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A picnic basket, fishing rod, flippers, and bags sit behind a car in a driveway, with a bicycle and paddleboard in the background.

The Seasonal Shuffle: How to Strategically Store Your Summer Gear

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When the temperature starts falling, it's time to stash away summer gear in your storage unit and grab what you need for the winter months. Here are a few tips to help make that happen smoothly – everything from what to store to how to store it.

Make a List & Check it Twice

All the extra space a self storage unit provides is fantastic. But let’s be honest – no one wants to run back and forth to their unit any more often than necessary. So inventory the items you won’t need to use again until next spring or summer and make a list. This could include summer clothing, camping and summer sports equipment, fishing gear, patio furniture, pool toys, gardening equipment, or summer toys such as kayaks, paddleboards, and bicycles, etc. You may even have a motorcycle, convertible, boat, or RV that needs a winter home.

Find the Right Size Unit

Once you’ve determined what you’d like to store, use a size guide to help determine the correct storage unit size for your needs, if you don’t already have one rented or need to upgrade your space. In any unit larger than 5x5, make sure you factor in room for an aisle or walkway, so you can easily access boxes and items in the back of the space. Be careful not to cram too much into a unit; doing so could crush, bend, or break your items.Over-stocking also makes it harder to find things when you need them.

Remove Batteries

If anything you’re storing has batteries (e.g., kids toys, flashlights, bicycle lights, safety flashers, etc.), make sure you remove the batteries before storing. Batteries can corrode when they sit for long periods of time, which can be dangerous and damage your belongings.

Clean, Air Out & Dry Your Items

Make sure everything is clean and completely dry before it goes into storage. Storing items that have saltwater residue can lead to corrosion. Items that are even slightly damp can end up with stains, patches of mold or mildew, or just an unpleasant stale odor that’s difficult to eliminate.

Store Clothing in Plastic Containers

If closet space is at a premium, storing seasonal clothing can be a lifesaver. Storing clothing in plastic containers with tight-fitting lids instead of cardboard boxes will provide an additional layer of protection against dust, pests, and moisture. Extra suitcases also make great containers for clothes. Make sure you wash and completely dry the clothing, and label the containers so you’ll be able to tell what’s what, at a glance, several months from now.

Consider Climate-Controlled Storage for Sensitive Items

If anything you’re storing is sensitive or of high value, consider a climate-controlled unit. Documents, electronics, fabric, leather, and wood items, and more will be better preserved in an environment with steady, moderate temperatures and humidity levels. These units also help provide better protection from pests and dust.

Organization is Key

Before you start packing items into your storage unit, give some thought to your unit’s organization. Try to group like things together, and place the items you’ll need to get to first or more frequently, in the most accessible locations. Also, start with the largest and heaviest items on the bottom and stack upward. An inexpensive shelving unit or two can be very useful and help you go vertical more easily and safely. And finally, label EVERYTHING. The labels don’t have to be fancy – a piece of painter’s tape and a Sharpie will get the job done.

It may seem like a lot of work to get all of your summer gear ready to go into storage, but using these tips will make the process run more smoothly and help ensure that your gear and belongings will be in the best possible shape when you’re ready to use them again.

For additional lifestyle and storage tips, visit the StayLock Storage blog today.