Best Tips for Storing Yard Tools
Spring, summer, and fall are the times when most of us keep our lawns green and beautiful. Once winter rolls around though, and the temperature drops, in most of the country it’s time to put away the lawn tools and seed until spring rolls around again.
There’s various places to store those tools during this time when you won’t need them, such as a shed, garage, or if you don’t have enough storage space at your residence, a self storage unit.
Whichever way you choose to store, you’ll have some steps to take beforehand.
When you hear the words “lawn care,” this is probably the first tool to come to mind. The lawn mower is essential to take care of the big job of trimming down the grass.
Shovels, weed removers, and the rest are great for detail work, and rakes are perfect to gather up all the cut grass and leaves, but lawn mowers take care of the big picture, you could say.
Preparing a lawn mower with a motor takes a little more work, but it can ensure your machine will be in great shape when you need it in the spring. Here are the basic steps for preparing your lawn mower. We encourage you to check the manual for your particular mower for details.
- Clean the Mower: Like you did with your tools, put on a pair of yard gloves and wash the debris, including dirt, leaves, and grass, from your mower using a gentle detergent in water and strong rags. Gently remove rust with steel wool or a wire brush, carefully use a metal file to sharpen the blades, and rub lubricating oil on the metal parts. Make sure it dries completely as well. Debris left on the mechanical parts over the winter can cause severe rust and other damage.
- Change the Oil: Old oil may be infused with moisture, which can harm the engine. So, the next step is to change it out for fresh oil.
- Replace the Air Filters: Having clean air filters in the mower can ensure that it runs well when you get it back in the sprint.
- Drain the Fuel: Old fuel can get thick and clog the engine. Drain it and dispose of it properly.
- Replace the Fuel: If you’ve drained the fuel, it may not be necessary to put in new fuel immediately. However, you can do so as long as you add a fuel stabilizer. Don’t simply add the stabilizer to the engine with the old fuel. It’s made to work with fresh fuel only.
These days, most of us use gas powered lawn mowers. If you have a mower without an engine, the sort with blades that rotate as you push it, put on your gloves and clean it the same way you would other non-electrical yard tools.
If this seems like a lot, you can always get your mower serviced by a professional at a small engine repair shop.
There are quite a few other manual yard tools for maintaining your lawn, hedges, and trees, and fortunately the way to maintain each is similar. These tools include weeders, garden scissors, pruning shears, pruning saws, rakes, and various shovels.
Before you store any of these, put some gentle detergent and water in a bucket and get it foamy. Use old towels to scrub off the dirt. Next, give the tools overnight or at least a few hours to dry.
To maintain the various parts, rub down the rusty areas with a wire brush or steel wool. The goal is to get the rust off but to avoid thinning down the metal. You can also maintain the wooden parts by sanding them smooth with a medium grit sandpaper. Wipe the tools down when done to remove the metal and sawdust.
For your tools that need sharpening, use a metal file. Don’t file too hard or you’ll prematurely wear down the tools. You want to remove small bits of damage, like nicks, and get them sharp enough to do their job.
Finally, rub on lubricating oil with a clean rag. This can go onto both the metal and wooden parts. Rub off excess oil when you’ve finished. This will help keep them in good condition, and prevent rusting, over the winter.
Storing Your Yard Tools
At this point, your yard maintenance tools will be all set to store. Don’t just pile them up, though. Make sure you have a system.
At home, wall racks are perhaps the best way to keep your tools sorted and organized. You’ll be able to take down your tools and use them when you need them.
In a storage unit, or at home, another good way to store them is wrapped linen cloth and placed in plastic bins. Of course, you won’t be able to do this with the lawn mower. That is best placed on a palate, just off the floor. Long-handled tools like shovels and rakes can go in long, cardboard tubing, or even in an old golf bag.