I hope I am not jinxing Mother Nature and her recent springtime kindness, but I believe that winter may be officially behind us. There have been sprinklings of snow, but they quickly turn into gushing streams of water as soon as the sun shines. I have to admit, I am pretty much in love with Spring this year.
Which means it is also officially time to pack up the winter gear. There is always a temptation to skip steps when storing winter equipment and gear, which usually leads to future problems and issues. Doing it right (and right away) will save you in the long run.
Whether it’s a snow blower, snow skis, or your puffiest winter coat, you should always thoroughly wash your winter item before storing it. Winter equipment has dirt, salt, acids, and water residues that can cause rust and other forms of destructive corrosion.
Any small spots on winter clothing can turn into permanent stains after months of storage. Even more dangerous than stains are insects—who love your leftover stains, making holes and shreds of your clothes. Do not use fabric softeners or starch when preparing your clothing for storage, as insects are even more attracted to them.
Spray all moving parts on your equipment with a lubricant (WD-40) and disconnect all batteries. Stuff rags into any openings of winter equipment—like the exhaust pipes of snowmobiles or snow blowers—to prevent condensation, as well as bird and rodents from nesting. Hang all skis, shovels, sleds, etc. so that they will stay dry and away from accidental damage.
Winter clothing can be packed into a plastic storage container, wooden or cloth boxes with lids, cardboard moving boxes, or luggage. Place the heaviest items on bottom and lightest on top. To preserve color, consider layering tissue paper between each item. Plastic storage containers are great for keeping water at bay, but the stale air within can promote mildew—poke a few holes in the lid to prevent this.
Throw away the mothballs. Not only do they smell horrid, but they release pesticides into your clothing and the air. Get lavender or cedar instead to keep your clothes smelling fresh while avoiding moths.
Keep your skis, sleds, snowshoes, and other winter athletic gear hung upright and out of any bags. Store snowmobiles off the ground on a wooden pallet to prevent rotting of the tracks and skis. If there is little or no room in your garage or outside storage shed, consider a self-storage unit.
Garages, basements, and attics are great for storing Grandma’s old toy chest, but they aren’t the most ideal candidates for storing winter clothing. Garages are prone to insects, attics are not well ventilated, and basements are full of moisture: all harmful to the longevity of your winter clothes. The best place to store your clothing is somewhere dark, dry, and climate-controlled, like a closet, under your bed, or an indoor storage facility.