Storage Tips

Five Locations in Shelbyville | Online Rental | Immediate Access


Storage Tips to Help You Avoid Common Problems

Protect your belongings and vehicles with these handy storage tips provided by American Way Storage. Also, consider reading the instructions found in your product’s user manual for more details.

Long-Term Care for Your Vehicle

Be sure to store your vehicle inside to avoid harmful sun and weather that can dry out seals, paint, tires, and other valuable items.

Common Packing Tips

  • 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
  • Lawnmowers: 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
  • Photos: Photographs tend to curl over time. To keep them flat, place them 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 dish packs
  • 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: 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

RV Tips for Storage

  • Review owner’s manual for engine, LP gas, generator, water heater, and sanitation system storage tips
  • Remove all perishable food from cabinets
  • Turn off the refrigerator; verify all power sources are off by checking 12 volts, 110 volts, 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 motorhomes, 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.)

Ten Tips to Follow Before Your RV Hits the Road

To prepare your recreation vehicle for that first day of travel, follow these ten tips – don’t forget to refer to your owner’s manual for specific maintenance instructions:

  • Do some spring cleaning – First things first. Remove any protective covers and wash the exterior. Air out the interior by opening all roof vents and windows. Remove any pest control items you may have placed to protect interior and exterior compartments during winter storage. Clean or replace air conditioner filters
  • Check the exterior – Inspect the roof and body for signs of damage. Look for deterioration of seals around the doors, roof vents, and windows, and reseal if necessary. Remember, you must remove old sealant before applying new sealant. Lubricate hinges, locks, and other moving parts. If you have an awning, roll it out and check for damage, mildew, and insects. Inspect the headlights, including high and low beams, taillights, brake lights and turn signals. If you have a towable RV, be sure to examine the hitch system for wear, loose bolts, and cracks
  • Change the engine oil and spark plugs – Many RV and motorhome manufacturers recommend that, in addition to regularly scheduled oil changes, you change the engine oil and filter twice a year: prior to storage and in the spring. During storage, the oil can separate, causing a condensation build-up that may harm your engine. While you’re changing the oil, replace the spark plugs. Use a gap setting tool to set the gaps to the manufacturer’s recommendations. You also should check and clean the carburetor or service the fuel injection system, replace the air filter, top off the brake and power steering fluids and change the transmission fluid and filter
  • Check the battery – Clean the cables and terminals with a wire brush, then grease and reconnect. Depending on your battery, you may have to fill the cells with distilled water
  • Check the cooling and fuel systems – Flush and replace the old antifreeze with a proper coolant. Check for cracks in all hoses and fan belts and replace, if necessary. Replace the fuel filter and examine the fuel lines and fittings for cracks and leaks
  • Flush the water system – Close all faucets, including the showerhead. Drain and flush the non-toxic antifreeze used to store your RV from your entire water system. You may have to flush the system several times to remove the chlorine taste
  • Check the Liquid Propane (LP) system – Connect the tank, open the valve and check the system for leaks by brushing soapy water on all connections. If you detect any leaks, close the valve and take your RV to a professional repair facility
  • Inspect the Tires – Check the tires for cracks, worn treads, and correct tire pressure. If you have a trailer, remove the storage blocks or jacks. Tighten the lug nuts to manufacturer’s specifications
  • Prepare for a safe season – Even after you’ve checked all the mechanical components, you should never set out on a trip without proper safety equipment. Install new batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the expiration dates on fire extinguishers. Restock the supplies in the first aid kit
  • Be sure you’re covered – After making all the routine checks listed above, check your insurance policy and review your coverage

How to Organize Your Storage Unit

  • 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 towards 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 your 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