery off the floor. Most lightweight chairs can be stacked “seat to seat” or placed upside down on tables, which cannot be disassembled. Finally, place a light cotton dust cover, such as a bed sheet, over your furniture.
Books and Documents
Pack books flat to protect the spines. Do not place boxes directly on concrete floors, but use pallets or skids to prevent moisture absorption. Use packing to fill all empty pockets in each box. Do not pack fragile items in the same box with books and do not overload.
Save the original cartons that contained delicate ornaments. Pad the ornaments with packing paper or newsprint. Wrap strings of lights around a piece of cardboard before placing in a carton lined with packing paper.
Mirrors, Windows, Glass Sheeting and Screens
These items should be stored on edges, not flat. We offer a selection of mirror/picture boxes that can be purchased at our office.
Metal tools should be cleaned and wiped with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil to prevent rust. Long handled tools such as rakes, shovels and hoes should be clean, lightly oiled and tied in bundles.
Bicycles and Other Metal Items
To avoid rust, wipe all metal surfaces with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil.
Mark Your Calendar
Make a timeline leading up to moving day for cleaning out, labeling, and organizing your life before you move. Take a little time each week or day to check off the list, one room or closet at a time.
Taking time to carefully load your storage space will ensure the best results for your belongings.
Leave Some Room
Leave air space around the perimeter to aid ventilation. Boxes of the same size make for easy stacking.
Clear a Path
Leave a walkway to the rear of your space for convenient access to all items.
Think Outside of the Box
Using plastic storage containers is a great option for accessibility without the hassle of packing tape.
Use Quality Materials
Use high-quality packing boxes designed especially for the job and seal them completely with packing tape.
Make a List and Plan Ahead
Create a list of labeled boxes for easy reference. Color coordinating or numbering each box is a great trick to stay organized.
Also, gather up plenty of sturdy, corrugated cartons, packing paper, bubble wrap, sealing tape and marker pens, along with any furniture covers or shelving you intend to use in your storage unit.
Keep, Give, Trash
A month before you move is a great time to clean house. Plan a trip to your local donation center with old clothes, toys or sporting equipment, garage and lawn gear. If something is broken, expired, or no longer of use, lighten your load and throw away what you won’t be taking with you.
Pack as much as you can in the same size boxes. Fill boxes tightly, but take care to neither overpack nor underpack. (Bulging cartons tip when stacked, while half full boxes tend to collapse). Use wadded up newsprint, bubblewrap, rags, towels, or blankets to fill in empty spaces. For maximum protection seal cartons with tape.
Pack heavy items such as books and tools in small boxes. For easier handling limit the weight of all cartons, regardless of size, to 30 lbs. or less.
Label All Boxes
Clearly label boxes so you know their contents, and keep a list (as well as pictures and descriptions) at your home or office for reference. Mark clearly all boxes containing fragile items.
Clean Stored Items
Clean and dry appliances before storing. Secure all movable parts with paper, or wedge and wrap a paper pad around each item for protection. During transport tape all doors shut, but remember to wedge them open for storage.
Store items you’ll need most often at the front of the unit. When you pack your storage unit, create a center aisle for access to all items.
Preparation Prior to Your Move
- Buy packing supplies
- Start packing boxes as soon as possible
- Send address change cards
- Get copy of school records
- Have clothing dry cleaned
- Check on items in repair shops
- Notify utilities and telephone companies
- Set a date for utility disconnection and hookup
- Return borrowed items and things you’ve lent out
Use bureau drawers to store small, fragile items. Secure items in drawer by filling empty spaces with towels or packing paper.
Protect chair legs by wrapping them in packing paper. Leave slipcovers on upholstered chairs and cover them with plastic chair covers.
Use Paper for Breakables
Use lots of paper to pack dishes and glassware. Place a layer of packing paper inside the bottom and top of cartons. Wrap each dish and glass separately and cushion them with crumpled paper. Plates are best stacked on edge. Pad mirrors and paintings with paper. Place them in special mirror packs or large boxes; mark boxes.
Separate Lamps and Lampshades
Wrap large lamp bases in padding and wrap smaller lamps completely before placing them in boxes. Pack delicate lamp shades separately. Do not use newsprint to wrap lamp shades or any other goods that may be damaged by ink stains. You can purchase unprinted wrapping paper, foam wrap or bubble wrap at our location to help protect delicate items. Do not store heavy items on top of cartons containing lamps or lampshades.
Don't Put Boxes on the Floor
Do not place boxes directly on concrete floors, but use pallets or skids to prevent moisture absorption.
- Discard all flammables, such as paint and gasoline
- Finish packing. Leave out items for moving day
- Empty and defrost refrigerator and freezer
- Have everything packed, except bedding
- Pick up ice and beverages
- Strip beds. Cover mattresses with mattress bags unless they are going in storage
- Turn water and lights off
- Lock windows and doors