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Many people are finishing up their fall cleaning and getting their lawns and gardens ready for a fallow winter. It’s also time to take out the winter gear: shovels, rock salt, winter sports equipment, etc., will be taking the place of the lawn mower and garden tools.

Seasonal Rotation

garden toolsIf you have a large enough garage or shed, you may not be making changes. If, however, you store off-season equipment in a basement, attic, or storage unit, now is the time to start preparing for the upcoming switch.

Start by making a list of what is coming out of storage and how much space it will take. Then identify what needs to go and where/how it will be stored. Taking a few minutes to plan will save you headaches later. Even if you just move things around in your garage or shed so that the seasonal stuff is in front, it’s still a good idea to plan ahead rather than just start moving stuff around.

Inventory & Assessment

Now is a good time to actually do an inventory of all your lawn and garden tools as well as your winter supplies. Make sure that anything that was borrowed by a neighbor or family member has been returned. Check the condition of each item to see if it’s time to be retired, needs a little repair, or is still in good, working condition.

Having an inventory will allow you to take advantage of end-of-summer sales to replace items as needed. This way you’re storing the new item and you don’t have to remember to buy it next spring. You’ll also find yourself with a handy shopping list for winter items that you need to acquire before the first snow fall — which could be soon if you live in certain parts of the country.

Cleaning & Storage

All tools and equipment should be thoroughly cleaned before being stored away for the winter. Most tools will come clean with simple soap and water. Be careful of motorized tools like weed wackers and lawn mowers. Follow the care instructions from the manufacturer. Tools that got a bit rusty from all the rain can be treated with steel wool.

If you’re putting equipment into a storage closet or unit for the winter, try to stick to a system. For example, put all the potting items together, all the gardening tools in one tub, and store lawn tools in one place. Store metal tools in a cool, dry place to avoid rust. Be careful storing fertilizer, pesticides, and soil. Some storage facilities have restrictions on these hazardous chemicals or items that are likely to attract pests. If you have a gas mower, do not store spare gas over the winter.

Follow these simple tips and your tools and equipment will be safe and ready for you to use next year.

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