Labor Day is kind of a nostalgic holiday: it marks the end of the summer, school is starting soon, the weather is already a little bit cooler, and the days are shorter. Celebrate the moment properly, outdoors, with a nice barbecue, but keep in mind that, once the long weekend is over, cold season preparations are in order.

Hopefully, nice and warm autumn weather will continue for at least a few weeks, but it’s important to have a plan on how to prepare your household for the winter. Your main concerns are the items exposed to the elements, that might get damaged during the cold months of the year.

Here are the household items that need your attention before the cold season sets in:

Gardening Tools

Storing gardening tools for the winter is problematic. Lawnmower, weed trimmer, leaf blower, wheelbarrow, not to mention the whole array of spades, rakes, shovels, hoses and so on a well-maintained garden needs – all that is taking up a whole lot of space. You can put them in your garage, but you’ll probably have to keep the car outside in that case, which is not a very good winter scenario.

If you choose to put all that into self-storage until spring, make sure the equipment is emptied of fuel, and wipe everything down with a little bit of soapy water, to avoid damages that might occur from grease or corrosive substances remaining on the tools for months.

Patio Furniture

Good quality patio furniture doesn’t come cheap, and, in order to use and enjoy yours for as long as possible, you should put in into storage over winter. Yes, patio furniture is designed to endure some bad weather, but exposure to rain, snow, and frost-defrost cycles will drastically shorten its lifespan.

Clean your patio furniture thoroughly with water and a detergent suitable for the type of material it’s made of, be it plastic, wood, mesh or fiber. Grease, dirt, and grass stains must be removed before storing the furniture – otherwise, it will be virtually impossible to clean it properly in the spring. Make sure everything, including cushions, is perfectly dry before transporting the furniture into your storage unit.

Barbecue Grill

If your barbecue grill is portable and not protected by a roof, you should put it into storage. Even when covered by a plastic sheet or a tarp, the moisture will still find its way to the grill, causing it to rust. Leave it outside and you might end up with other surprises, such as a nest of mice making it their home for the winter.

The barbecue needs a little bit of love and care before storage. First, throw away all the remaining charcoal and ashes from inside the grill. Remove the grate and scrub it vigorously with a coarse cleaning brush. Perform the same operation on the bottom and the sides of the grill – it takes some elbow grease to remove the ash and rust buildup, so be thorough. Then, you can use an aluminum foil ball to polish all the surfaces – it’s very efficient in removing any remaining debris. Now, your barbecue grill is ready to be stored in the best possible conditions.

Sporting Equipment, Hobby-related Items and Backyard Toys

There are people among us that are actually using their bikes regularly during winter. However, if you’re not one of them and biking is essentially a summer activity for you, better put your bike into storage, instead of leaving it outside your house, covered in snow. The same goes for other summer sports equipment or hobby-related items: fishing gear, inflatable dinghies, skateboards, tents, hammocks, portable cooking gear, and so on.

Backyard toys like trampolines, playhouses, pools, swing sets, are very rarely (if ever) used during winter, so you’re better off if you disassemble and put them into storage for the season. You definitely don’t want to buy new and expensive toys next year if they get damaged by the snow and the cold, so keep the ones your kids already have safe in storage until spring.

Take your time with all those preparations – you want everything that goes into storage to be clean and packed properly. Just make sure you get everything ready by the time the first frosty nights of the season are here.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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