Clean and Inspect: Before storing any outdoor items, it’s crucial to clean them thoroughly. This means removing dirt, mud, leaves, and any other debris. Additionally, inspect each item for damage or signs of wear and tear.
Remove Batteries and Fuel: For motorized equipment like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, it’s a good idea to drain the fuel or run the engine until it’s out of fuel to prevent fuel degradation. Additionally, remove batteries from items such as remote-controlled toys and flashlights.
Protect Against Rust: Metal items, like gardening tools or metal furniture, can be prone to rust. To prevent this, apply a rust-resistant coating or a protective oil layer. Ensure they are completely dry before storing.
Store in a Dry Location: It’s best to store outdoor toys and equipment in a dry, sheltered location. This could be a garage, shed, or covered storage area. If these aren’t available, weatherproof covers or tarps can be an alternative.
Elevate Items: Raising outdoor furniture and other items off the ground can prevent moisture damage. This is because it stops moisture from seeping into the items.
Disassemble When Possible: Large items, like trampolines or swing sets, can be disassembled for easier storage. This also protects them from winter elements. Remember to keep all hardware and instructions organized.
Use Storage Bins and Containers: Smaller outdoor toys and accessories can be stored in labeled plastic bins or containers. These should have tight-fitting lids to prevent moisture and pests from getting inside.
Properly Store Bicycles: Bicycles can be hung from hooks or a bike rack to save space and prevent damage. It’s also a good idea to deflate the tires slightly to avoid flat spots during long-term storage.
Winterize Pools and Hot Tubs: For those with pools or hot tubs, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s winter instructions. This usually involves draining water, cleaning, and covering.
Label and Inventory: Labeling storage bins and containers can be a big help. It’s also beneficial to create an inventory list of stored items for easy reference in the spring.
Pest Prevention: Using pest deterrents in your storage area can keep unwanted rodents and insects at bay.
Maintain Outdoor Furniture Cushions: Cushions for outdoor furniture should be cleaned and stored indoors or in waterproof storage bins. This prevents moisture damage and mold growth.
By dedicating time to properly store your outdoor toys and equipment for winter, you ensure they have a longer lifespan and are ready for use when warmer weather returns.