Organizing and Storing Your Outdoor Summer Items

With summer winding down, it’s time to make sure you have adequate winter storage for all of the items that make summer fun!

This is the best time to make decisions about what you love, use and want to keep. If there is anything that doesn’t fit these descriptions, now is the time to donate or discard them.

Here are some of the items you’ll need to consider:

  • Outdoor furniture

  • Outdoor cooking items

  • Beach Chairs 

  • Sporting goods

  • Gardening items

  • Plants-greenhouse

  • Holiday decorations and related items

Since many of these belongings are large and bulky, efficient use of space for storing should be a priority.

Here are the options for storing your summer fun items:

  • In a Shed 

  • In the Garage

  • Up in the Attic

  • Down in the Basement

  • On High Shelves

  • In Storage Units

Outdoor Furniture

Each material used to construct furniture needs special care and protection. There are many products available for this purpose. Without protection, metal will rust, wood will fade, rot and splinter and plastics (resin, PVC, etc.) will fade, become stained, and weaken.

If you have a large enough shed, basement or other protected space, bringing furniture in is the best option. If you have to leave large items outside, invest in covers and make sure they are well anchored and perhaps stacked in preparation for harsh winter winds. Rodents love to nest in or with any soft materials they can find so take care to protect against these animals. If possible, seal all cushions in bins and make sure these containers are completely airtight. Place desiccant packs with anything that could mold or mildew. Lavender sachets or aromatic cedar also keep things fresh smelling.

Outdoor Cooking

Whether a hibachi or full outdoor kitchen, grilling and eating outdoors is one of the many pleasurable summer activities. Read the maintenance instructions on your grill to maximize its utility and make sure it’s covered properly. Clean and protect all grilling tools and store them together.

Sporting Goods

This is a very individualized category of belongings. You may have only a few balls, bats and yard games or perhaps the family camps and/or owns a boat or swimming pool with an abundance of summer items to organize. Obviously, the more items you have, the more storage space you will need. The key is to get these items out of the way of your daily life during the rest of the year. Removing air from many items can reduce the amount of storage space needed. 

Pulley systems for bicycles are a great way to get them off the garage floor and they remain accessible for rides on mild winter days. This may mean rotating summer items with winter items like skis, snowboards, warm outerwear and shovels. Hopefully the winter stuff was stored out of the way during the spring/summer season.

If not, this is a good time to tweak your storage systems. Slowing down while storing items and really thinking about how and when belongings are used and placing them carefully will organize you for the long run and make things easier year after year.

Gardening items

If you are an avid gardener, you may already have an organized system for use and storage of all the tools, equipment and supplies that gardening requires. If you are just building your gardening supply, taking special care to clean and protect everything should be a priority as the season winds down.

A dedicated shed is really a joy and there are so many products and DIY ideas available to maximize the walls and vertical space. CLICK HERE for more details. If you don’t have a space solely for gardening, do your best to corral everything into the same area using bins, shelving and storage racks.


If you have plants that won’t survive the frost, it’s time to start preparing to bring them in. Their outdoor life might be extended by creating a “pop-up” greenhouse.

Holiday Decorations

Any outdoor seasonal decorations should have designated storage with items from each holiday. That way you can rotate these trimmings throughout the year. If you don’t yet have a devoted holiday decor space, check out How to Organize Holiday Items.

General best practices for storing any belongings

  • Evaluate whether you still want or need an item before storing it away.

  • Taking good care of items before storing will extend their life.

  • Make sure everything is clean and dry before storing. 

  • Think about what the item(s) will need to be optimally protected.

  • Categorize – this is key to staying organized! Store like with like items.

  • Label storage containers in a way that works best for you.

  • Look up! Vertical space is often ignored and/or underused.

  • Keep less used belongings in harder to reach places.

  • Store most used items where you can easily retrieve and put them away. Again, this is key to staying organized.


By Jennifer Dwight


Contact Ideal Organizers + Design at 757.777.8685 or info@idealorganizers to learn more!