As fall turns into winter, this is when many homeowners put away patio furniture and yard tools. For homeowners who lack a garage or who lack space in their garage, a mini-storage unit can be invaluable.
Have somewhere to store your patio furniture and outdoor tools over the winter. Especially here in Minnesota, protecting your outdoor items from ice and snow can help extend their service life and keep them looking good.
Make sure to prepare your outdoor items for storage. Improper storage practices can lead to rot, mold, mildew and other damage. Here’s what you need to know before you put your patio items and outdoor tools away for the winter.
Clean and Dry Everything First
Placing items into storage dirty can lead to a host of problems, like stains and mold. Placing dirty items in your storage unit can also get other items in storage dirty.
To put things away properly, start by cleaning everything you will store. Warm water and mild detergent should be adequate to clean most items. Dry everything thoroughly with a towel before placing it in storage, especially if you store something made of metal or wood. Launder and dry upholstery for patio furniture before you place it in storage.
If you take items to the storage facility on a wet day, bring a few towels with you to the storage unit so you can dry everything after hauling it out of the vehicle and into the building. Never store anything wet.
Promote Good Circulation Around Wooden Items
Items made of wood, like wooden planters or chairs, will absorb moisture from the air. When storing wooden items, never wrap them in anything that doesn’t breathe. Wooden objects that spend much of their time outside may need an extra chance to dry out before you put them into storage. Once in storage, place your wooden items loosely in the unit to ensure good circulation.
Wrap Tools to Prevent Accidents
Many yard tools are dangerously sharp. If you store your tools loosely in your mini-storage unit, this could result in accidents. To avoid problems, wrap your tools in something soft like a towel, bubble wrap, or plastic bags. If you do plan to wrap something in plastic, take care to ensure that the tool is completely dry before wrapped.
Cluster Boxes Together in the Unit
You probably keep more than your yard tools and patio furniture in your mini-storage unit. Assuming this is the case, you’ll want to maintain order in your unit.
Keeping the patio items and yard tools together will make collecting these things easier when the winter is over. If you dedicate one side or corner of your storage unit to these items, this will make finding everything you need also easier when the time comes to bring out your yard things in the spring.
You may need to rearrange the other items in storage in order to make this possible. If you’re able, store all of your tools in matching colored boxes to ensure that your yard tools are easy to find.
Label Everything Clearly
Label boxes clearly to make finding what you need easier. This is especially important if you plan to remove items from the storage unit one at a time.
For example, if you will need access to the shovels first and labels later in the year, labeling boxes will make finding what you need easier. Do this even if you plan to use matching colored boxes to help you find the yard items, since you won’t want to go through every box just to find what you want.
Put the Heaviest Objects on Bottom
Some patio furniture can be very heavy. In particular, chairs and tables made from cast iron can weigh many pounds and have the potential to crush just about anything that you put in your storage unit. These objects need to go on bottom.
Also, do not place them on top of other furniture or on top of boxes. Even if those boxes and furniture seem to be stable and strong, they may not be strong enough to support your cast iron furniture throughout the winter.
Kill All Mold and Mildew Before Storing
Mold and mildew can spread if you don’t kill them before you put an item into storage. To kill mold and mildew before placing an item into storage, wash the item with one gallon of water mixed with half a cup of bleach, and scrub the item gently with a scrub brush. Allow the item to dry, and then wash it again if the stains still remain.
For more information about how you can safely store your patio furniture in your storage unit, contact the mini-storage experts. At North Star Mini Storage, we’re happy to answer your questions and help you store your items safely for the winter.