Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Full-time RVing – Storing off-season clothing

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

For those moving over into the full-time RV lane, some are still looking in the rear-view mirror. Here’s a question: If you’ve got too many clothes to carry with you, how can you safely store the stuff you won’t be using this season?

Much depends on your “storage unit.” Some full-timers have found that if they have a friend or relative with an extra closet in their home, the problems are basically non-existent. They have a “climate-controlled” area and things can just hang out waiting for them. But if you rent a storage unit or put stuff away in a non-climate-controlled area, things can get a bit more complicated.

For many, it’s a matter of being on the lookout for moisture issues. If you can put your clothes away in plastic bins, that will keep them clean and away from dust. However, moisture may still be able to get into the clothing in the box, leading to a smelly, mildewy mess. Some put the clothes in the box, then add a “Damp-Rid” style commercial product to the box. Close the lid on your clothes – and seriously consider sealing it up with tape.

One bit of advice with the “clothes in a box” trick: DON’T store shoes or boots in the same container with clothing. Hate to say it, but if the shoes smell, they’ll be sure to permeate the clothing with an unacceptable odor. Give shoes, particularly the stink-foot-prone varieties like nasty sneakers and hiking boots, their own container. Again, a Damp-Rid product will help keep the moisture down. One thing you don’t want is mildew or mold growth on those spendy hiking boots!

Garments that need to hang can be treated in a somewhat similar manner. You’ll need to shop around for garment bags that can truly be sealed up against moisture and bugs. Put Damp-Rid in the bottom of the garment bag, add clothing, seal up securely, and hang away.

If you’re using a storage unit or other outdoor facility, you might be ahead to cover over those boxes and sealed up hanging garment bags with some inexpensive plastic drop cloths. That way, if dust does infiltrate your storage area, you won’t have as much of a mess to clean up before you can safely open your stored containers.

In any event, before storing your garments, make sure they’re clean and dry. And if you’re putting “used” containers to work, make sure they’re clean and odor free.

Some RVers have found the best way to store clothes they’re not actively using is to “store them” at the thrift store. Rather than paying storage fees, worrying about the condition the clothes will be in on return, or worrying that the clothes will have “shrunk” in your absence (a side-benefit of happy RVing sometimes is a bit of waist-gain), or gone out of style, just buy “new” duds at the thrift store when needed.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Bill (@guest_13618)
6 years ago

Making sure clothes are clean before storage is very important. We used “space bags” which allow the air to be vacuumed out so they were flat enough to fit under our sofa. Unfortunately, we acquired an unwanted passenger, a mouse, who chewed through the bag to get at what was probably a tiny bit of food spilled on my wife’s favorite outfit.

Grumpyoldtimer (@guest_13400)
6 years ago

Perhaps there is another solution. Maybe one has too many or the wrong clothes if they don’t fit in a full time RV. We had this issue our first year full timing. We have since eliminated many of the colder weather clothes as we adjusted our wardrobes. Layers with long sleeve denim shirts and one heavier jacket now takes care of all our colder weather issues. And denim shirts are extremely versatile from sun protection and moisture retention in the desert to a colder weather layer. Shorts, jeans, t shirts denim shirts and one jacket cover all weather we encounter.
I will admit we are extremely casual dressers, so our plan will not work if one is concerned about being “fashionable.” We were happy to throw off the yoke of fashion when we retired so not a problem for us.

Loretta (@guest_13512)
6 years ago
Reply to  Grumpyoldtimer

Hi Grumpy: Really loved your comment and couldn’t agree more! Getting rid of all the junk that I thought I needed or just had to have was really liberating!

Sherry (@guest_13381)
6 years ago

I would suggest all RVers read Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st century by Jessica Bruder. A real eye opener

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