As summer comes to a close, it’s time to store any seasonal items you won’t be using until next year. Whether it’s pool accessories, patio furniture, lawn equipment or camping gear, stowing your summer belongings can keep them free from cold-weather damage and clear up space in your home or backyard for the autumn and winter months. Here are some step-by-step tips to ensure your items are safely tucked away, whether you’re putting them in a garage, shed or self-storage unit.
1. Storing Patio Furniture
Some patio furniture is weatherproof, meaning that it’s made with materials that can withstand harsh climates and resist mold, mildew, rust and corrosion. Manufacturers won’t always state whether a piece of furniture is weatherproof or waterproof, but you can make an educated guess by checking whether it’s made with weather-resistant materials, including natural materias like acacia, teak, eucalyptus, aluminum and concrete, as well as synthetic materials like nylon, polypropylene, recycled plastics and resin.
If you have weatherproof patio furniture, you don’t necessarily need to move it into storage. Instead, you can simply invest in some heavy-duty furniture covers that will keep your pieces safe from the wind, rain and snow during the cold season.
On the other hand, if you have climate-sensitive items or want to create more space on your patio, consider moving them into a garage, basement or self-storage unit. However, keep in mind that garages and basements won’t necessarily provide the climate-controlled properties that storage units offer.
Before you put any furniture into storage, be sure to do the following:
- Clean off any dirt or debris with a damp rag.
- Once everything is dry, disassemble your furniture if possible to make the most efficient use of storage space.
- Use furniture covers to protect against dust and pests, even if storing inside.
- For cushioned furniture, remove cushions and clean them separately, storing them in cushion bags, large plastic bins with lids or vacuum-sealed bags.
2. Storing Pool and Beach Accessories
Pool and beach accessories can include toys and inflatables, sand buckets, lawn chairs, beach towels and umbrellas as well as maintenance materials like filters and cleaning chemicals. Rather than cluttering your space with these for the next nine months, consider organizing and storing them instead.
Before putting any pool or beach accessories away, you’ll first want to wipe everything down with water and a mild detergent to remove any lingering pool chemicals, salt or sand. If you have free space in your garage, consider hanging some items on wall-mounted hooks or a pegboard setup, if you have one. Be sure to deflate any inflatable toys or floaties before folding them neatly and storing them in a plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid to protect them from pests and humidity.
As for pool chemicals, always keep them in their original containers, ensuring they’re tightly sealed. Store them in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and out of the reach of kids or pets.
|Tip: Double-check the expiration dates of any pool chemicals before storing them, and check your local city guidelines to see how to safely dispose of any chemicals if need be.
3. Storing Camping Gear
Tents, duffels, camping stoves and chairs all take up valuable space. In the offseason, store your camping gear by following these steps:
- Wipe your sleeping bag with a damp rag and let it air dry before rolling it up. Consider adding a sachet of peppermint or other herbs, which acts as a natural pest repellent.
- Clean your tent and tent poles with a sponge and mild tent cleaner. You can hose them down if they’re especially dirty, but be sure to let them completely dry before stowing them.
- Clean any mud or dirt from jackets and boots.
- Keep all your items together in clear, airtight plastic containers.
- Remove batteries from camping gadgets like flashlights and GPS systems, and store them in a labeled plastic bag.
For more tips, check out our in-depth guide on storing camping gear.
4. Storing Lawn Equipment
If you live in a rainy or snowy climate, you may have already wrapped up your last landscaping project of the year. While you’ll still need access to leaf blowers, shovels and other fall and winter lawn equipment, consider storing things like your lawnmower, gardening tools, hedge trimmer, weed wacker and drop spreader in a storage unit to clear up space in your shed or garage.
Storing lawn equipment is fairly straightforward: Remove any debris from your tools, wipe them down and ensure they’re dry before putting them away. In the case of a lawnmower, you may want to winterize it by removing the battery and adding a fuel stabilizer to keep the system’s engine in good shape during the months ahead.
5. Storing Your Boat or Recreational Vehicle
Properly winterizing and storing your boat or RV is an essential step to preserve its functionality and longevity. Failing to do so can lead to both operational and safety problems when you bring it out of storage next year.
How to Store Your Boat
When it comes to storing your boat, you have both indoor and outdoor options. Indoor storage includes dry stack storage, your home garage or an enclosed self-storage unit, while outdoor storage includes your driveway, the marina or an outdoor parking spot (covered or uncovered).
There are pros and cons to each of these options, but typically self-storage facilities offer the most flexibility, security and convenience, while allowing you to choose between an indoor unit or an outdoor covered/uncovered parking spot depending on your budget and needs.
Before storing your boat, it’s key to winterize it properly. This means:
- Cleaning the inside and outside thoroughly.
- Flushing, draining and winterizing the plumbing systems.
- Winterizing the motor.
- Treating the fuel with a stabilizer.
- Winterizing your battery.
- Covering your boat.
How to Store Your RV or Camper
The same advice applies to your RV or camper. Whether you choose to park it in your driveway or a self-storage facility, you’ll want to complete the following steps to winterize it properly:
- Drain the freshwater system and empty any tanks.
- Bypass the water heater.
- Add non-toxic antifreeze to the system.
- Empty and clean the refrigerator and other appliances inside the RV.
- Close all vents and windows to prevent pests and dust from entering.
- Protect the electrical system.
- Change the oil and any filters.
- Inflate all tires.
- Add a cover.
By spending the time to properly clean, maintain and store your summer items, you’re not only extending the lifespan of your belongings, but also making it easier to bring everything out of storage in great condition next year. For more tips on organizing and storing items around your home, check out our blog.