A Beginner’s Guide to Outdoor Storage

Your backyard, shed, patio, and the area under the house are just some of the outdoor storage options you can choose from. Here are things that you should and shouldn't store outdoors along with outdoor storage pros and cons.

Are you storing your items outdoors for the first time? You must be very nervous with any questions regarding the safety of your items. Before you store your household storage items outdoors, it is essential to clear a few things in your mind. Are they safe from weather elements and theft? This is the first question many beginners on outdoor storage have.

The answer to this question will depend on where you store your items outdoors and the quality of the storage facility. It is always better to have a good storage unit that will give you full protection from weather elements or someone eyeing it for theft.

You should also ensure the items you’re storing outdoors can handle the weather changes. If you’re storing for winter, ensure they can withstand the cold weather. If you’re storing for summer, make sure the items you intend to leave outside can withstand the heat.

Apart from weather and theft, there are still a lot of things you need to put in mind when storing your items outdoors. So, if you’re storing your items outdoors for the first time, this comprehensive guide is for you!

What to Know Before Storing Your Items Outdoors

The Location

Think of a place that is safe and out of the public eye. The best place will be one where you can see your stuff from inside your home. Seeing them will allow you to check if there’s any theft. Think twice before leaving your belongings in the backyard if you have a neighbor who doesn’t mind his own business. A storage unit in an open field is also good for outdoor storage, but you must beware of wild animals!

Think of the Safety of Your Items

Are you storing some fragile items? Do you have a plan on how to protect them from damage due to weather elements such as rain or snow? Also, is there anything that’s apt to break due to exposure to the sun, like metals and wooden furniture? Tarpaulins can help in protecting these things. You can also try to paint those items that easily fade in the sunlight.

Weatherproof Your Storage

You want your things safe from damage. So you need to make sure that they will not be exposed to moisture when it rains and there’s no one taking care of them. You could set up a tarpaulin over your items or use a waterproof bag if there’s any. It’s also possible to store your things indoors, but this will depend on how much you want them to be guarded against the weather elements.

Keep Insects and Rodents Away

Generally, outdoor air is not that safe for storage. Insects and rodents are everywhere outside, especially in warm places. They could easily get inside your things if you’re not careful. You need to take preventative measures against these pests using insecticides or storing your things in a rodent-proof storage unit.

Get a Storage Unit

The first thing you need is a good quality outdoor storage box or container. Make sure to store your items in this sort of bag so that they could be kept safe from sun and rain. You don’t want your stuff to get wet. If possible, get some waterproof cover for the storage unit for even more safety.

Types of Outdoor Storage

There are many types of outdoor storage units available for household and business use. You can choose which one is the best for you, depending on your purpose and budget. Here are some examples:

The Shed

A shed is a very traditional storage unit. It comes in multiple sizes and is made of wood or metal, depending on the model you use. You can find it in both portable and fixed types. You can build a shed from scratch or buy it in a store, depending on your outdoor storage needs. A shed is one of the most popular types of outdoor storage because it’s cheap and practical for outdoors.

A garage shed with automobile and dog outside.
A shed is an excellent outdoor storage option as it can protect your belongings from weather elements.

The Backyard

The backyard is perhaps the best place for storing some items outdoors, but make sure it’s safe from prying eyes. If you can see your stuff from inside the house, then it’s a good place. If you have a small yard, there are high storage sheds that could be put in the backyard. If you don’t have a yard, renting an outdoor storage container is also very convenient.

Patio and Deck Storage

If you have some items that need to be stored outside, but you don’t want them to be exposed to the elements, consider putting a storage box on your patio or deck. It shouldn’t get damp because the house covers it, and it’s out of the weather. However, this type of storage is best if you don’t intend to store heavy things.

Under the House

If you have a crawl space under your house, it can be used for storage. However, make sure that there are no leaks when it rains. You could also use an outdoor storage unit for this purpose if you want to put some household items outside.

Things You Can Store Outdoors

There are many things you can store outdoors. It must be something that is not easily damaged by the weather, or it’s best if it does not need to be stored in a dry place. Here is a list of some of the things you can comfortably store outdoors:

Toys

Depending on the types of toys your children have, you may want to store them outdoors. Storing toys outdoors is good if you don’t have much space inside your home. You can put them in the corner of your backyard or on the patio or deck undercover. However, there is one disadvantage; toys get dirty and may even attract insects with time. This means that they need cleaning after every use before being placed back into the storage area.

Toys.
You can easily store some of your kids’ toys outdoors, but you will need to clean them occasionally.

Barbecue Grill

You can use outdoor storage if your grill is massive. However, it’s best not to leave these things outside over the winter because they might rust or get damaged by the cold weather conditions. If you’re storing your grills and other outdoor equipment, make sure you clean them before putting them in the storage unit.

Garden Tools

If you have a garden or plan to plant some flowers and vegetables in your yard, storing gardening tools is very convenient. You can store rakes, shovels and other equipment that are used for clearing land or planting seeds. Storing your gardening tools outdoors makes it easy for you to access them when you want to work in your yard.

Gardening tools hanging on the wall.
Outdoor storage is ideal for keeping your gardening tools organized.

Outdoor Furniture

There are many types of outdoor furniture that you can store outdoors. They include chairs, tables, and benches, among other furniture of different materials. You should consider putting outdoor furniture in the backyard or on the patio. This is good if you want to go out for some fresh air but don’t want to get wet while sitting outside your house. Make sure the materials used for making the outdoor furniture can withstand the weather elements.

Outdoor furniture.
Storing your outdoor furniture outside is not a problem as the material can withstand weather elements.

Bicycles and Scooters

Storing your bikes and scooters outside is good if you have a covered porch or a deck to store your bikes. However, it’s not the best place to keep them outdoors for long periods because they can be damaged by rain. Some people store bicycles outdoors because they live in areas where it’s not safe to ride on the streets, and it’s safer to leave your bike outside than inside your home.

There are more things that you can store outdoors. It’s best to consider what nature will do to them if you intend to keep your items for a long time.

Things to Never Store Outdoors

While there is an endless number of things you can store indoors, there are others that are not suitable for outdoor storage. Here is a list of things you should never store indoors:

Food

Food items like fruits and vegetables should not be left outdoors for too long. If you have food items that spoil easily, it’s best to keep them indoors or in the refrigerator because they will attract insects if you leave them outside for a long time.

However, there are other foods that, while they may get spoiled with time, don’t attract insects and can be stored outdoors. These include bread, hard cheeses and some other foods that are not perishable. Clean them thoroughly before putting them outside, so you don’t attract insects from your home or anywhere else.

Electronics

Electronics should never be placed outdoors because they could get damaged by rain or the sun. Such items include laptops that need to be covered all the time to avoid moisture from getting into them. It’s best to store your laptops indoors or in a dedicated indoor storage unit that is made for storing electronics.

Work station.
Do not store electronic devices outdoors, as they are not weatherproof.

Clothes

Clothes, especially those made of delicate material like silk, should not be stored outdoors because they could get damaged by the wind and rain. However, you can keep outdoor clothes if they are made of cotton or other durable material.

Clothes folded carried by a woman.
Various weather elements can easily damage clothes that are store outdoors.

Some Types of Furniture

While some wooden outdoor furniture could be stored outdoors, it’s best to keep indoor furniture in the house. Weather conditions may ruin your expensive patio sofas and chairs. You should also consider keeping indoor items away from the walls because rain could seep through and damage them.

A woman smiling with a plastic wrapped furniture.
As indoor furniture pieces are not resistant to weather elements, you shouldn’t store them outdoors.

Pros and Cons of Outdoor Storage

There are many benefits that you can enjoy when you store furniture outdoors. Here are some pros and cons of outdoor storage that you should consider before you get started.

Pros:

There’s a Lot of Space

The main advantage of storing your belongings outdoors is because you don’t have to worry about space. You could store your patio items outside without worrying about space and still have room for other items in your home. When you want some fresh air, you can go out and sit on your outdoor furniture or work on the tools conveniently.

Outdoor Storage Is Affordable

Outdoor storage is affordable because you are not renting a storage unit that costs hundreds of dollars every month. You can save money by purchasing your own outdoor shed or maybe an old trailer. You can then convert it into an outdoor storage space for your patio items and other belongings. You don’t need a high budget for this type of storage because anything not needed inside the house could be put outside.

Outdoor Storage Is Convenient

Another advantage of outdoor storage is that it’s convenient. Outdoor storage allows you to keep all your items in one place, saving you time and money. Instead of running from one location to another looking for a hammer, you only have to go outside and access all the tools you need for your project.

Zero Humidity and Moisture

If you are not a fan of humidity and moisture, outdoor storage is the best solution for you. All items stored outdoors are exposed to very low amounts of moisture due to the lack of enclosed area. It’s also good for those who need space during heavy rains because water will not accumulate on your items as it would in an indoor storage unit.

Cons:

Exposure to Rain and Snow

The main disadvantage of outdoor storage is obviously weather conditions. They could get rained on and even snowed on if you live in a cold place. You have to guard your items against rain, or you will find yourself spending money on repairs for damaged furniture.

Bugs and Insects Attack

Another disadvantage of storing items outdoors is that they’re exposed to insects. Bugs and insects love dark spaces where they could lay their eggs. Make sure you clean your outdoor storage before using it for the first time. You can also buy insecticide spray to keep bugs away.

Theft and Damage

The last disadvantage of outdoor storage is that thieves could easily access your belongings. If you live in an area with lots of thefts, outdoor storage might not be for you. It’s easy for someone to sneak by and take your items away with them.

Outdoor Storage Tips to Consider

If you’re considering outdoor storage for your patio items, here are some tips that you should take into account.

Create another Storage Space Inside the House

Even though it’s convenient to store outside, make sure you don’t keep all your belongings outdoors. If you have smaller pieces of furniture that don’t need to be kept in a dry area, you can store them inside the house where it’s dry and safe. Keep an eye on all your items when stored outside because thieves could easily take away whatever they want.

Buy Outdoor Furniture Covers

Even though you don’t have to worry about rain or humidity with outdoor furniture, remember that snow is very damaging to the furniture itself. A good solution for this problem is always to buy outdoor covers that will protect the furniture from heavy amounts of snowfall or rain. These coverings are weather-resistant and can last through years of harsh weather conditions.

Clean Your Outdoor Space before Using It

Before storing your patio items outside, you have to clean them first. You don’t know what kind of bugs or insects you could find in the wood.  Your items will be exposed to bacteria if they’re in a dirty place. Ensure you clean the outdoor storage space well with extra disinfectant before placing any of your patio furniture inside. You can also use insecticide for added protection against bugs and insects.

Outdoor Storage FAQ

How long can I store my things outside?

As much as possible, never store anything outside for more than two months. Anything longer than two months should be kept in a covered indoor storage unit. This is because wood gets damaged by too much exposure to the sun and rain. You have to make sure that your things are stored away from weather elements.

A backyard storage tools shed.
Always keep your items dry when they’re exposed to rain.

You can keep your items outside even if it’s raining but make sure you clean them first. Remember that rain can destroy wood and furniture. Always keep your items dry when they’re exposed to rain.

Can I store all my items outside?

Technically, you can store all your patio furniture outside but remember to keep small items inside the house. Your outdoor storage shouldn’t be a dumping space for all your unused furniture because it needs proper ventilation for wooden parts and fabric.

How do I clean my outdoor storage?

You don’t have to wash your indoor or outdoor storage every day by hand. Just a simple wipe down with a towel should be enough to remove any dust, dirt, or grime accumulated. If you have large items like plastic garden furniture or metal patio chairs, then consider washing them regularly, so they don’t get rusty.

Summary

Outdoor storage is a great place to store your items if you don’t have much space or if you want to save money. The main disadvantage of storing items outdoors is the weather conditions. Ensure you always keep an eye on everything and get covers for your furniture. With many insurance companies offering low rates, you can easily keep your property protected against troublesome weather conditions and other safety issues.

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