You yank down your surgical mask, pull on your industrial strength rubber nitrile gloves, say a quick Hail Mary, and reach into your kid’s backpack. You can actually hear the Jaws theme in your head. Inside the dumpster-scented bag you find the homework assignment from last spring he swore he completed and a lunch bag that now qualifies for a science experiment.
“There has to be a better way to store stuff at the end of a season,” you mutter. And you’re right. Why wait until October 30th to scurry around trying to find your Halloween decorations while at the same time trying to get the scuba equipment and banana hammocks out of the way? Of course, if your husband wears a banana hammock, you probably have much bigger issues to deal with….
Just because you were always the kid who began his 2,500-word essay the night before, doesn’t mean that you can’t get a head start on storing the summer gear and preparing for fall.
1. What’s coming out of storage for the winter?
That’s right, go to your storage unit and assess what goodies are coming out of hibernation before you try to cram all your summer gear into it. Believe us, we’ve seen people load up their storage units first and then try to remove the stuff they want second. Don’t be that guy. Organization and planning are your allies when it comes to seasonal storage.
2. Make a list of summer items in August.
Even though summer is officially over on September 22nd, depending on your region’s climate zone or school calendar, summer vacation comes to an end well before that date. Whether you’re a student needing to stash your rad vinyl collection and all those Britney Spears posters you don’t dare hang in your dorm when you go off to college, or a family that needs more space for the boxes and boxes of fall and winter decorations to help you win this year’s Neighborhood Ornamentation Olympics, make a list of all summer items that are going into storage for the winter.
Some other examples might be: surfboards, patio furniture, pool gear, summer clothing (minus the Speedo; that thing mysteriously went up in flames at the last bonfire), camping gear, garden tools, golf clubs, bikes, kayaks—basically anything that’s just going to take up valuable space or decorate your shins with a collage of bruises until next Memorial Day.
3. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Everything you put into storage, whether it’s your box fan or your extensive summer wardrobe of Birkenstocks and matching knee socks, fanny packs, and muumuus, should be thoroughly washed and dried before you toss it into your self storage unit. And things like kayaks, wetsuits, garden tools, and personal metal detectors should be properly tended to before going into storage. Since there’s not nearly enough room here to cover everything you’d need to do for those specialized items (the metal detector alone has an extensive list, including ‘seek help for delusional thinking’), we’ve included some links here with more specific instructions on how to prep your favorite hobby gear:
But one really good piece of advice from a boat insurance company that could apply to any specialized equipment is to make sure that you fix or replace everything before putting it to bed for the winter. You don’t want to jump on that jet ski the first day of summer only to be featured on YouTube’s “Stupid People Compilation.”
4. How to store your summer goodies.
One way to save a lot of room in your closets over the winter is to store your summer clothing elsewhere. No, not on the floor of your boyfriend’s place or in the backseat of your car. You may also need to stow away other things, like cereal top bar codes that you have yet to send in, craft supplies, love letters from your secret admirer that may be needed as evidence if he doesn’t cut it out, or First of July decorations (hey, Canadians have an Independence Day, too, you know).
According to organization expert Lisa Zaslow, you have several options. Stackable plastic storage bins can help you keep things organized as well as protect their contents from dust, critters and water damage. For clothes, linens and blankets, she suggests using squishy, zippered bags or vacuum-packed bags that suck all the air out, leaving you with a firm, flat, stackable board of summer skirts until next year.
5. Love the label.
Calm down, Ms. Fashionista, we’re not talking Versace here. One more very important thing you should do, particularly with those nondescript plastic storage bins, is label them. This step will keep your melt-down to a minimum when you pull fifty boxes out of storage six months later and have no idea which one contains your diamond-studded toe ring. If you’re storing things just for yourself, you can simply mark individual containers with “cut-offs & stilettos” or “Harlequin Romance novels.” And if you’re storing things for a family, everyone should have his or her own labeled box(es)—which is especially good for keeping sibling rivalry to a dull roar.
And now that you’ve finished storing all your summer stuff and reclaimed your fall and winter paraphernalia, pull out a cozy sweater from your carefully-labeled box of winter garments, pour a mug of hot mulled cider, and enjoy the warmth of a Harlequin Romance (oh yeah, those bad boys didn’t go into storage) in your Halloween-decorated home.http://www.markelmarine.com/marine-md/boat-winterizing http://www.markelmarine.com/marine-md/boat-winterizing http://www.surfermag.com/instruction/wetsuit-care/ http://www.outdoorplaces.com/gear/equipment/storing/ http://bicycling.about.com/od/bikemaintenance/tp/Winterize_Your_Bike.htm http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/storage.php https://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=NhaDNPfY8Kg http://www.homedepot.com/b/Storage-Organization-Storage-Bins-Cubes-Totes/N-5yc1vZc89j http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/1/3/vacuum-sealed-storage-bags
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