For those who live and work in their RVs, the camping season never really ends. For the rest of us, there comes a time when we have to put away the camper for the season. This isn’t always easy to do, for more reasons than one. First, it signals that the cold winds are about to blow (if they haven’t already started) and that spring seems like a long way off. The second problem is a more practical one. What to do with the RV until you’re ready to hit the road again?
After all, your RV or camper cost as much as a new car… or possibly even several new cars. It is your mobile vacation home, but your recreational vehicle also represents an investment of your hard-earned dollars that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Then again, in the current economic times, any way you can save money can make a real difference. So let’s look at some of your RV storage options, ranging from economical to expensive.
The lucky ones among us have a simple solution, which is to park the RV in the driveway or “out back.” The cost for this option is nil, but there can be drawbacks. Some towns and neighborhood associations have strict rules about RV storage. It may not be allowed, so it’s worth checking beforehand with your local town hall or neighborhood association bylaws. That simple step could save you a lot of headache if the neighbors decide to complain in February and you have to scramble for another RV storage solution.
Also, you should consider that even if there’s nothing in the rules about RVs, your neighbors may not enjoy looking out their sliding glass doors to their manicured backyard… and your aluminum-paneled RV looming over the landscape. This is a true story… a couple bought a house and discovered that the neighbors used the adjacent yard to park their RV for the winter. So, the couple put up a tall fence and planted trees to soften the view. That worked fine until the neighbors bought an even bigger RV, which they parked in the same spot! The neighbors couldn’t see this new camping trailer, but it got to be a real eyesore for the couple, who planted even bigger trees.
Another affordable option might be to park your RV or camping trailer on a large property that a friend or relative owns. Be forewarned, however, that even if the price is right, this is not professional storage. Another true story campers made an arrangement to store their RV at a large farm owned by friends. They parked beside a barn to help protect their RV from the weather. But one night the barn caught on fire, and their RV was destroyed. (Fortunately, no one was using it at the time.)
You may also be able to arrange with a campground owner to park your RV there for the winter. This is more of an option at campgrounds that don’t have year-round camping. Depending on the circumstances, the campground might welcome a little extra income.
Creative Storage Solutions
When the things in your home start crowding in around you and you’re short on cash, it’s time to come up with some creative storage solutions. Don’t be afraid to think “out of the box”. You’re the only one who has to know where everything is stored.
- A cedar chest can be used for blanket storage. I don’t have enough cupboard space for blankets, and they all fit nicely in the chest. The chest also doubles as a coffee table in the living room. The blankets are easily accessible and can easily be folded up and put away at a moment’s notice.
- My daughter and I found an old apple crate (fruit labels still attached) with a shelf built into it at a yard sale for about $5. The crate is a great storage area for books and doubles as a nightstand.
- An old china cupboard displays dishes I didn’t want to hide away in the kitchen cupboards and also provides extra storage space for linens and silverware. This cabinet was found neglected in grandma’s basement and was brought back to life with a little sanding and new paint. It is now a beautiful addition to our dining room.
- Large plastic containers are great for organizing kids’ rooms. My daughter had a lot of “stuff” stashed all over her room, and we gathered it all up and put all her arts and crafts supplies in one big container, and her writing materials in another. Homework is organized in a plastic container set up as a file organizer, organized by subject.
- Look outside for creative storage ideas. We had to clean out our spare bedroom and had no idea where to put our camping equipment. We don’t have a garage or a shed, so an old camper shell turned out to be the perfect solution. All our camping gear fit into it with room to spare, freeing up more room in the house.
- Organize seasonal decorations in large plastic containers. Plastic wears better than cardboard and if you buy similarly sized containers, they will stack easily and be easy to store.
- A long flat underbed-type plastic storage container is great for organizing holiday gift wrap. With the wrapping paper I store scissors, tape, gift bags, ribbon, bows, and extra cards. This container fits perfectly under one of our living room couches and all my gift-giving supplies are together in one place!
- Shop for furniture that doubles as extra storage space. We bought a cabinet for my husband’s 55 gallon aquarium and the entire bottom part of the cabinet is open for approximately six feet of additional storage space.
3 Ways to Add Storage Space to Your Yard
If you’re an avid do-it-yourselfer or outdoor hobbyist, chances are you could use more storage space for your tools and equipment. Yet, staying organized while keeping everything you need close at hand when you’re toiling in the yard is challenging. Here are three simple strategies you can use to de-clutter your garage without missing a beat when it comes to working outdoors.
- Get a Shed
Whether you want to get your own shed or simply place a pre-assembled model in a corner of your yard, there’s no trumping this tried-and-true storage solution. While you may have balked at adding a garden shed in the past because you found them unsightly and unappealing, perhaps it’s time you revisited the idea. Sheds have come a long way from the flimsy, rust-prone metal buildings of yesteryear.
Country cottage-style sheds and miniature barn-shaped buildings have become popular and affordable. These can be customized to blend in seamlessly with the theme of your yard or the appearance of your home, all while providing safe and secure storage for your tool and equipment collections.
2. Add Creative Yard and Patio Furniture
Deck boxes and storage benches are multipurpose patio furnishings that make it easier to get organized. Both are disguised as seats, but when you lift their lids and look inside, you’ll find deep and compartmentalized storage space. These products are ideal for storing small tools and accessories for hoses, lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other large pieces of lawn and garden equipment.
3. Rack it Up
Whether you want to cut down on the amount of space your firewood stacks are swallowing up or find a place for those often-used tools that just don’t seem to fit anywhere else, shelving and racks provide an economical and easy answer. The key advantage of outdoor storage racks is that they can easily fit against your house, along your fence or in any other corner of your yard. For added security, choose outdoor shelves with locking compartments; this will give you peace of mind as well as fast access to the things you need when you’re working in the garden.
You can supplement these strategies with a little imagination – if you’re sick and tired of digging your rake out of your garage, hammer a nail into a tree, drill a hole through the top of your rake’s handle and hang it up outside. Use what’s available to you; if you’ve got a trailer or camper that sits in your back yard when it’s not in use, store things in it until you’re ready for your next trip. Evaluate your needs by considering what you already have and you’ll save money, time and effort on your outdoor organization.