Feb172011

24 Comments

12 Tips for Living Out of Your Car

A worst case scenario may be an EMP attack, but being homeless has got to be in the Top Ten.  I came upon the following great advice over on Survivalist Boards and asked the author, webbee, for his permission to re-post it here.  You and I may never have to live in our vehicles, but this advice is helpful for evacuations or if you’re ever stranded somewhere without funds for a hotel.

If you need knowledge, read a book.  If you want to really know something, experience is the best teacher.  My advice for anyone reading this is to try living in a car or van for a week or two.  There isn’t anything better to wring out your survival kit than practical use.

Here are some tips from my own experiences.

image by thomas riboulet

Add a flip-up roof vent to the van, if that’s what you have.  Heating/cooking with propane produces water as a byproduct.  The vent will get rid of the  interior water buildup .  It will also exhaust hot air in the warmer parts of the year.  A solar powered fan in the vent is even better.

Solar film on the windows keeps things private, but you need a blackout curtain to keep light from being seen at night.  I used a denim tube and lined it with high density foam, hung from wire springs on both the top and bottom of the tube curtain.  The curtain needs to cover the whole window.  It provides a bit of insulation, too.

Never park in the same place twice in the same week.  Stay away from other parkers in your same situation.  Parking around a 24-hour biz is better than residential areas.  Apartment complexes offer a degree of stealth street parking due to the high turnover of tenants and friends, NOT in their parking lot, however!  Same for 24-hour grocery stores.

Sometimes your employer will let you park behind the biz if you’re a good employee and they want to help you out.  That’s always a personal call that depends on the boss’s personality and the particular job.  Sometimes it’s better the boss doesn’t know your situation.

Rent a mini-storage cubicle with 24-hour access for your spill-over and items that might be stolen from your vehicle.  If you’re a customer, you have bathroom privileges.

A health club membership is the golden ticket for street living.  You can shower, steam, and work out, too.  Municipal indoor pools are good, too.  Learn to bathe in a sink, as in sponge baths.  Always clean up your mess!

A private mailbox that provides a street address (not a Post Office box) makes you look more like someone with a real address.  This comes into play for drivers licenses, state ID cards, car insurance, job applications, etc.

A pay-as-you-go cell phone provides a telephone for job calls and if you need emergency services.

image by Larry Page

Try to find an apartment manager job if you have good people skills and some simple maintenance experience.  The local Apartment Association may offer training so you can get that job.  Once you’re in, you’re in for life.  They like peeps that have experience, so this is the route in.  Much easier if you’re a couple.  Mini-storage management is even better.  Usually small buildings only trade an apartment and light housekeeping duties for your time.  You will need to work part-time to pay the bills.

A portable CD player with a radio is very handy for entertainment and news.

Most libraries have computer access.  If you have a wireless laptop, then those businesses that let you surf on their wi-fi connection for a cup of coffee are helpful, too.

Always dress and act middle class or better.  The way you look determines how the police will handle you when they come calling.  That’s when, not if.

Don’t think you are depression proof.  Plan ahead for  hard times and practice.  You won’t be disappointed.  Living hand to mouth eventually gives you a can-do attitude that can be a life saver.  Even if you have to give up your home, you will still have one.

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(24) Readers Comments

  1. Lots of great tips there. For more info along these lines, there's a site that has articles from people who have lived in their vehicles either due to financial issues or just by choice. I check in for the good ideas. I should add that I'm in no way affiliated with the site, just an irregular reader. http://www.cheaprvliving.com/

    Steelheart

  2. Hotels with free parking are great places to spend the night as well…

  3. Yeah, motels and hotels are a good place to park (and safer than some sidestreet). When they are busy, one can go in and use the restroom or get a free com breakfast.

  4. We're blessed to have a paid off mini van and pop up camper. Just wondering how long that canvass will last??? I do have a tent repair kit in the camper to keep things patched up!

  5. I lived in the parking lot of my job for the (3) three week I worked there. Then I found a room to rent with a guy that worked in another dept.
    Joe R

  6. Back in my road warrior days I sought out church parking lots as safe overnight parking places on my frequent cross-country travels. An occasional welcome bonus was the offer of a home-cooked meal, pleasant conversation, a warm shower, a bed for the night and prayers for continuing on a safe journey. Almost as good as being at home.

  7. I used to use fairly heavy screen spline to hold the top and sides of the screen material in the groove the glass rolls up in and only had to tape the bottom – worked great even in the mosquito months in the Everglades.

  8. Hospitals are also a great place to use, open 24/7 have clean bathrooms and cafeterias. Also easy to come up with a excuse why you are there. Just lay low, be quiet and respectful, don't ask the staff for anything. And don't overstay your welcome. Leave right away if you are asked to. And probably stay away from the ER parking as it is checked the most often, and employee parking.

  9. casinos with parking garages are another good place to spend the night. They have washroom facilities and you can hangout and enjoy the ambiance.

  10. My youtube video documents me living in my car for two months

    http://www.youtube.com/user/LiveLean1?feature=guide

    It was a life changing event for me.

  11. I spent years living in my 62 VW van as a result of economic circumstances, here are some pointers.
    1. Keep your car clean, looking respectable and well maintained.
    2. Insulate with space blankets and as many wool blankets you can fit behind the interior paneling.
    3. Avoid clutter, only have with you what you need for that night, caveat, have a storage unit if you are centered in a geographic region.
    4. Wash your bedding and clothes every week, never wear the same thing twice.
    5. Vent your vehicle daily, the stench of stuffy, dirty will build up fast, and is hard to clean out.
    6. Never use anything other than plain neutral colored fabric as an exterior curtain, beer ads, sports banners, anything with text, logos, banners, patterns, will draw negative attention.
    7. Layer your curtains; plain neutral colors for the viewing public, insulating layers of wool, thermal curtain backing to keep your heat in.
    8. Law enforcement encounters: should be a no brainer, Be respectful, compliant, and, if you followed the above, they will be respectful to you for being” Clean, Quite, and Low Key”. One may need state that as their intent. In short, you don’t want them to haul you away, and you don’t want them to have reason to come pay you a visit when they have some down time.

  12. Having spent the better part of 5 years “adventuring”, including during graduate school at a very prestigious University, I have mastered year round hammock camping as well as living in (1) a van, and (2) a subcompact car. Vans are preferable. Honda Civics are more challenging. Having a storage place (I have a shed at a family member’s property) is also helpful. While Walmart dry camping or in a corner parking lot with a car cover are options, finding a private place to set up a mini-campground is a great addition to either vehicular living option.

    Here are a few tips:

    a. Organize, organize, organize! Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. In addition to your sleeping items, you will need a carry-on style suitcase for clothes, a laundry bag for clothes pending a trip to the laundry (with air freshener), a “chuck box” (your car camping kitchen supplies), water storage container and a cup/water bottle, a tool box, a briefcase organizer for paperwork, a box with your camping supplies, a toiletry case (with towel, washcloths, shampoo, soap/shower gel, hairbrush, other hygiene supplies), flashlight/LED lamp and candles.

    b. Keep toiletries and a plastic mirror in a separate bag or small backpack for convenience and discretion. If you add a collapsible basin you can fill it with hot water and go into a large bathroom stall to clean up and change. Remember to keep a separate plastic bag for wet items.

    c. If you find a place to set up a base camp of sorts (esp in an out of the way wooded area) you can be semipermanent. Private property will provide legal security. In this case, you can set up a tarp/hammock (super comfortable), and rig up some more homelike comforts (potty/shower stall, etc).

    d. Making a mini-rocket stove and having a shelter makes cooking easier, provides a way to heat water for cleaning up (a copper coil heater in a large bucket can heat while one is cooking or making a campfire to warm up for the evening.

    e. A folding, hanging shower stall and a shower bag with nozzle makes for a hot shower even in freezing cold, and one can get dry and re-dressed before even feeling cold. For a floor, a baby inflatable 1-ring mini pool makes a perfect showerpan floor and warmly cleans your feet as you shower. Otherwise, use something else to keep your feet off the ground.

    f. If you really do decide to build yourself a camp, Home depot always has free 4′ wooden pallet supports that you can combine to make floor decking, a table/shower/kitchen setup, frames or bench. Lowe’s usually doesn’t keep things long enough for you to get them.

    g. Water: A tarp canopy can be set up to double as a water cachement system. You can secure potable water other ways. When in a store/cafe one can also put a collapsible water container in a backpack and fill it with hot water in a restroom for use after you leave.

    h. Cooking: Oatmeal, dehydrated meals, fresh vegetables, soups and small cuts of meat are easy to cook with just hot water and a pot. We are fortunate to have access to dollar stores for a lot of cost-effective variety and options. Note: Large reclosable Monster cans are the easiest for quickly bringing 3 cups of water to a boil, and can last weeks before giving out.

    i. Always use window shades in your car for privacy. It also helps minimize some radiant cold.

    j. Whenever possible, secure reasonable supplies of paper-goods. Newspaper is a good insulator (e.g., nest to the drafty door panel at night or under your sleeping bag if you are using a hammock) and super fire tinder. Cardboard box pieces can be cut into strips and coiled up into a can for a good sterno-substitution (esp if you pour melted candle wax over the coil). Even used cups can be turned into fire starters, and tissues, paper towels/ TP are multipurpose.

    k. A solar charger for cell phone/computer is a real lifesaver for times when you do not have access for choose to go to a cafe.

    l. I have a canopy area over my brick fire pit/rocket stove (got them free on CL as well as materials for a solar oven and parabolic cooker) that also serves as a carport (and water cachement system that drains via water chain into a large bucket) .

    m. temperature control: Staying warm and eating a warm meal morning and evening make all the difference in colder climate winters. Summer heat, on the other hand, is best handled by well ventilated sleeping, cool baths/showers, and good hydration. There are plenty of places to stay cool during the day. n very cold weather you can preheat your sleeping bag with a bottle of hot water. By the time you need a drink, it will have cooled. In warm weather, raise your tarp sides to allow more ventilation and funnel breezes. The colder it is the more you want the tarp to morph into a cocoon shape, closing ends to stop wind or blowing precipitation. Lowering the tarp sides forms an acute angle that minimizes precip build-up on your tarp walls (and less chance for damage by heavy rain/sleet/hail). In a blizzard or heavy snow, you will wake up surprisingly warm as you end up with a lovely insulated igloo effect with natural snow walls on the lower half (at least) of your tarp cocoon. Below your hammock will be pristine ground. In the event of torrential rain, any water will be on the ground and not in your sleeping bag as you would have with tent and ground camping…I once awoke with 12″ of water under me. My feet got wet walking out but I was well above the flash flood water line and awoke dry — just rolled up the pant legs and carried my dry shoes out with me. I keep them in a zipped homemade gear-bag that hangs on the ridge line of my tarp. When car camping, secure a car cover or tarp over you in really bad weather. In addition to insulating and giving better privacy, the covering keeps your car snow/ice free and prepped for rapid travel if needed.

    n.Sleeping Options: Keep windows open a little bit when your car is covered. While no car is actually airtight you will feel better with more air circulation, and will minimize condensation.
    Whenever outside, I sleep in my hammock (it has a tarp covering around it, too), otherwise, in the car with my favorite pillow and sleeping bag. I have slept in both my car and moreso my hammock through hurricanes, blizzards, tornadic cells (oops, that was a surprise), 106 degree heat, and 5 degree cold plus 50 mph winds. There are different hammock/tarp configurations for as many weather patterns. I have honestly never been wet or cold. Sometimes it has been uncomfortably warm yet bug-free thanks to the integrated no-seeum netting on my hammock. Insulate under your sleeping bag (thick newspaper or foam pad/thin air mattress) and hang a separate layer under your hammock as a waterproofer and insulator. In cooler weather, always keep woolen socks, hat (buff, beanie or balaclava) and gloves in your sleeping bag as well as thermal pants and a sweatshirt to sleep in. Never go to bed dirty. I

    n. Lighting: candles have come into disfavor as a safety hazard. Presuming you are an adult, use your best judgment. FOr the past 20 yrs I have had a hanging candle lantern with an added rear reflector that I adore. It adds safety and light…The melted wax is added to coiled cardboard in pop cans for quick fire starters. Energy efficient LED lights are an excellent and inexpensive option to candles. For people choosing to park in a Walmart or other lot, you will generally be trying to KEEP OUT the light at night.

    Why the alternative lifestyle? I have been homeless for financial reasons in the past and came to learn that I actually enjoy self-sufficiency. I get excited when the hardware store gives me 100 8′ 2x4s they were going to throw out…and I use them to make things for my “retreat”. I recently built a wooden deck floor and fire reflector short wall, a bench, and a separate full shower stall/potty/changing room (wood framed with tarp walls and tented top secured to a tree branch) next to my tarp shelter and ‘carport’ area. I am an otherwise mainstream healthcare professional. No one associated with work knows how or where I live. Divorced rom my ex-husband, my money ultimately gets invested in my now adult children. They seem to have many more needs than I. Once in a while, when I can get a great deal (less than 50% rate) on a discounting site for my favorite hotel, I treat myself to a few days of a kingsized bed, thermostatic heat, hot water on demand, free breakfast buffet and all the other accouterments. That is when I do the extra things like deep condition my hair, do my nails, iron my lab coats and dress shirts, work out until I am a sweaty mess :) then go shower and do my hair, etc. It is important that people who live in their vehicles stay organized, maintain excellent hygiene, and maintain a positive attitude. Appreciating what we have is a great blessing.

    • I thought that the whole time that you were a male. The building things and so on just make me think a man the whole time. I’m going on the road myself because I need to leave.

  13. Pingback: Even if you aren’t living in a car, you need to read these terrific survival tips! | Emergency Survival Network

  14. Here’s a little hint from someone who’s CURRENTLY homeless, and who used to drive a long haul truck: Stores like Walmart, that have “supercenters” all along the highway, are considered “Safe Havens”. They receive subsidization from the Federal government and the USDOT to offer up their parking lot for “weary travelers”. Basically the DOT doesn’t want a bunch of tired truck drivers and travelers falling asleep at the wheel, so they struck a deal with truck stops and large stores (like Wally world) with locations all over to allow drivers a place to get off the road and rest without fear of trespassing or being in an unsafe area. I’ve come across a couple Walmarts where they posted signs that said “no overnight parking”, and had security harassing people, but they were always located away from a major highway and in a shopping center complex with multiple other businesses (meaning the property was leased and not owned by the Walmart). I’ve heard however of one person fighting this, and he won due to a proviso that renting to a store with Safe Haven status, waives a property owners right to refuse the use of the property for such a purpose (which makes sense when you think of how much business and traffic would be brought in by renting to someone like Walmart).

  15. Terrific ideas…thank you! I may need to ask for more info when starting grad school.

  16. You can buy heated blankets that plug into the cigarette lighter in the car. They are small, but I had one and it did wonders for me living in the back of my car in Minnesota. I would stuff mine in my sleeping bag, then plug it in as I drove to my parking space for the night. When I got there, my sleeping bag, resting under several blankets, was toasty and kept me warm throughout the night. And in Minnesota, those nights can get really cold!!! I used a Walmart parking lot often, as well as a few rest stops. The rest stops were nice as they always had restrooms. I took many a sponge bath in those sinks really late at night. There is a part of me that actually misses living in the car.

  17. May 14th 2013

    Well, I have decided I am done with this BS of a life. I had 11 years in the Army when I decided to get out on an honorable discharge, my time was up. I was in Iraq in 2003-2004 with the 4th Infantry division as a transportation specialist (Truck driver). I didn’t agree with what we were doing and when I got back, I told my then wife, “I’m getting out next year.” My time came and I left with my wife and moved away to Kentucky since her family lived there. When I left the Army I had a Government job making $18.72 an hour as a WG6. Baby came along that same year and things were great until October 2008. I ended up having massive panic attacks that put me into the E.R. 3 times in a month. Finally after the 3rd time the doctor said it’s time to get you some professional help. During these attacks my stomach would get in knots and feeling like I was going to throw up. My hands and forearms would tingle like I slept on them. I would have massive fear, like a pit-bull charging at me with sharp massive teeth. I would shake and most times start crying with fear. The Veterans Admin got me into their hospital because I was suicidal. My wife was freaking out; her family was in awe over the whole thing as well. I was diagnose with delayed onset of PTSD. What is that? It means that when a person happens to have a tragic event such as a bad accident, rape, getting abused in some way or like me in Iraq with death you get affected. You shove the event so far back into your brain and try to forget it that later your grief comes out. It comes out hard and fast without warning. You think that your are having a heart attack or like me, have massive fear that someone is after you. It is all delayed, because again, you stuffed it away and not dealt with the problem. Anyways, my wife left me because she couldn’t deal with my Jeckle and Hyde attitude. I was angry at work for no reason, I was bi-polar I thought and people started noticing my change. “Where that nice guy I married?” my ex-wife asked at 6 years into the marriage. I told her that he was killed in Iraq and he is still there on the side of the road. To make a long story short. I lost my job, my home, wife, daughter, mind, friends and money. I have been out of work for over two years and seven months now. I am surviving on my disability check from the V.A. of $1,600 a month. I have told my only family which is my dog (Cocker Spaniel) that we are moving away from Kentucky because of too much hurt and pain. I have been fighting for so long with my ex wife over unsupervised visits with my daughter. My attorney has billed me for $2,800, my college classes at Daymar College are worthless so I quit, two credit card companies are calling me constantly, and other things costing me money that I don’t have. So here I am with a Chevrolet Equinox packed with everything. I have a plan to see the St.Louis Arch, Mount Rushmore and whatever else that comes my way. I have a propane stove, iron cooking pot/pans, tent, tarps, clothes bags,candles,flash lights, batteries, cleaning supplies, emergency supplies, big cooler, storage bags, Tupperware, air mattress (battery powered) bug spray, MRE’s, new tires, oil changed, table, chairs, Hygiene things, foam insulation and money in the bank. I can handle this because of my time in the Army has me prepared. I’m going on the road for a little while to save my money and maybe settle down when I’m tired. – Wish me luck.

  18. C. Allen–I do wish you luck and pray you find peace. I am the mother of a soldier who has been in over 13 yrs and to Iraq 3 times and he was deeply affected when his Stryker hit an IED and his friend was killed. My niece and nephew have also been to Iraq and my nephew is on disability for PTSD.

    You have gone through some hard times and I wish you only the best for the rest of your life.

  19. After getting kicked out of my house for personal reasons, I’m on my own now. My car, a ’03 Buick LeSabre, along with some clothing, toiletries, and other stuff that I deem necessary, are all I have. Thankfully, I’m employed. I’m still in the freak-out-oh-nowhatamIgonnado stage, but after reading different things online, I’m not as scared about it as I was before.

    Flannel sheets for the win!

  20. I’m a 63-year-old woman about to be homeless for the first time in my life. After living a hard-knock life (I’ll spare the details), I had a decent job with a decent wage, and was finally able to buy a little house, which I thought would be the beginning of a peaceful ease into retirement for me. Four months after I bought the house, I lost my job. I got unemployment for a while, but that ran out. I’ve been unable to find a decent job since then (it’s been 2 years now – I’m convinced that age discrimination is alive and well in the good ol’ USA), I was forced to start taking my Social Security as soon as I was eligible for it, because I had absolutely no other means of income. I also started the process of applying for a loan modification from the bank that has my mortgage (BofA), so that I could stay in my home, and continue to make my payments, but hopefully at a reduced interest rate, and lower payments that would be affordable on my SS income. After a year of endless hassle and fighting, not to mention tears and near mental breakdowns, I was denied an affordable loan modification, and I’m now facing a short sale. I’ve sold most of my furniture and all of my grandmother’s silver, as well as most of my own good jewelry, and I’ve rented a small storage unit for the few belongings that I feel I want to keep, and am now just waiting for “permission” to vacate my now-empty house. I do have a small SUV which is finally paid for, but I’m thinking about selling it and trying to buy a small RV to live in. My thought process is that I think I could afford moderate payments on a used RV, but I sure as heck know I can’t afford rent on a small apartment somewhere – unless anyone knows where I can get a decent (no ghetto or crack house, please) apartment for about $300 a month? My SS is only about $1,000 a month. Period. People I talk to think I’m crazy, but I seriously don’t see any alternative. No one knows how seriously depressing this is for me, or how close to suicide I have been over the past year. The only thing that keeps me going is my little dog, who I will never abandon.

    I do have a very small part-time job (about 10-20 hours a week, at minimum wage), which I will most likely have to quit as soon as I lose my house because I won’t have anyplace for my dog to stay while I’m at work.

    Sorry I seem to be rambling. I guess I’m looking for suggestions, or votes, as to whether I should just do it in my small SUV or try to get financing for a small RV (financing would probably be a problem, since I haven’t been able to make my mortgage payment in 7 months). Probably the biggest thing that I see as a negative with doing it in my SUV is that there’s no room to stand up or move around. I’ve seen some really cool looking Class B RVs that look almost like conversion vans, look like they’d be easy to handle, but have all the conveniences inside (although not much space). But I don’t need a lot of space – just me & my dog and our respective bodily needs. Location is not really an issue, because I have no roots or family in any one place, but I do prefer the warmer weather in the south. My ideal destination would be to move permanently to Mexico, but I’m afraid I can’t even do that right now, given my circumstances.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  21. Tough situation to read about Rhonda. I’m in a similar situation but I’m 45. And I have virtually no savings as a buffer. I’ll spare you my hard luck story though and just give what advice I think will help.
    The biggest problem with a used RV is possible very expensive mechanical problems. And terrible gas mileage if you plan to travel. Plus hard to maneuver in any city area and sticks out wherever you decide to park (unless its an RV site). If you’re familiar with your SUV and know it’s reliable I would keep it. Unless you know a reliable mechanic to look over any new vehicle purchase you can’t know what you’re getting. It could break down the next day for thousands in repairs.
    If you’re wanting to stay where you are you can search craigslist for rooms/shared and in smaller cities find rooms for around $300. If you stay where you are you could keep your part-time job as well. You could probably find another female roommate easily depending on where you live. Not an ideal situation but better than living in a car. Could try that for several months to at least get through the winter and plot out something new. Times are so bad for so many that many people are looking for roommates and will do month to month and don’t care as long as you don’t have an eviction.
    I’ve been researching this for about six months since I knew my days were numbered. I’m considering around the San Diego area as my ideal destination. I know it’s a high cost of living there but I’ve found cheap motels and campsites nearby to stay as I look for a job. Plus I’m considering moving into Mexico as well. If you go right across the border rents are half as much. Lots of Americans live there and commute into San Diego to work. You only need a passport card which is much cheaper than a passport at $45. There is a “buffer zone” just south of the border where Mexico doesn’t enforce citizenship or VISAs. In fact if you go on San Diego craiglist right now there is a retired woman seeking a roommate in Mexico for $370 a month in a gated apartment complex close to the beach. You can even take your dog into Mexico if you have all the paperwork for shots. Do a search on Baja California and Playas De Rosarito and Playas De Tijuana. The weather is just like southern California so it’s beautiful year round. Which means very, very little spent heat/ac. And if you learned Spanish you could teach English in Mexico for extra income. Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn. There’s a lot of Americans living there now so go read about them online. There’s tons of advice about it.
    Hopes this helps. And maybe someday we’ll run across each other down there. Who knows? Good luck.

  22. @ Rhonda
    I left some things out of my previous post. You have a guaranteed income from ss so there’s absolutely no reason to give up. It’s not much but you can live on that. You could even get wic if worse comes to worse. There’s no reason to be ashamed of such things. Your tax dollars throughout your life have been used to help someone that needed it also. That’s how decent societies work. They help those in need.
    If you need any advice or just a friend you can write me anytime. I know exactly what you’re going through. I’m at primitive_pacman at yahoo.

  23. Dear Rhonda, one other thing to try is renting a small office space. I did this for a year in the best city within the bay area, Campbell – California. I was only paying $250 and it worked out quite well. I had a key that opened the office 24 / 7 and as long as you hide the fact that you are living in your office, all is fine. I took showers at the local gym for $15 per month and the local farmer’s market was available on Sundays for fresh produce. There are a lot of small offices all over the city, every city and the trick is to make your office look like an office. There is a sleeping bag that folds down to the size of a grapefruit and a camping sleeping pad that rolls into a small tight roll and can be easily stored. It is much nicer sleeping in an office and the utilities are usually free and the bathroom generally has a key in order to use, the toilet paper and towel paper are typically free. This is nice because the bathroom is usually not a mess when each office tenant has their own key to enter the bathroom. A small storage unit from Public Storage is a great extended closet, it is best to pay a few months in advance just incase something happens and you can’t afford to pay right away.

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