As the season changes, most of us are just settling into the idea that summer is OVER. And even fewer of us have settled into the reality that summer is gone and summer storage is upon us…
Kiddie pools and outdoor lounge furniture are the first to go. Next, there are the citronella candles, hanging lanterns and oversized umbrellas. It all has to get packed away.
There are some simple steps you can follow to make the process go smoother. These same steps can save you time and money next year, too. Summer is over, but you can get that much more out of summer NEXT year by taking proper action now.
Here are the 5 steps to pack summer away more efficiently and effectively than ever. Your future self will be ready for next summer before you can say “Memorial Day weekend!”
STEP 1: Take a quick inventory of your stuff
Every change of season is a perfect time to take an inventory of the things you own (and, ideally, get rid of some of it).
As you think about what needs to be packed up until next year, consider what’s realistically run the course of its life. This mini journey can mean handing things down to someone else who would get more out of it.
Think about which items you used the most this summer, and which you hardly used at all.
Step 2: Clean and wash EVERYTHING
As far as clothing and beach towels go, you DON’T want body oils, sand or chlorine sitting on fabrics for six months! Even if you wore something just once this year, spend the time to wash it all.
And when it comes to furniture, you’ll want to wash, scrub and prepare it for storage. To avoid stains (or, God forbid, MOLD), plan on dedicating a day to clean your furniture, then give everything another day to fully dry before you start packing.
Step 3: Downsize
Think the kids will fit into the same swim suits next year? If not, give them away now.
As for all those things you used once or not at all, this is the perfect time to donate or give them away to save some MUCH needed space.
You can also take care to:
- Get rid of duplicate items
- See if there’s anything worth selling (ca-ching)
- Be honest with yourself about your lifestyle needs
- When in doubt, get an outside opinion
Step 4: Don’t forget those consumable products…
Did you conveniently “forget” to assess the sunscreen and tanning oils? Those items that you’ll obviously use next year BUT have a shelf-life need to be assessed now.
Start by checking expiration dates. Next, any bottles that are almost empty should realistically get tossed to save you space. And if there are any especially grungy bottles, ask yourself whether it’s worth it to wipe them clean or just buy fresh next season.
Remember, packing is as much about PURGING as it is about stacking!
Step 5: Store it right
Proper storage not only keeps you free of clutter, it helps you avoid corrosion and mold. And if there ever is an issue with some vermin infestation, your belongings are better protected.
Storing things correctly also gives your belongings a longer life. If you value your time and money, take the time to be strategic about caring for your things. If you take good care of what you cherish, it will always last longer!
Some best-practices when it’s time to stack and store include:
- Use plastic wrap to protect textiles and fabrics
- Use clear, stackable storage containers so you can see what’s inside
- Use a tarp to cover the grill and tables
- STACK patio chairs to save room and give them weight if stored outside (to prevent them from blowing around)
- Any kiddie pools can be deflated, squished and stored or hung using an S-hook
Expert tip: Get into it
The best thing you can do THROUGHOUT this process is to get into it. You and the kids can have fun making labels, you can feel good going through and downsizing your belongings…and when it’s all done, you can DEFINITELY afford yourself a “good job” reward!
These steps can make storing your summer stuff that much easier. Do it right the first time, and you’ll space and headache now—and time and money when summer’s back again.