If you’re like most people, you probably just leave your patio furniture outside year-round, even if you live in a region that features harsh winter weather conditions. Unfortunately, this can lead to rapid deterioration, including not just wear and tear, but serious issues like mold, mildew, rot, and rust, just for example.

Considering what you might pay for a nice set of patio furniture, you probably want it to last more than a year or two. However, this requires proper cleaning, maintenance, and storage in the wintertime. Here are some tips for properly storing your outdoor furniture during the winter months.

Start with Cleaning

Dust, dirt, and moisture can damage your outdoor furnishings if allowed to fester. Before you store your patio furniture for the winter, you should give it a good once over, brushing off loose dust and dirt before rinsing, washing with gentle cleanser (like dish soap in warm water), and thoroughly drying every piece.

Shelter

Ideal storage for your outdoor furniture will include a space with four walls and a roof. If you have room in your garage, you can definitely store furniture there for the winter. The basement is also an option, although moving bulky pieces through the house could be more trouble than it’s worth.

If your garage space is reserved for cars, think about erecting a storage shed in your yard. This is a great way to get lawn and garden items out of the garage, including equipment like your lawnmower, potting soil and pots, and of course, your patio furniture.

At the very least, your furniture should be under cover and somewhat sheltered from the elements, so if you have under-deck storage of some kind, place your patio furniture there and use additional covering (like tarps) for added protection.

Remove Cushions

If you can’t keep your patio furniture in an enclosed shelter during the winter, it’s best to at least remove fabric cushions and store them somewhere indoors to keep them clean and dry. The good news is that these lightweight pieces are easy to move and store.

Remove Feet

You might be surprised by this directive, but it is especially important if you’re storing furniture outdoors during the winter. Water may get inside hollow pieces like arms and legs and freeze, ruining your furniture. Or it could lead to mold, mildew, and rust. By removing rubber feet from furniture pieces you allow for drainage that could just save your furnishings.

Cover Up

Whether you’re storing furniture indoors or out, your last winterization step is to cover up. This helps to keep dirt, debris, and pests away from your furniture if it is inside and it will definitely help to protect against the ravages of the elements if your patio furniture stays outdoors all winter.