Need more space in your home? In the current economy, you’re likely paying a premium for every square foot, whether you’re renting or buying, which means trading up to a larger home is less attractive of an option than it used to be.
Luckily, you can make the most of your current space with some savvy seasonal storage solutions. By storing items you only use some parts of the year during off-season months, you can reclaim some much-needed square footage and reduce clutter while you’re at it.
Here are some solutions for making the most of seasonal storage.
Seasonal Storage Solutions: Season by Season
Looking for seasonal storage ideas? Consider this your “cheat sheet” for stowing your items by season over the course of the year.
Spring Storage Solutions
It seems appropriate to start with the season of new beginnings. With spring’s warmer weather, you’ll likely be spending more time outdoors, tending to your garden, or taking advantage of the kids’ Spring Break for a family vacation. And depending on your climate, you’ll likely be ready to pack up your wintertime tools and clothes and trade them in for your outdoor patio furniture and swimwear.
1. Start with Spring Cleaning
Spring Cleaning is a perfect way to kick off your seasonal storage journey. The goal is to eliminate items you don’t need and reclaim more storage space. Get started by sorting through your belongings and dividing them into four piles:
Dust, clean, or wash anything in the Keep pile that needs to be freshened up. While you’re at it, this is a great time to group your items by category in bins, baskets, and boxes. This makes it easier to gather and store them according to season.
2. Shelve Winter Sporting Equipment
As temperatures rise, it’s time to put away winter sports gear. This may include snowshoes, ice skates, skis, snowboards, hockey gear, and heavy-duty winter wear, such as snow boots and snowsuits. Just make sure everything is dry before packing them up to prevent mold and mildew.
According to Family Handyman, shelves are a great storage hack for winter sports gear: “Whether you ski, skate or snowmobile, custom shelves may also help keep winter sports gear wrangled in one place. Shelves can be used to keep bins and other accessories, while hooks can be added to store jackets and a boot rack can be added underneath.”
3. Put Winter Maintenance Items in Storage
Home maintenance items can be easily categorized by season and stored as needed in the off-season. So as you’re pulling out the lawn mower and pool pump for the warmer months, put away winter maintenance items such as snow shovels, snow blowers, sidewalk scrapers, and roof rakes. Be sure to take care of expensive equipment, such as snowblowers, which require special steps to protect the engine. Follow our Steps for Optimal Snow Blower Storage to make sure your machine is ready to store before packing it away for the spring and summer.
Summer Storage Solutions
Summer is all about spending time outside — ideally, as close to a swimming pool or backyard grill as possible. If you didn’t do it during the spring, now is definitely the time to pull your patio furniture, grill, and swimwear out of storage. Likewise, you’ll want to prep your jet skis and boat for the season ahead. Before you head out to your storage unit, grab your Easter or spring decor and the last of your cooler-weather items so you can stow them away during the coming months.
4. Store Off-Season Clothes
According to Apartment Therapy, the first step before storing your winter clothes is donating any items you didn’t wear: “There’s no sense putting time and energy into preparing items for storage and then consuming valuable space when you won’t wear the items next winter season.” They also stress the importance of making sure your clothes are in their best condition before putting them away. So wash everything you’ve worn, hand washing or dry cleaning any delicate items as required.
Store off-season clothes in plastic bins. The exception would be delicate or vintage pieces, which you might want to hang or fold separately, especially if you have closet space for garment bags. Slide your storage bins under beds or place them on the highest shelves of designated closets.
“You want your winter clothing in a cool, dry, dark location,” Apartment Therapy advises. “Keeping your clothing in a temperature-controlled environment probably means keeping them in your house.” If you don’t have space for these items in your home, climate-controlled storage units are an excellent option for storing off-season clothes.
5. Keep Sports Equipment Organized for Next Season
One of the major pillars of spring is athletics, as any parent (or sports fan) can attest. As sporting seasons wrap up and the school year ends, there will be plenty of equipment to transition to storage, from baseball bats and tennis rackets to cleats, helmets, and pads. Obviously, any sporting goods that will be used during the summer (such as volleyballs and frisbees) should be left out.
Here are some tips for staying organized:
- Store balls in mesh laundry bags, which make it easier to grab and go.
- Use a shoe rack to store your athletic shoes — they’ll look neater and be easier to find.
- Consider using duffle bags dedicated to each sport, using masking tape to label each one. When the season starts anew, voilà — you’ve got your shoes, equipment, and any other accessories you need all in one place.
Fall Storage Solutions
For many, the most exciting excursion to the storage unit is at the beginning of fall to retrieve their pumpkin spice–scented candles and favorite boots. As the weather turns cooler and school gets back in session, it’s time to take out cozy couture like flannels and fleece, school supplies, fall sports gear, and maybe even winter maintenance equipment if you’re due for an early winter. Meanwhile, you’ll pack away pool floats, chaises longues, and other signature summer gear.
6. Protect Outdoor Accessories
Storing outdoor summer accessories is less about decluttering your yard and more about extending the life of your stuff, especially pricier items like your prized grill. As swimming and gardening activities close for the year, gather all the tools you used to help keep the pool, lawn, garden, and backyard in tip-top shape all summer.
This might include anything from hedge clippers and riding lawnmowers to pool brushes and pool-cleaning robots. Pull the pool cover out of storage to help make room for your outdoor items. Before you stow away your grill or lawn mower, make sure to read up on the proper steps for getting them storage-ready, as they can pose a serious safety hazard if stored improperly.
7. Consider Lawn Furniture Storage
Despite what the tag says, your patio furniture is probably not all-weather furniture — especially if you live in an area known for harsh winter conditions. Like most outdoor leisure accessories, they’ll fare better when stored indoors, protected from freezing temperatures and winter storms.
Not all outdoor furniture needs to be moved indoors, however. According to The Outside Edit, “Stainless steel, powder-coated reinforced steel, and hot-dipped galvanized steel are great options when it comes to patio furniture that can be left outside during winter.” In this case, it’s still a good idea to add some kind of fitted protectant cover. Make sure your furniture is thoroughly cleaned and dry before covering it with a waterproof outdoor furniture cover made of acrylic or olefin.
8. Create a Pop-Up Greenhouse
As temperatures dip, keep your plant friends protected by bringing them inside. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, annuals and tender plants that are dormant over the winter should ideally come indoors before nighttime temperatures drop below 45°F. “As fall approaches and night temperatures reach about 50°F (10°C), start bringing the plants inside for the winter,” they recommend. You can store your plants in a rarely used guest bathtub or create your own walk-in greenhouse in your basement or garage.
Winter Storage Solutions
Finally, the time has come to pull out your holiday decor (yay!). Of course, don’t forget your winter maintenance equipment, such as snow blowers and snow shovels. If you live in a colder climate, winter storage is all about protecting your items — from furniture to vehicles — from extreme temperatures.
9. Winterize Your Vehicles
If you are leave any vehicles unused during the colder months — such as motorcycles, boats, campers, or sports cars — you must take a few critical steps to ensure they’re properly prepped.
The winterization process usually begins with a thorough cleaning and maintenance check. After that, steps will vary depending on the type of vehicle and the type of seasonal storage you’re considering. But the general idea is to make sure none of the plumbing freezes, the vehicle is free of potentially damaging water or moisture, and best practices regarding fuel are complied with. For example, experts recommend leaving your boat’s fuel tank almost full and adding fuel stabilizer and/or antifreeze before putting it away for the winter. Motorcycles and lawn mowers have similar winter storage guidelines.
10. Get Clever with Your Holiday Decor Storage
As sad as it is to pack them away, by the time the New Year comes, it’s clear your holiday decorations have outstayed their welcome and will need to return to storage.
Luckily, store-bought holiday storage accessories make packing decorations easier than ever. For example, you can store your wreaths in conveniently wreath-shaped bags and bins. Wrapping paper storage containers can slide under the bed or hang in a closet out of the way until next year. And Christmas light reels allow you to avoid tangled messes of string lights. If these aren’t in your budget, DIY options will do just fine. For example, wrap your lights around pieces of cardboard and store ornaments in recycled egg cartons or to-go beverage holders.
Large seasonal decorations should be stored with their size and weight in mind, recommends This Old House: “Most artificial trees are too heavy to wrestle into a trap-door attic or lug up a set of stairs. Consider storing the tree on the same floor as it is used, perhaps in an adjacent garage, storage room or closet.” They specifically recommend rolling cases or bags with sturdy hanging hooks for storing these oversize items.
More Seasonal Storage Solutions
Some seasonal storage solutions will always be appropriate no matter what season you’re in, such as these:
11. Consider Self-Storage
Self-storage is an easy, versatile solution for seasonal storage and a quickly growing trend. Whether you’re changing out your wardrobe to match the weather or stowing away your snorkeling gear, having a year-round storage unit that allows you to come and go on your own schedule is like having an off-site closet. Not to mention, the space can be significantly cheaper per square foot compared to an apartment or house, depending on where you live.
Do you live in extreme climate conditions? Climate-controlled storage, such as temperature-controlled, humidity-controlled, and heated storage units, provides further protection than traditional storage units. This is perfect for documents, valuables, and other easily compromised seasonal items, such as wood furniture, if you live in an area prone to exceptionally high or low temperatures or high humidity. In other words, no matter where you live or what you’re storing, you have options to ensure your items stay in the best condition possible. These Storage Tips for New Renters will help you get started with self-storage.
12. Stay Organized
Make it easier to transition from season to season with some basic tips for organizing your seasonal storage:
- Pack your seasonal items in clear, plastic storage bins so that you can locate items easily.
- Label your boxes with stickers. You can keep labels broad, such as “Holidays,” or get as specific as you need so you remember exactly what’s inside (for example, “Christmas ornaments, tree skirt”).
- Keep a separate inventory of all your storage items, where they’re stored, and how to minimize time spent hunting down your stuff. This is especially useful if you use multiple storage solutions, such as a shed, garage, and storage unit.
Convenient Seasonal Storage
Not only does seasonal storage free up more space throughout the year, but it also helps you keep your possessions protected when they’re not in use — improving their longevity and saving you money in the long run.
Ready to transform your home with convenient seasonal storage solutions? Visit Life Storage’s online search tool to explore thousands of storage options nationwide sorted by zip code.