Putting Summer Away

As summer winds down we often find ourselves looking for storage solutions for the patio chair cushions, pool supplies, beach towels, bug spray, sunscreen, bike helmets, picnic gear, sandals, etc. Storing off season items, in out-of-the-way spaces, can make space for the muddy and salt-covered snow boots, winter coats, ice skates and ski equipment that will be showing up in a few short months.

A few things you might consider when putting things in storage:

  • Winter isn’t that long, even in Minnesota. You will likely be getting the summer things out in just 5 or 6 months. Find a place to store items that are out of the way, but not impossible to access. (Although not being able to find your off-season items does provide a convenient excuse to buy new – if that is really what you want!)
  • Avoid using cardboard storage boxes when possible. If water or rodents get into your storage area cardboard does not stand much of a chance. Clear, sturdy plastic bins can keep your things dust, water, and rodent free.
  • Consider the weight of what you are storing and how bins will be kept. If you are stacking bins of heavy items, maybe your SCUBA weights, then invest in high quality bins that will not crack under a lot of weight. If you are storing your outdoor throw cushions, or if bins will be on shelves with nothing on top of them, then you don’t need to invest in super strong bins. (Although you might consider how your storage needs could change over the next few years. Having stronger bins does increase their longer-term usefulness.)
  • No matter if a bin is clear, semi-clear, or opaque, label it! I personally like to use Clear Adhesive 3″ x 5″ Index Card Pockets. (Available on Amazon.) That way I can change the label by just updating the card. I do not get residue from old tape or sticky labels, or hand-written notes that have been crossed out and re-written.
  • If a bin is going to be used for one thing, long term, I like to print 1” labels with a label maker. I have a Brother P-Touch label maker and use it for labeling things in almost every room in the house!

I love the winter but admit that putting away the gardening and yard supplies, emptying the hoses, etc. are not my favorite tasks. I think it is because we have the in-between time. Those few months where it is too cold for summer activities, but not cold enough to get our ice skates and skis out. Which makes it a perfect season for pulling out the bin of puzzles and scrapbooking supplies. Great activities for those in-door days!

From the Expert