Stop & Stor Offers Tips on Storing Patio Furniture Away for the Winter

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As summer weather makes way for autumn in NYC, it’s time to think about storing and organizing the items that won’t be used for another year. September is a great month to store the following items, but it's crucial to do so properly to ensure that they are in good condition the next time they are used.

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Storing outdoor furniture
It’s important to clean outdoor furniture and store it properly to ensure that it lasts a long time. No matter what type of furniture (metal, plastic, wood or wicker), start by using a dry cloth to rub off dirt, pollen and spider webs. For further cleaning, most outdoor furniture can withstand a wash of mild dishwashing soap and warm water. Plastics and resins may clean better with the addition of oxygen bleach.

When dry, place a sturdy cover over the furniture and move it to a covered location. Furniture will last longer if the legs are elevated off the ground (lay a piece of 2-inch by 4-inch plank of wood on the ground and place the legs of the furniture on top of it). Umbrellas should be folded. Use a cover to protect the fabric over the winter.

Outdoor cushions storage
Before cleaning outdoor cushions, read the manufacturer's recommendation for cleaning. Some outdoor fabrics should not be machine-washed and many cushion fillings shouldn’t get too wet. Use a dry cloth to first brush off pollen and dirt. If cushion covers are removable, clean them separately by hand with a sturdy brush and a mild detergent. Make sure the fabric and fillings are completely dry before storing them inside a clear plastic box or a fabric cushion storage bag. Cushions will last longer if stored in a clean and dry place, like a local storage unit in NYC, basement, attic or garage. Storing them outdoors can attract bugs or mold.

Storing outdoor play equipment
Sandboxes should be completely emptied of sand and thoroughly cleaned. If it cannot be emptied, then make cover it completely to keep animals, insects and debris from spoiling it. Larger pieces, like swing sets and playground equipment, are generally left out exposed to the elements. However, use this time to keep them in good shape by sanding off any lichen or moss growth, washing plastic parts or pieces and by keeping any fabric in good condition. Be sure to check with the manufacturer regarding any specific maintenance tips.

Bicycles and sporting equipment storage
Giving bicycles and other sporting goods a thorough wipe down is the first step in prepping them for storage. Mechanized equipment, like bikes, should also be oiled and lubricated. It’s a good time to give it a complete tune-up and make sure it’s in good working order. Kayaks, golf clubs and other sporting goods should be cleaned and free of dirt before storing. Storing these items up off the ground is the best way to make sure that they don’t get knocked over or dirty during the fall and winter seasons. If possible, hang bicycle hooks on the ceiling or store sporting goods in over-sized buckets, bins or cabinets.

Seasonal serving ware and accessories
If tablecloths, dishware or other accessories are used on a seasonal basis, create an organized storage spot so that they are kept clean until the next time they are needed. Dirt and mildew can break down fabric so make sure all décor and accessories are clean and free from food, oils or sticky residue. If these items are stored among your everyday goods, try storing them in the back of the cupboard or underneath your fall and winter items. Another storage idea is to keep them in clear plastic boxes out of the way in the basement, garage or underneath a bed. Being able to see through the boxes will save time when trying to locate serving pieces next summer.

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Francesca Alcorn
Stop and Stor
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