Unless you live where the weather is gorgeous all year around, you probably don’t use your outdoor furniture all year. Outdoor furniture is not inexpensive and that means you must find a way to properly store it during the winter, when you’re traveling and when dangerous weather approaches. That leaves many homeowners wondering where and how they should properly store your outdoor furniture when it’s not on the deck.
Clean Your Furniture
The single most important thing you can do for your outdoor furniture is clean each piece. You cannot store dirty furniture if you want it to withstand time. Every piece and every material is different, so it is imperative that you learn how to properly clean your furniture. This includes cleaning your chairs, tables, grill and anything else you keep outside most of the year. Removing dirt, debris, and even mildew from these pieces is essential.
Wash your seat cushions, take the covers off and place them inside the washing machine. If you cannot do this, clean them with a brush and cleaning solution. Be sure to clean your cushions well because they can harbor mold and mildew.
If you’re not using the proper cleaning solutions, then you’re not getting all the dirt and grime off your furniture. Most items are perfectly cleaned with just a mixture of soap and water. Real wood items need to be cleaned with a professional wood cleaning solution. After your furniture is clean, let it dry before you store it. Storing wet or damp items is an invitation for mold and mildew to form on your beloved pieces.
Where to Store Furniture
There’s no right or wrong way to store your items, but there are tips that can make it easier and more effective. If you have a shed, garage, basement, or other covered indoor areas, store your outdoor furniture there during the winter. Cover your furniture to keep them protected. You needn’t go out and look for individual covers for every piece of furniture; many stores have large items that cover stackable furniture. However, it might take a little rearranging and some creativity to stack and fit precisely under the cover. Some furniture items need to be stored in a specific manner to ensure the longevity of items for the upcoming season.
Plastic Furniture– Do not store plastic furniture anywhere the weather drops below freezing, it will not hold up properly. Keep plastic furniture in a temperature controlled area of your home. If it’s not possible to do that, bring it inside on days or nights the temperature drops below freezing.
Metal Furniture – Metal can withstand the harsh conditions of almost any season, but it is subject to rust and other imperfections. It is in your best interest to make sure metal furniture does not get wet or damp. It can be stored in a shed or garage because it can be cold, just not wet.
Wicker Furniture – Wicker items should be stored indoors if possible. They should not be stored where they are exposed to the elements and they should be kept on top of something such as blocks to keep the feet from getting wet or damp.
Teak and Cedar – If your teak and cedar are properly treated, it is not a problem to leave them outside no matter how cold or wet it gets in the winter. It is important you apply tung oil after you clean this type of furniture.
It is not entirely easy to move a full play set made of wood, but you can treat it. Remove any plastic covers that provide shade, just be sure to clean them properly and seal them. When it comes to sandboxes, remove the sand because you don’t want animals finding a way into the sand and making it a warm winter home. Cover it and seal it completely to ensure nothing can get into the sand.
Your bikes and other outdoor riding toys probably don’t get much use during the winter months if you live where it’s really cold. Clean them up with a gentle wipe down and store them. You can hang bikes on the wall in the garage, cover them on the floor, or leave them in the shed or garage as long as they aren’t left outdoors.
Outdoor furniture is durable because it’s meant to be outdoors. However, you can prolong the life of your favorite outdoor pieces if you take time to clean and store them properly. Most pieces need a dry place to stay, if snow and sleet is an issue where you live. If you want your outdoor furniture to last, take time to care for it before it’s too late.