The season is slowly coming to an end, and many Walton County Snowbirds are already planning for their trip back north at the end of this month or (if they are lucky) sometime in March or even April.

But there is usually a big problem: all that local shopping at the outlet mall or the many delightful antique stores, consignment shops and art galleries has resulted in too much stuff to fit into the car. What a dilemma. But the Walton County Snowbirds club has a solution — its economical storage program.

Managed by activity leader Jerry Barton from Illinois, the program offers one flat rate per item for the entire year.

Tubs, bins, containers — $15/each

Folding chairs, tables, golf bags or carts — $10/each

Bicycles — $20/each

Other items are various prices.

Storage fees are paid at the time of drop-off at the storage facility at Affordable Storage, 114 Sugar Drive in Santa Rosa Beach (one mile east of the 30A exit on the south side of U.S. Highway 98).

“We ask that each item — in other words, a container, golf bag, bicycle, etc. — be clearly marked on the end and side with your name and home phone number,” Jerry said. “We recommend using Rubbermaid 18-gallon plastic bins as storage containers. Any container larger than this is too difficult to handle. Remember, if you can’t lift it, please do not ask us to do so.”

Jerry also encourages members to bring left-over non-perishable food items to the storage facility at the end of their winter stay at the designated times listed below. These will be donated to Caring and Sharing of South Walton for its food shelf.

Upcoming dates for drop-off of items to be stored are Feb. 26 and March 9, 14, 23 and 28. Members should bring their items on one of those dates between 3 and 4 p.m. Jerry’s volunteers will be there to accept payment and assist with unloading. Next fall upon return, snowbirds can check the Walton County Snowbirds website to learn when items can be picked up.

Anyone leaving after April 1 who wishes to store items should call Jim Newell at 423-322-3273 to make arrangements.

Jerry has been visiting Walton County each winter for more than 20 years and has managed the storage program for Walton County Snowbirds since 2010. He enjoys greeting returning members each year “and the fun I have with my faithful volunteers every week,” he joked.

Full information on the storage program can be found at or contact Jerry at

Dinah Keefe, from St. Paul, Minn., is the Walton County Snowbirds information officer. She can be reached