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How to Prepare Your Seasonal Items for Winter Storage

Individual pulling the closing latch on a filled storage unit's door.

As another summer draws to a close and cooler temps are being ushered in, it’s time to take stock of all the summer items that need to be put away — somewhere.

You could always stuff everything in closets and crawl spaces, or shove it into a corner of the garage or basement, where you’ll never be able to find anything. Or you could put your summer gear into winter storage.

Wait: winter storage? You only have a couple of tents, some sleeping bags, bikes, a paddleboard, kayaks and paddles, tables, patio furniture, a pop-up sun shade, life jackets, then there’s the riding lawnmower and garden hoses … 

When you think of all the things you do mostly during summer months — beach outings, camping weekends, grilling out, mowing, gardening and lawn work — why take up space storing it your house for three more seasons? Organize and store these seasonal belongings for the winter in self storage instead. 

Get organized.

Not all seasonal items are perfect candidates for winter storage. You might want to use your tabletop grill for tailgating all autumn long, but you may not use your backyard grill much beyond September. Here’s how to select and store seasonal items in your self-storage space:

  1. Take inventory. Separate what you might use throughout the year and what you won’t touch again until next year.
  2. Clear plastic tubs for the win. Frustrated because you can’t find anything in your storage unit? For quick access, store items like pool toys, life jackets and garden tools in clear plastic tubs so you can easily see the contents. Label the tubs’ contents on the outside, too, and group tubs in the same “zones” in your winter storage space: Move seasonal water-related items to the back since you won’t use them until the hotter summer months, but put your gardening items closer to the door so you can get them out as soon as the ground warms up.
  3. Determine what size your winter storage unit needs to be. If your seasonal belongings include a motorcycle or convertible car, you might want to consider secure and enclosed storage. If you have lots of summer clothing,  climate-controlled storage might be ideal for you. Many HOAs don’t allow homeowners to store their boats or RVs in driveways or yards, making a secure storage spot necessary.
  4. Choose the best location for your needs. There are smart storage options all around the Greater Washington, D.C., and Baltimore area. Do you want a storage place close to your house so you can stop in frequently? Or would you prefer your winter storage to be near your favorite summer spots so you can keep your boat and your boating gear close to the water?  
  5. Purge what you don’t use. There’s no sense storing seasonal belongings you didn’t use for an entire year. Mark your tubs with the date you added the seasonal items, and then note the date you opened them up again. If you store something you haven’t opened in a year, get rid of the contents.

How to prepare your seasonal belongings for winter storage 

Grills. Clean the grill grates thoroughly and detach the propane tank. It’s not safe to store propane tanks in your winter storage unit or inside your garage; instead, leave them outside in a shady spot and cover them with a tarp. 

Patio furniture. Freezing temps can crack plastic furniture; if left in the rain, wood can mildew and metal will rust. Store patio furniture to extend its life. Put cushions in plastic garbage bags, seal them, and stack them on a shelf inside your storage space. Cover furniture with a tarp to prevent it from getting dusty.

Bikes, kayaks, paddleboards and canoes: Cold temperatures can also affect the plastics, wood and fiberglass in boats, making climate-controlled storage a good choice for smaller watercraft. Store boats off the ground, with kayaks on their sides and canoes upside down. Sawhorses are a great way to suspend your smaller boats. If your boat has them, remove float tank plugs from the front and back, and remove hatch covers. 

Mowers, jet skis, scooters and motorcycles: Fill gas tanks with higher octane gas and add stabilizer to prevent condensation. Disconnect batteries and store them on a towel. You can stuff rags into the exhaust areas to keep pests out; just remember to remove them when you fire everything back up.

Find your winter storage space and get moving.

Whether for boats and RVs or grills and garden implements, Self Storage Plus has the space and size you need. You’ll easily find the right self storage option in the Greater Washington, D.C., and Baltimore area. We even offer drive-up storage units that let you drive right up; open the garage door; and unload your car, van or truck with no stairs, hallways or elevators to navigate.

To get started, find the most convenient winter storage that best suits your needs.

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Self Storage Plus

P.O. Box 25523

Washington, DC 20027

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