How To Prepare Your RV For Winter

One of the best things about being an RV owner is being able to take your home-on-wheels pretty much anywhere while seeing the country and taking in nature.

But like any home, RVs need constant maintenance. And with northern winters being as extreme as they are (with the exception of Vancouver and Vancouver Island), you probably won’t be traveling much during the dark season.

If you live where it gets below freezing and you leave your RV parked outside, you’ll need to winterize your RV. If you don’t:

  • Your pipes and water lines could burst
  • Snow and ice could damage your awnings
  • Low temperatures could shorten the lifespan of your battery and deflate your tires
  • Exterior seams on the body could split
  • Your paint could start peeling

Whether you plan to park in your driveway or at a secure storage facility, here are 8 tips to winterize your RV:

1. Drain your water system while making sure all faucets are open. Remove any water filters and close the faucets before you fill the system with antifreeze (check your system’s manual to make sure you’re doing this correctly). You should also have a hot water heater bypass system so you don’t waste antifreeze.

2. Remove batteries if possible. If you need to leave them in the vehicle, make sure they’re fully charged before cold weather hits. Low temperatures can drain battery juice, and it’s much more likely to happen if your battery isn’t fully charged.

3. Turn off any electronic devices that might drain the battery (if you’ve left the battery in the RV).

4. Clean and close your awnings. It might seem like common sense, but it bears repeating. Snow and ice can quickly damage fabric, so don’t leave them open all winter. Wash them so they’re nice and clean the next time you take out the RV. But make sure your awnings are completely dry before closing them – you don’t want to develop mold or mildew.

5. Clean the fridge. It should go without saying, but make sure you’ve emptied and wiped it down so you don’t develop mold or attract pests. Talk about an unsightly spring surprise!

6. Cover your tires. Cold weather can deflate your tires and moisture can also seep in, causing a number of potential problems. Covering them also protects your tires from UV damage.

7. Keep your insurance policy up to date. You can get storage-specific insurance during the winter, which covers stationary threats like fire, theft, and vandalism. If you don’t have space to park your RV all winter (or want to free up your driveway), Advanced Self Storage has affordable outdoor vehicle storage that’s fenced and monitored 24/7. It’s much more secure than a home driveway or street parking.

8. Have a pro winterize your RV if you don’t know what you’re doing. Call your local RV dealer and see what kind of winterizing packages they offer.

Follow these tips and you’ll help prevent the elements from causing unnecessary damage to your rig. Your vehicle will last longer and you’ll be able to confidently get back to RVing this spring!

Tips For Moving Solo

Moving is difficult enough. But having to do it alone? Not fun. It’s stressful just thinking about it, right?

It can cost thousands to hire movers, especially if you live in anything bigger than a one-bedroom apartment. Some people rent a U-Haul and ask friends or family to lend a hand in exchange for some cold drinks. And we’re grateful for our loved ones who donate their time and energy.

However, this isn’t always possible. Maybe you need to move on a weekday but can’t find someone to help. Or you could be moving to a new city where you don’t know anybody at all.

These tips will get you ready to organize your move so you can enjoy your new place – even if you don’t have a sidekick.

Make a checklist

Come up with a packing strategy early. Create a checklist and start packing room by room. You can organize the content of your boxes by item type (ex. pots and pans) or location (ex. the entire contents of a bookshelf or drawer – let’s not pretend we’re all perfect here).

Here’s a starting point for taking inventory of a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment:

Kitchen

  • Pots
  • Pans
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cutlery
  • Small appliances
  • Mugs
  • Glasses/Cups
  • Bowls
  • Large plates
  • Small plates
  • Baking sheets/dishes
  • BBQ tools
  • Soft items (dish towels, oven mitts)
  • Bar contents (bottles, accessories)

Bedroom

  • Pants
  • Shirts
  • Socks/underwear
  • Jackets/coats
  • Shoes
  • Formal/business wear
  • Hats
  • Seasonal clothing
  • Accessories (jewelry, belts, etc.)
  • Other stored items (side table drawers, shelves, etc.)

Bathroom

  • Toiletries
  • Hair care products
  • Skin products
  • Storage bins and accessories

Living Room

  • Books
  • Electronics
  • Decorative items (statues, bookends, vases)
  • Plants

Other

  • Sports equipment
  • Games
  • Costumes
  • Wall art/mirrors
  • Musical instruments
  • Figurines/collectibles

Don’t forget to leave out any essentials like daily toiletries and a few kitchen items to keep you going before you move. Start disassembling less used furniture a few weeks in advance, and take apart your final pieces 24-48 hours before moving day.

Tips for packing alone

When you’re moving alone, you might be worried about how you’ll transport fragile or awkward-shaped items. Here are some tips to make the process easier:

  • Pack heavy items (like books) in smaller boxes.
  • If you’ll be stacking boxes, completely fill each one so they don’t collapse under the weight of others.
  • Wrap mirrors and pictures in bubble wrap or use mirror boxes.
  • Disassemble as much as possible in advance. Place screws and bolts in plastic bags and tape them to the items.
  • Protect mattresses and furniture with pads and covers. You can rent these from a storage company like Advanced Self Storage or from a moving company.
  • Use a dolly (something you can also borrow or rent) so you can move long or awkward items.

Rent a storage unit to avoid rushing

The toughest thing about moving alone is having to get it all done in one day. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t need to?

One way to avoid the rush is to rent a storage unit so you can move at your own pace. If you don’t want to spend the first few weeks in your new digs drowning in unpacked boxes – or you want to paint or renovate before settling in – self storage could be a perfect temporary home for your stuff.

If you go the storage unit route, here are some tips to maximize space: 

  • Store couches and loveseats vertically.
  • Never store mirror boxes and TV boxes horizontally.
  • Disassemble tables and shelves and store items on their sides.
  • If you’re in a bigger unit, leave a clear aisle for easy access to everything.
  • Be sure to clean and dry fridges and barbecues before storing.

If you want to know more about how a storage unit could give you freedom to move at your own pace, get in touch with us!

3 reasons to get a back-to-school storage unit

3 reasons to get a back-to-school storage unit

Early mornings. Homework. Rides to school. It’s that time of year again!

September might have the kids crying and screaming about the end of summer break, but it doesn’t have to be doom and gloom for you. You can’t put a price on a good education, right?

Every year is a good year to make a change, especially when it means things will be quieter around the house. Peace, silence, and time? You can finally tackle the clutter and get your home back to the state it was in before summer hit.

Here are three reasons to get a storage unit this September:

  1. They’re moving back to campus

If your ‘big kids’ are flying the coop for the school season, there’s no reason to keep their clutter around. Turn their room into an office or yoga den and move their bedroom set and extra clothes into storage. It might even inspire you to move their childhood ‘keep’ pile out of the house (so they don’t threaten to ‘disown’ you).

This brings us to our next point:

  1. The kids won’t let you toss their stuff


They’ve collected too much stuff over the years and you don’t know what to do with it all. You’ve asked them to give up the old to make room for the new, but they throw a tantrum – even the teens – when asked to choose what to toss. 

While you’re the parent and you could choose for them, a temporary compromise would be to get a small storage unit in the meantime. It’ll be easier to go through everything together if it’s in one place – plus it’ll help relieve some of the tension at home.

  1. There’s no room at home for summer stuff

    Who has room for inflatable crocodiles, baseball bats, unicorn-themed sprinklers and beach toys at home year-round? Instead of cramming summer toys and clothes into an already-full closet for the next 8 months, get a small off-site storage unit so you have more room to breathe this winter.

    Organize everything by type (ex. Sports equipment, pool toys) and carefully pack them in labelled plastic bins. Stack the bins in your new storage unit or add shelving for easier access.

With the household adjusting to the routine of the new school year, getting clutter out of the way will free up both floor space and mental space. Imagine how excited the kids will be to come home and see how fresh and clean the house is!

3 ways a storage unit can help Vancouver homeowners through the inflation crisis

It isn’t just the summer heat; Canadians were already sweating from inflation being at a 40-year high. When the Bank of Canada announced a 1% interest hike, mortgage-bound homeowners and investors really started to tremble.

With a 2.5% interest rate – the highest it’s been in years – the market is heading toward what could finally be that ‘bubble pop’ realtors in Canada’s biggest markets have been speculating about for years.

Vancouver is already experiencing the repercussions, which some might argue include an overdue drop in value. Prior to the recent interest hike, you needed an annual household income of over $200k to afford property in Vancouver

If you’re one of those people looking to bow out of the mortgage and downsize – or reduce stress at home while you’re deciding if you can afford to move forward with your payments – here are some ways self storage can give you a much-needed break:

  1. Downsize your home

    While high interest rates are stopping some people from entering the market, not all is lost. Buyers are still snatching up properties, albeit not at the rate (or price) they were five years ago. A buyer’s market means you should be able to unload your property, even if you have to cut your losses.

    If you don’t want to sell, think about bringing in tenants to soften the mortgage blow while you rent a smaller home or apartment. A smaller property means lower utility bills, too. 

Rent a storage unit to hold furniture, valuables, and any other belongings that don’t fit in your downsized property. One day you’ll be in a better position – or you’ll find that a simpler, scaled back lifestyle is actually just what you needed.

  1. Maximize space to reduce stress


If things are starting to get tense at home, make more space. “How can you say that when stress is the reason we’re thinking about selling?” Well, you can get more space without physically increasing your square footage: by decluttering. Less clutter means more space, more mental freedom, and more control of your environment.

We may not have control of inflation and interest rates, but we can take back some of that control at home. The process of cleaning and decluttering alone can reduce stress. And that’ll hopefully result in less tension between family members.

Moving lower priority items into a storage locker will free up a ton of space at home. You’ll still be able to access your belongings when you need them while knowing they’re just as safe (if not safer) in a secure self-storage facility.

  1. Say no to warehouse space


If you own commercial real estate and can downsize part of your operation, this is the time. If you have inventory or lower priority items clogging up a warehouse, move them into offsite storage and relocate your office into a smaller space. Chances are a monthly storage unit will cost you less than the difference in monthly mortgage payments.

Even though we’re dealing with the highest one-time interest rate increase in over 20 years, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. There are always options, but it can be tough to see them during stressful times. 

Trust that you’re doing the best you can and regain a little control over your finances!

One Way Canadians Can Support Ukrainian Refugees In Your City

When you think about reasons to be grateful to be Canadian, look no further than local mom Stephanie Clark and other volunteers in North Vancouver who have come together to help Ukrainian families displaced by war.

Over 12 Million Ukrainians have fled their homes following the Russian invasion in March 2022 and over 55,000 of those arrived in Canada between January 1 and June 26.

The government of Canada is offering a program for Ukrainians to work or study in Canada for up to three years, but they’re only providing limited financial assistance. Finding housing is the biggest hurdle for these refugees, says Ihor Michalchyshyn, executive director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – especially in expensive cities like Vancouver.

Stephanie wanted to do more to help, so she decided to band together with neighbours and open their homes to refugees through a public bulletin website called Ukraine Take Shelter. They connected with three families – all extended relatives of each other – whose homes were destroyed and who escaped with only a backpack.

While they had some savings, the value of Ukrainian currency was so low compared to the Canadian dollar they knew it wouldn’t go far once they got to Canada. Thanks to Stephanie’s act of kindness, they were able to get past the initial challenge and not worry about money while they figured out their next steps.

As of June 29, the families – 6 adults and 3 children – are now living in their interim homes in North Van.

Getting to Canada was one major hurdle, but the family breadwinners are now in the process of finding employment, working on their English skills, and getting their kids into school.

Generous people have been donating things like furniture and clothing for the refugee families, but until they’ve secured long-term housing there isn’t enough space in the hosts’ homes. We’ve donated a locker at our North Vancouver location to store donated items in the meantime.

Because of Good Samaritans like Stephanie, three families have places to live while they get settled. And they finally have a chance to breathe after months burdened by stress.

If you have the space to host a refugee family, please consider it. If you’d like to donate and support the families staying with Stephanie and her neighbours, click here for the GoFundMe page.