By Stephanie Hyland, StorageUnit.com
There’s nothing like grilling hamburgers and hanging out with your family on the patio on a warm, sunny day. Unless you live in a city that sees sunshine and moderate temperatures throughout the year, you unfortunately cannot enjoy these outdoor activities year-round. When you live in an area that experiences cold temperatures, ice, and snow, it’s only a matter of time until you have to figure out what you are going to do with all of your patio furniture, garden planters, and even your grill to ensure that they will not be damaged during the winter months.
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You don’t enjoy being out in the cold weather and neither does your patio decor, but what do you do with it all while you wait for the weather to get nicer? You can’t leave it out in the cold because the fluctuating temperatures, ice, and snow will have a negative effect on its well-being over time.
Luxury patio sets made of wood or wicker, Adirondack chairs, or deluxe grills can take up a lot of space, so it can be difficult to find a safe place in the garage or garden shed to store these expensive outdoor investments. What’s an outdoor enthusiast to do?
The Solution: Invest in a Self Storage Unit
By renting a self storage unit, you are able to protect your patio furniture and other outdoor decor while not taking up precious garage space. After all, if there was ever a season when you want to park your car in the garage, it’s winter!
One of the first steps to successfully storing your patio decor is figuring out how many items you will need to store. By organizing what outdoor items need to go into storage, you will know exactly how big of a unit you need to reserve and that you are not paying for more space than you need. If you are storing a patio table, patio chairs, a few garden planters and your grill, you most likely will benefit from reserving a 10X10 unit. This extra 100 square feet will give you plenty of room to keep your items safe during the winter months. However, if your patio table and chairs fold up, you can probably get away with reserving a 5X10 unit, a unit the size of a mid-size bedroom.
The following outdoor items can be damaged by freezing temperatures and precipitation, so to maintain their structural stability and the beauty of their finish, store them indoors over the winter.
- Wood, Metal, Wicker, or Glass Patio Furniture: Wood rots much faster when left to the elements and will need to be refinished more often if kept outdoors. Metal furniture is more prone to rust when left outside through the winter. Wicker will also disintegrate faster if left outdoors and glass tabletops can crack in fluctuating temperatures or fall to the ground when piled with heavy snow.
- Outdoor Cushions: Although designed for outdoor use, cushions and pillows for outdoor furniture disintegrate and fade much faster when exposed to winter precipitation, or may become prone to mold and mildew when temperatures warm up. Freezing temperatures can cause fabric to crack and fiberfill to break down.
- Grills: Metal can rust quickly when exposed to winter precipitation and propane gas hoses can crack due to freezing temperatures. Also, freezing temperatures can reduce the lifespan of the electric components in your grill.
- Patio Umbrellas and Rugs: The fabric of your patio umbrella or rug can become weak and/or mildewed if stored outside during the winter if moisture gets caught in the folds of the closed umbrella or rolled-up rug.
- Ceramic and Wood Planters: Ceramic pots and urns can crack or break due to fluctuating temperatures. Wood planting boxes will rot faster and require more maintenance in the spring if left out all winter.
- Yard Games: Plastic, wood, and cloth equipment in croquet sets, badminton sets, ladder ball, cornhole, and other yard games can disintegrate due to freezing temperatures and moisture.
If you’re storing items made out of glass or wood, it’s important to choose a climate-controlled storage unit; a unit that stays between 55-85ºF year-round with regulated humidity levels. Even though a climate-controlled unit can be slightly more expensive than a standard unit, climate control will protect glass and wooden furniture and planters from cracking or warping due to fluctuating temperatures and excess moisture. By spending a little extra money on a climate-controlled storage unit, you can ensure that your outdoor items will be in the same condition as when you left them, ready to be returned to your backyard as soon as the weather allows.
Quick Tips: How to Properly Store Your Outdoor Items
- Before leaving your grill in a storage unit, make sure you have washed and dried it thoroughly. Food debris and leftover grease can break down important components of a grill if left for too long.
- If you have a cover for your grill, it is always a good idea to put it on when leaving the grill in a storage unit. A grill cover will add an extra layer of protection and will help prevent any dust or potential scratches to the grill hood.
- If you have a propane grill, close off the gas lines and disconnect the tank before moving the grill to storage. Propane tanks should not be stored in storage units, or in basements near the furnace, and are safest kept outside through the winter.
- To fully winterize your grill, coat metal grates and burners with a thin layer of vegetable oil to deter rust.
- If you are storing flower pots that are glass or ceramic, you may want to consider investing in a shelving unit for your storage unit, unless it is already offered at the storage facility you have chosen. By storing the smaller planters on a shelf, you avoid the risk of accidentally knocking them over or having something heavier fall on top of them. By getting them off the ground, you can avoid having to replace one in the future. Shelving is also helpful for storing cushions, pillows, and yard games.
- When storing planters, make sure all of the water and soil has been removed from the container. By remembering to do this, you can avoid any potential messes making their way into your unit.
- If you’re also storing gardening equipment such as shovels, hoes, or rakes, consider organizing them on a peg board inside the unit or storing them all together in a large trash can. It’s important to keep these items off the floor to avoid injury to anyone moving around the unit.
- If you want to prepare your furniture for spring while it’s in storage, you can apply a water repellent sealant to wood furniture or a coat of automobile wax to metal furniture to extend the life of the finish for next season.
By reserving a storage unit for your patio furniture and other backyard decor, you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to get everything to fit inside your garage or garden shed during the winter. By properly storing these outdoor investments at an offsite storage facility, you can ensure that they will be in usable condition and ready for the next family BBQ in the spring.