Fall is coming, school is starting, and you’re trying to get back to your regular routine. You’re not going to need your backyard crowded with outdoor play equipment, grills and summer furniture. And you’re probably not going to be doing any yardwork.
As the days get cooler and shorter, it’s time to start thinking about storing these items. But where? Your garage is already filled with junk ( and maybe your cars). Your attic is inconvenient for this type of storage, and you still haven’t gotten around to buying that backyard shed. It looks like the best solution for you is a safe, secure, climate-controlled self storage unit.
The first thing you need to do is find the right storage facility. There are a lot of great facilities available, but you want to choose one that best fits your needs. For some helpful hints read Choose the Right Self-Storage Facility.
Store the Kid’s Toys
Every backyard play item does not have to find a new home in winter storage. Some things like swing sets, playhouses, and trampolines are permanent and are made to stay outside year round. Toys that you decide to store should be grouped and stored in an organized fashion. That way, when next summer rolls around, you won’t have to listen to your kids screaming for those giant legos and the PAW Patrol Ride-On Toys. You’ll save lots of tears and whining if you don’t have to search for small plastic sand toys that are hiding in giant Legos.
A good method to categorize the toys is as follows:
- Sports equipment
- Yard Games (badminton, beanbag toss, horseshoes)
- Sand toys
- Water toys
- Giant building blocks
- Riding Toys
Start by giving the toys a good cleaning. They’ve been in the mud, the sand, and who knows what else. Allow plenty of time for drying – you don’t want to be faced with mold or mildew next summer – and then get them ready for storage.
Outfit your unit with shelves and place pallets on the floor to keep any boxes dry. Don’t forget to check that all batteries have been removed. Here are a few more tips to help make your project easier.
- Hang bikes and riding toys from the ceiling
- Use mesh laundry bags for small balls and toys
- Hang the wading pool on one of the walls.
- Take pictures of the items in the boxes and stick them to the sides of the box
- If your unit is closely packed, hang a clipboard with a “map” to the location of each item (the kids can help with this).
- Build a DIY rolling cart for sports equipment. It will hold all of your random balls, helmets, gloves, bats, and more and should work even in a small unit.
Now that we’ve tackled the important items, we can move onto your stuff.
Store Your Toys
You don’t want to leave your beautiful furniture outside to deteriorate during the rainy/snowy winter months. It goes without saying that you should wash it and let it dry thoroughly before moving it to storage. A climate-controlled unit will keep your furniture clean, dry, and ready for spring. Cover the furniture loosely to protect it from dust, but avoid plastic covers as they can build up damaging condensation even in a climate-controlled space.
Gas grills should have their propane tanks removed and all valves should be fully turned off. Charcoal grills should be free of ash or dust.Grates, grease traps and all other components should be cleaned and free of any food residue that could attract bugs or rodents.
Lawnmowers and Yard Tools
Make sure they are clean, and run the engines until the gas tanks are empty. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for long-term storage so that your tools are in the best shape for the next yard care season.
These are not really useful in the backyard (unless you’re getting in a little extra practice), but it’s critical to store them properly. You don’t want them to have dents and nicks that will affect the ball’s trajectory and your performance. Don’t get lazy and store them in your trunk. The heat will damage the epoxy that affixes the clubhead to the shaft. The glue under the grip can also break down, causing the grip to slip around the shaft. If you’re going to store your clubs for more than a few weeks, make sure they are clean and dry. Moisture can lead to rust. Climate-controlled storage is the best environment to keep your clubs in top condition for next season.
Before you know it, spring will be here again and you’ll be taking all of this stuff out of storage. You’ll be happy that you followed our tips and kept all of the “toys” in top condition and ready to go. Enjoy the coming holiday season, knowing that your summer toys are safe and secure.