RV & Boat Storage Tips
The following steps can be taken to protect your RV or boat while in storage. Additionally, specific procedures recommended by the RV or boat manufacturer, chassis manufacturer and appliance producers should be closely considered.
For the best long term care, store your vehicle in an area protected from the sun’s harmful rays. A storage unit with a roof is recommended
|Review owner’s manual for engine, LP gas, generator, water heater and sanitation system storage tips.|
|Remove all perishable food from cabinets.|
|Turn off refrigerator, verify all power sources are off by checking 12 volt, 110 volt and LP gas.|
|Remove all food from the refrigerator, clean the inside and leave the door open to ventilate.|
|Clean rooftop air conditioner filters and cover the outside unit.|
|Clean the interior of the RV, pull shades and close blinds.|
|Turn off the propane cylinders and cover the regulator.|
|Cover or tape vents to the furnace and range hood for long-term storage.|
|Ensure all roof vents and windows are closed. Prevent condensation if necessary by using chemical-type dehumidifiers.|
|Check tire pressure and cover the tires if they will be exposed to the sun.|
|Inspect roof, body, interior, soft molding and caulking.|
|Service locks with spray lubricant to prevent rust and freezing.|
|Remove batteries, store in an area not subject to freezing and test periodically; charge if necessary.|
|In motor homes, check all operating fluid levels under the hood and top off the gasoline tank. Add a fuel stabilizer.|
|Empty and thoroughly rinse all holding tanks. In winter, all water tanks, lines and pumps should be drained and filled with non-toxic RV antifreeze to keep any remaining water from freezing the system. (Never use automobile antifreeze of any kind in your water system!)|
|Prepare your engine in accordance with the owner’s manual. In winter, this will normally include draining and flushing the cooling system; draining and refilling the crankcase; applying oil to inside of each cylinder through the spark plug holes; and other preservative actions.|
|Thoroughly clean the hull, decks, cockpit, bilge, all compartments, lockers and the exterior of engine and coat with an appropriate wax or preservative.|
|Drain fuel lines, pumps, carburetor and tanks or fill completely and add fuel stabilizer.|
|Leave all floorboards up, doors ajar, ports and skylights open, hatches partly open, drawers and lockers open.|
|Carefully fit a well-made cover, provided with ventilation ports. If boat is to be stored outdoors, make sure there are no low spots in the cover that will hold rainwater.|
|Place a cover over engine. Do not leave the engine exposed to the sun or rain.|
|Don’t forget the trailer; check tire pressure and cover tires if they will be exposed to the sun, check and pack wheel hubs if necessary and lubricate jack.|
And finally, note dates of registration, tags, certificates and insurance, etc. and plan for renewal if they expire during your storage term.
Preparing Items for Storage
|Place all smaller items in uniformly sized boxes. Completely fill each box with heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on the top. Uniformly sized boxes stack easier and conserve storage space.|
|Books. Pack books flat, not standing on end. This will protect the spines which will bend and warp over time if stood upright. Books are very heavy, so pack them in small boxes and don’t put them in boxes with other, more fragile, items.|
|Lawn Mowers. Drain gasoline and oil from all small engines. This precaution will protect both your stored property and the property of others from the dangers of fire and explosion.|
|Mattresses. Place mattresses in plastic covers to protect them from dust and moisture.|
|Leather Items. Treat leather items (couches, clothes, etc.) with a leather conditioner prior to storing them. Keep furniture items off the floor by placing them on pallets.|
|Blankets, Draperies and Clothing. Have blankets, draperies and clothing cleaned, then pack them on hangers in wardrobe boxes.|
|Mirrors and Pictures. Store mirrors and pictures inside similarly sized knocked down boxes. This affords them protection from scratches and dust.|
|Furniture and Tables. Place blankets over furniture to protect from scratches and dust.|
|Photos. Photographs tend to curl over time. To keep them flat, place between pieces of cardboard and tape them together. Do not store irreplaceable photos. Photos and negatives take up very little space. Try to keep these items with you.|
|Breakable Items. Wrap breakable items inside bubble wrap and store with linens.|
|Dishes and Glassware. Store these items in specially made boxes called dishpacks.|
|Pillows and Toys. Store smaller items like this in large plastic garbage bags.|
|Label boxed items. You’ll know what is in each box without opening it.|
|Appliances. Clean and dry all appliances prior to storage. Do not leave anything inside of appliances to be stored. Store all appliances upright with doors ajar to allow ventilation.|
|Do not store these items: Furs, jewelry and other expensive items, irreplaceable items, any living thing, used tires, firearms, explosives, flammables of any kind (gas, diesel, oil, paint, etc.), drugs or drug paraphernalia, stolen items, any type of hazardous items, perishable items of any kind, hazardous waste materials of any kind, items that produce odors or any item that will in any way make other tenants or the manager unhappy.|
Organizing your Storage Unit
- Use wooden pallets or boards underneath furniture and boxes. This will prevent condensation from damaging them.
- Leave a small airspace between your stored items and the wall of the storage unit for ventilation.
- Store items that will not be needed to the rear of the storage unit and items you will need access to toward the front of the unit.
- Store heavy items on the bottom and lightweight items on top.
- Store smaller, more valuable items to the rear of the storage unit and large items toward the front of the unit.
- Cover everything with plastic sheeting. Wooden furniture should first be covered with blankets to avoid abrasion and moisture damage. Plastic sheeting will protect your stored goods from both dust and water damage.
- Pack your storage unit as tightly as possible. Tighter packing helps to protect stored items from moisture and dust and reduces the space needed to store you property.
- Use a high quality disc (round) padlock to secure your storage unit. This type of lock is difficult to cut or break and offers maximum protection for very little money.