6 Unique Self-Storage Issues in Florida
Ah, Florida. Sun, beaches, ocean, Gulf of Mexico … plus gators, lizards, everglades, hurricanes and tourist-filled theme parks. Florida is unique, so it makes sense that the storage issues are unique as well. Here are some of the uniquely Floridian storage issues.
1. A Humid Climate
Florida is muggy and hot, so storing things like clothing, papers, photographs and even furniture means more TLC. Most Florida homes do not have basements, and many do not have functional attics either.
That leaves the garage or a shed (if you have one) and the danger of extreme temperature and humidity that encourages mold and mildew to grow, which will destroy important papers, paintings, photographs, clothing or furniture.
Storing valuable papers and photographs in acid-free archival boxes is a good solution, and keep them on a shelf in your home that remains climate-controlled. Avoid using plastic boxes because that can trap moisture and encourage mildew and mold growth.
2. Rain, Hurricanes and Flooding
Florida’s weather is one of the attractions for people to visit or live there, but it also poses some special challenges. As we have already mentioned, humidity and mold and mildew go hand in hand, so you need to take special care when storing your items.
In addition, you need to factor in the risk of rain, weather or flooding when you are deciding where to store your items. Flash floods are not uncommon in tropical areas, and Florida is no stranger to torrential rain and hurricanes.
If you store items in your garage, make sure you don’t store anything valuable directly on the floor. Use shelving or pallets.
Store clothing, photos or important papers on a shelf in a closet, so your items are in a climate-controlled environment. Also, if you do experience flooding, they will be safer in a closet or on a shelf.
3. Location, Location, Location
You can have your beachfront condo, but you might have to sacrifice things like closets for a sunset on the beach. Most Florida homes do not have basements, and many don’t have garages, opting instead for carports. They also don’t have functional attics because the spaces simply get too hot.
So while you may be trading scraping ice off your car for shorts year-round, you might also be sacrificing storage space. Sure, you can get rid of the down coat, but seasonal decor still happens!
You will also need a spot for temporary hurricane shutters because hurricanes happen, and protecting your home with hurricane shutters is essential. They take a lot of room, leaving less room for other things.
4. Creepy Crawlies
A wide variety of creepy crawlies call Florida home, including fire ants, cockroaches, rats, mice, termites, fleas, ticks, spiders and many other crawling, flying or spinning critters. Mostly, they just want to be left in peace and maybe have a little nosh on your food, clothing, furniture, photos and paper.
Avoid storing things like bath products, candles, essential oils, food (including pet food) or other scented items that will attract and entice creepy crawlies to your unit. Ants won’t know the citrus smell is in the bath soap and will just follow the scent and then stick around.
And, as most Floridians know, a pest control service is key.
5. Camper and RV Fun
Many people call Florida home for the winter months after fleeing the snow and cold from northern states. They then return to their homes for the summer. As an alternative to owning a second property, many people purchase RVs or campers to live in while they are in Florida and store them during the off-season.
6. Watercraft Hobbies
Boats, seadoos, kayaks, canoes, waterskis, fishing gear, paddle boats and other toys for the water all take space, so having a place to keep them safe and sound is important. Many insurance claims are made in the off-season when boats are damaged by wind, rain, hurricanes or other natural events.
If you have a small boat on a trailer, you might be able to park it in a field in a fenced, locked enclosure for a couple of hundred dollars. You won’t have much protection from the sun, wind, rain and tropical weather, though.
Many marinas will let you park a boat on a trailer for a fee, but they won’t park or move it for you or launch it when it’s fun-in-the-sun time. You will still need a way to tow the boat and launch it.
How Self-Storage Can Help You Tackle Unique Storage Issues in Florida
Store Outdoor Gear and Toys
It can be challenging to find enough space to keep all your outdoor gear safe -- especially big items like boats. One solution for all your watercraft toys is a self-storage unit. For more, see our Ultimate Guide to Boat Storage.
And then, of course, there are the campers and RVs. Sure, you can park it on your driveway for the off-season, but forget about your garage or your grass, and you also might get a note from the head of the Homeowners’ Association.
Draping a tarp or three over the vehicle and securing it with a couple of bungee cords isn’t going to offer adequate protection, especially if you are parking it during hurricane season. If you tie it down too tight, you could encourage the growth of mold and mildew; too loose, and the humidity and rain will hasten rust, especially if the water gets trapped under the tarp.
You want to keep your investment somewhere safe. Sure, self-storage facilities cost more than a tarp, but peace of mind is worth it. Here is a guide to RV storage.
Combat the Climate and Weather
If you have things like photos, books and important papers, put them in acid-free archival boxes, on pallets or shelving, and never in cardboard boxes. A good solution is a climate-controlled self-storage unit.
With a range of sizes and price points, they can provide extra storage while protecting your valuables. (See: 3 Reasons You Might Need a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit.)
Pro tip: Since Florida flood insurance has to be purchased separately, you’ll want to include your self-storage unit on your policy. Your typical house insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage.
If you are choosing a self-storage facility, ask about the history of flooding and if possible, rent a unit above the ground floor. Use pallets, tarps or shelving to elevate your items off the ground.
Instead of cardboard boxes, use plastic storage bins. Cardboard boxes will retain water and are susceptible to mold and mildew.
A good self-storage unit can help keep out the usual pests. If you are considering storing your items in a self-storage facility, take the time to visit in person so you can check the level of cleanliness.
Ask about the storage facility’s pest control measures, check your unit carefully for signs of infestation and report any issues to management as soon as you spot them.
Before you place your items in the unit, give them a good cleaning, package them properly, and while you’re in the cleaning mood, give your unit a good scrubbing as well.
Check your items periodically and check for signs of damage or infestation. Bring it to the attention of the facility manager as soon as you notice anything because pests are equal opportunity invaders and can quickly spread through the units.
Florida is a go-to destination for sun-seekers and has many unique attractions, but it also has some unique storage challenges. With a little extra help from a self-storage unit (Our Miami / LIttle Havana Location), you can enjoy peace of mind in the Sunshine State. Give our helpful staff at Storage Post a call at our Florida location.
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