Storing your outdoor items for Winter
Today we have part 2 of our 4 part series on preparing your home for Winter.
Here in Northern California, we can get some pretty strong winds with our rain. To take good care of our patio furniture and our barbecues, we need to prepare and to store them properly so we don’t have to buy new furniture and grills in the Spring.
Barbecues and Grills
We won’t get into the debate over gas versus charcoal (or smokers, for that matter). We’ll save that for the Spring. Whatever you have, let’s get it safe and secure before the big Northern California rains in November.
If you have a portable charcoal kettle or gas grill, you may want to find room in your garage or car port to store it over the winter where it will be protected from rust. If you live in an apartment and have covered parking, you might be able to fit yours in between the wall and where your car bumper normally stops. Don’t use it here, though, as there’s a potential for fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
To prepare your portable grill:
- Clean completely. Get some oven cleaner and really spray down the grill part. While it’s doing its job, clean out any ash if charcoal, or clean the burners if you have gas. Throw out lava rocks for a gas grill and plan to buying new ones in the Spring. Grease can get stuck in the rocks which you’re never going to get cleaned out. And clean rocks reduce flare ups which provides a better flavor. Hose off the grill, and enjoy it’s bright shiny look.
- Dry your grill completely to ensure there’s no rust. If there is rust, use steel wool or a wire brush to get it off, and then look if you need to re-coat the surface. You can polish the surface with a simple paste of baking soda and water.
- Repair anything needing repairing. Nothing is worse then the first sunny day in April, pulling out the grill, and finding out that you needed to fix a burner.
- Detach propane tanks if you have a gas grill. Make certain to store them safely in an upright position.
- Read your manual to see if the manufacturer recommends anything specifically. If you can’t find your manual, many companies now put them online. Usually you can find this in Support.
Now put your grill buddy in a safe place. As we mentioned, if it can fit in the garage or carport, that’s the best place. If you can’t, look for an area where there’s an overhang to protect it as much as possible. And invest in a good cover. Make sure you tie down the cover so it doesn’t blow away.
If you have a built in grill, or a large island grill, barbecue or smoker, spend just as much time cleaning, reviewing your manual, and use the covers.
Some of you are able to grill almost all year round (Carmel, Monterey, Silicon Valley…). That doesn’t mean you can get out of doing a little cleaning and maintenance twice a year. Your grill will be so happy if you do. Leave a note in the comments where you are and if you can grill, barbecue or smoke all year.
Some people have sheds for their patio furniture since they don’t want to spare the room in their garage. If you invested good money in chairs, tables, heaters, canopies and outdoor fireplaces, you will want to take care of them for the long term. Similar to grills, the steps are:
- Clean off the pillows and umbrellas. Then store indoors. Some people like to put the pillows into large garbage bags to prevent dust from accumulating.
- Clean all the dirt and grime off of the furniture. If you have wood furniture, consider using some wood soap, or a coating of water sealant.
- Inspect for any repairs needed on all the parts. If you need a new cord on your umbrellas, order them now so you can repair it before you put it away.
- Stack lightweight chairs on top of one another. If you can store them indoors like a garage, carport or shed, that’s your best bet. Otherwise the additional weight will keep them in place if a strong wind storm starts to blow. Find a cover to go over them to protect the chairs from the elements.
- Store lightweight tables indoors. Again if this is not possible, put a cover over, and try to store in an overhang or an area where the wind won’t blow the stacks over.
- Tie down all covers so they don’t blow away.
No matter how you store your outdoor items, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for spiders when you pull them out in the Spring.
When will you hold your final outdoor party before you put everything away for the season?
Here are the other articles in case you missed them:
Part 1: Fall maintenance from top to bottom