5 Tips for Seasonal Storage
Now that it’s summer, all you want to do is get outside to the barbecue and the beach – but first, you have to dig through the clutter of ski boots, heavy down comforters and Christmas decorations. How do you lighten up your load and shift into a simple lifestyle for summertime? Here are 5 tips to get those seasonal items stashed away safely so they’ll be all ready in that far distant future when the days cool off again.
1. Don’t Feed Unwanted Pets
Your home may harbor tiny clothing moths, and their batches of babies grow big and strong by eating protein fibers like wool and fur. If this touching little wildlife scene doesn’t appeal to you, make sure to wash or dry clean every item before storing it. Any method of cleaning will discourage moths by removing sweat or food stains, which make the fibers especially appetizing to them. The dry cleaning process kills off the larvae, and washing will do the same if you can use water that’s at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. For those items that really don’t need cleaning (or if you’ve procrastinated and just haven’t gotten around to going to the dry cleaners), putting your items in the freezer for 24 hours before storing them will also destroy any eggs or larvae that happen to be hitchhiking in the folds. Avoid mothballs, though – they’re toxic, and they’ll make you smell like your grandmother’s attic.
2. Pack Your Suitcases
That is, if you’re not planning to use them anytime soon. Lots of us have empty luggage hanging out in our closet or under the bed waiting to be pulled out for those rare trips where we need to carry more than we can fit into a little carry-on. If you have a couple of large suitcases just sitting empty, use them as organization aids. They make perfect self-storage spots for a few simple items such as winter blankets or holiday tablecloths.
3. Treat Your Down Gently
You probably have some down items stuffed into that closet full of winter treasures. Down-filled jackets, comforters and sleeping bags need special treatment in order to stay fluffy while in storage. The experts at REI recommend washing these items by hand and putting them in a cool dryer or hanging them up to dry. They don’t recommend dry cleaning because the chemicals can strip the natural oils out of the feathers and decrease the fluffiness quotient. Once you have your down item clean and dry, put it gently into a mesh or fabric bag online slots that allows some air to circulate. Don’t press and squash it to try to make it fit. Water-tight storage and vacuum-sealed bags are not good for down because condensed moisture can accumulate inside them and cause mildew.
4. Baby Your Winter Sports Gear
It’s important to give your skis, snowboards and boots some attention before moving them to storage for the warm seasons – and it’s also kind of fun. You can dream of next winter’s adventures while you’re tuning your skis and snowboards and putting a fresh coat of wax on them. It’s a good idea to remove liners from ski boots and then hand wash them. After the liners are thoroughly air-dried, replace them inside the boots, and then lace up the boots so they maintain their shape. Make sure that skis are stored upright, and (like down items) not sealed inside of plastic. Air circulation is helpful for all ski equipment.
5. Add an Herbal Finish
In addition to discouraging insects of all sorts, natural oils like cedar and lavender will ensure that when you open your storage containers next fall, you’ll be greeted with a fresh and pleasant fragrance. You can buy little balls of cedar wood, or simply go to the pet store for cedar shavings to tie securely into small net bags. Lavender is also available in many fresh and dried forms. Tuck sachets into the pockets of your clothing (you might find some money you’ve forgotten!) and into storage bags and boxes.
Once you’ve cleared away all your bulky winter items, you’ll be able to find that beach towel and barbecue grill you were looking for; after all, summertime is calling!