As much as we don’t want to admit it, colder temperatures, shorter days and long-sleeved shirts are right around the corner. And as we start putting away the shorts, we should also put away the patio furniture.

But it’s not as easy as stacking it up and storing it away. There are steps you should take to ensure that this seasonal furniture lasts longer than a summer or two.

The rule of thumb is to start putting it away around the time you see the first of the leaves falling. Leaves piling up on your furniture can quickly cause stains once they decompose. Removing the furniture before the leaves fall is one simple way to ensure your set stays clean.

However, before you put the furniture away, you must first make sure that you inspect it. Check for any cobwebs, dirt or debris that may be on the pieces. Wipe them off with a cloth. If you have any fabrics, scrub any areas that need cleaned with soap and water. To simplify this effort, as well as other outdoor cleaning projects, ask Blind & Sons to install an exterior hot-water faucet on your home. It will make cleaning and sanitizing outdoors a cinch.

Make sure that all items are dry before storing them to reduce the chances of mold. Even though the furniture won’t be in use, putting it away clean makes sure you’re not surprised by its condition when you take it out of storage after winter. (And, if you’re lucky, it may cut down on what you have to clean when it’s time to use it again.)

And the best way to clean them depends on the furniture.
• For aluminum furniture, applying a silicone spray or even car wax can protect the aluminum from pitting and corrosion.
• Plastic furniture can be washed with hand soap and water. Avoid scouring powders because they can easily scratch plastics.
• Iron furniture will need a silicone spray, particularly underside surfaces. Applying the spray creates a barrier against water and rust.

After the furniture is clean and dry, you can start storing it away. If you can, put all cushions, umbrellas and pillows inside to avoid moisture damage and mold.

If you have chairs that are lightweight, you can easily stack them in your garage or storage shed. And if your table is light enough, it can typically be stored on top of the chairs. To avoid scratches or damage, it’s best to cover your chairs before placing the table on top.

Also, if the table’s legs are easily removable, you can remove them and save even more space by storing the table on its side.

However, if your furniture is too heavy to relocate in the winter, a cover works well. Find a cover that is heavy duty and for outdoor use. For best results, make sure the cover can tie at the legs to ensure the cover won’t blow off from high winds. This also blocks snow and rain from blowing onto your furniture.

And even though you have a cover, always brush away snow buildup to avoid any water from sneaking its way onto your furniture. If that water freezes, you may find some damage once the cover is removed.

Following these tips can add some years to your furniture and keep some money in your pocket. So what are you waiting for? Start planning now so you don’t have to pay later.

Furnish Your Patio