The change of seasons can be an exhilarating time. It also tends to be a time where families need to make the full-scale switch from seasonal items. Being able to put away summer clothes and equipment until next year makes room for fall and winter items.
When the snow melts and the weather warms, the cycle of clothing and equipment needs to switch back. Sometimes it can feel like you need a second house for all these things! Having versatile storage solutions in place makes it easier to manage the change of seasons, while still being able to find all the things you need.
Of course, every home and family are unique. The following are some innovative ideas you might want to consider implementing to help safely store and efficiently switch seasonal items.
Family Closet Organization Day
Family activities are a great way for everyone to bond around a shared experience. Vacations, apple picking festivals and trips to the beach are great ways to build memories. Yet carving out a single Saturday afternoon in September or April to change over clothing and gear before popping things back into storage can also promote family togetherness.
If you pitch it just right, your kids and significant-other might come to see it as a touchstone for old and new memories, rather than just another household chore. Even if they lose enthusiasm halfway through, it’s better than trying to tackle the seasonal change over all by yourself!
Making Dedicated Storage Space
Once you’ve recruited your labor force, the next thing you need to decide is just where to put out of season items.
Consider The Basement
In a perfect world, a basement storeroom with enough room for a dozen or so large plastic totes would be nice. Unfortunately, these days this kind of unused space is pretty rare in the modern American household.
What About Attic Storage?
If you have a walk-in attic, you might be able to carve out some space up there. If it’s properly insulated, your items should be just fine. If mice are a problem, you could put down some mothballs or other deterrents.
Though you might want to think twice about storing winter items in an uninsulated attic during the summer. The reality is that the intense summer sun and the fact that the attic is the highest point in the house can send temperatures so high that it could potentially damage or warp certain items.
You should definitely think twice about storing anything made from soft plastic in an uninsulated attic in the summer. This also goes for items that react poorly to high humidity.
Seasonal Storage In The Garage
Your next best option is some heavy-duty shelving in the garage. Even if you don’t necessarily have a lot of space for the shelves, you might be able to install overhead storage bins. You might be surprised just how much weight these units can handle when they are professionally installed to code.
Storing Items In Other Parts Of The House
If you have a guest bedroom or a little extra space in the utility room, you might be able to get by storing tote bins out of sight. This is just fine, so long as you don’t have a lot of house guests.
Under The Bed Storage
If you have a high bed or items that can lay flat, shallow tote bins can be sealed and slid under the bed. Not only can this be a handy way to keep items stored during the offseason, but it also gives your kids a reason to clean out a few dust bunnies.
Hanging Clothing Bags
Clothing items are some of the most common things that need to be stored during the change of seasons. Of course, there are many clothing items that simply do not do well when folded or laid flat. Just like how you wouldn’t crumple up a suit coat when it’s in your closet, you don’t want to just fold it away when stored.
To address this, you can use hanger bags. Much like the suit bags you might use when you need to travel for business, these zippered bags come with hangers that keep the clothing inside in pristine condition. Most are larger than their traveling siblings. This allows you to put up a simple, heavy-duty rod in another storage location to hang up garments, out of sight and out of mind.
Preparing Equipment And Toys For Seasonal Storage
Seasonal equipment tends to be a lot more durable than garments. Yet things like foam seat cushions might not do well when stored in a location that’s exposed to extreme cold.
If you do have something sensitive, you should strongly consider storing it indoors or perhaps in an insulated garage. Custom covers and secured tarps help keep dust and debris from building up on larger stored items.
Lingering water can also be a serious problem with summer gear that needs to be stored through the winter. Even a little bit of water that’s allowed to freeze can damage sensitive parts. If you are going to store summer water gear in a cold location, go the extra mile to make sure it is thoroughly dry, inside and out.
If you are storing items that are sensitive to humid conditions, you might want to also keep a few packets of desiccant inside the tote. If there are any rodent concerns in your storage area, you might want to put out traps or deterrents like mothballs. The last thing you want is chew marks and nests in your cherished recreational gear.
Where To Store Seasonal Equipment And Gear
The garage and the attic are the two most common places people store seasonal gear. Keeping things in tightly sealing totes will keep them from building up dust and debris. If you are planning to store summer items in a heated garage, you might want to invest in some heavy-duty shelves or a ceiling-mounted storage system.
Vehicles that come into a garage in winter tend to leave behind deposits of dirty ice and snow. When they melt, the grimy puddles have a knack for migrating and staining nearby items. Even something like a small puddle that works its way under a cardboard box, can do a lot of damage to the contents.
Remember To Label
Storing things away also calls for a fair amount of labeling. When you are first putting things away you might feel like you will remember what you put in which box or tote. Yet a few months down the line, your memory might not be as crisp as you thought it was.
If you do need to pull something out of storage early, you can lose an awful lot of time rutting around in unlabeled boxes. An exterior label like “Holiday Decorations” helps you identify the right totes. If you want to go the extra mile, you might want to keep a slightly more detailed manifest or written inventory inside the box.