As winter approaches, it’s time to think about adjusting your lifestyle to handle the cold. You will probably find yourself taking out sweaters you had stored away last spring, decorations to celebrate the holidays, and shovels and snow blowers to keep your driveway and sidewalks clear. But while you’re taking out all your helpful winter accessories, it’s a good idea to replace them in storage with some of your summer items you know you will not use. Not only will this create more space in the colder months, but it will also protect your summer items from the corrosive winter weather. Here are eight things you should consider storing away this winter to save on space:
Spring and Summer Clothing
There’s no sense in taking up valuable closet and drawer space with spring and summer clothing. Storing clothing away for the winter not only creates more space for bulkier winter clothing, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to de-clutter. As you pack away your summer clothing, be honest with yourself. Consider giving away any items you have not worn this season (you probably won’t wear them next year either). Once you have your clothes separated into your “keep” and “give away” piles, prepare your “keep” pile for storage. Make sure everything is cleaned and any missing buttons or holes are mended. Dirt and sweat will stain and stink if stored away with your clothes, and tears or missing buttons will be a pain to deal with when you take your clothes back out of storage. Store your summer clothes in plastic storage containers in a clean, cool, dark, and dry place. Consider the space you are storing your clothes in: if you know your basement gets damp and mildew-y or your garage has been known to house mice, those are probably not good places to store your clothes. Place cedar blocks and lavender sachets in the bins with your clothing to help ward off moths and other insects as well as keep your clothes smelling fresh.
Patio and Pool Furniture
Patio and pool furniture exposed to the elements over the winter season can crack, become dirty, and fade. Bring your furniture (and if you have a pool, don’t forget the diving board) into your garage or basement for the winter. If you don’t want to bring your furniture indoors or you live in a more temperate environment, at least consider covering your furniture with some quality outdoor furniture covers to protect from moisture.
Basketball nets, soccer goals, and other sports equipment
Nets get stretched out when exposed to moisture and cold, so leaving them out for the winter is almost a guarantee that you will have to buy new ones by spring. Store all sports equipment indoors for the winter, and if you think you might occasionally use it, at least create an easy-to-reach storage space for when it is not in use.
Lawnmower, trimmer, and other yard-work tools
Yard appliances require extra care when storing away for the winter. This is a great time to make sure all blades and parts are cleaned and blades are sharpened before saying goodbye to them until next spring. Leaving dirt and moisture on yard appliances can cause them to rust and corrode. For appliances that require fuel, if the gas has a preservative, it should be fine to leave for the season. If not, empty the fuel tank completely. Allowing fuel to sit over the winter season can cause the ethanol to separate and condensation to form in the gas tank.
Motorcycle, Boat, and other motorized summer vehicles
Any motor vehicles you use exclusively in the spring and summer time need extra care when storing them away for the winter. For motorcycles, you will need to add a fuel stabilizer and fill your gas tank, change the oil, give it a thorough cleaning to make sure there is no dirt or excessive moisture on the bike, cover the muffler so nothing gets inside while the motorcycle is in storage, remove the battery and connect it to a charger, and cover the bike and move it somewhere safe (a garage or enclosed storage area). For boats, hall your boat out of the water and give it a thorough cleaning to remove grime and barnacles, leave plenty of time to make sure you can drain all water from all parts of the boat, fill your gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer, change your oil, replace your filters, clean out the head and flush out the holding tanks, remove the battery and connect it to a charger, cover your boat and store it in an area that is protected and will stay dry throughout the winter.
Many people utilize window unit air conditioners throughout the summer months. In the winter, it’s a good idea to remove an air conditioning unit (ask someone to help you, remember how heavy that thing is?) so that it does not allow cold air to come in around the cracks and store it out of the way until warmer weather. Before packing it away, make sure you clean or change the filter and give the rest of the unit a nice cleaning as well.
Fruits and vegetables
Perhaps you have a large garden or farm and you have plenty of vegetables to bring in during fall harvest. Keep what you can fresh if you think you will eat it in time, otherwise, freezing or canning vegetables will keep them good for a long period of time. You may also want to consider digging up some of your more delicate plants or bulbs and moving them inside for the harsher winter weather.
When switching out your summer tires for more durable winter ones, there are certain steps you can take to better preserve the rubber for next year. First, give everything a good cleaning. Wrap the tires in black plastic bags to prevent their exposure to moisture and light and store in a cool, dry spot.
What other items will you be storing away this winter? Leave a comment below.
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