Whether it’s your tractor, weed whacker or snowblower, just throwing your equipment into your shed at the end of the season can actually cause significant damage. Knowing how to organize a shed reaches beyond just putting your tools out of the way; it means preparing your equipment to sit for a long period. So, how exactly do you get your yard equipment ready for long-term shed storage?
Drain the Fuel
Ideally, everyone would run out of fuel at the exact end of the season, but sometimes things don’t work out so easily. Use a hand pump to drain all the excess fuel out of your equipment before you pack it up. Be sure to start the engine and let it idle to burn off any fuel that’s left in the carburetor, too. If your gas can is full, you can add fuel stabilizer to preserve it safely.
The piston and its cylinder are often overlooked. Remove the spark plug and spray some fogging oil in the cylinder. Once it is well-oiled, give the pull start a few pulls and reinstall the spark plug. The oil will help keep the piston rings and cylinder walls lubricated so they will be ready to go when you start your engine back up next season.
Before you put a piece of equipment away, remove the starter battery and put it on a charger to top it off. During the cold winter months, the battery can freeze up, store the battery in your basement or somewhere away from extreme cold whenever possible. Protecting the battery will help improve its life-span.
Never put away equipment without cleaning it. Leaving grass and leaves on your gear can cause rot and trap moisture that leads to corrosion. Remove any covers to get underneath and discard any dirt and debris. After you’ve removed the big stuff by hand, spray your equipment down with a hose to get rid of the smaller remnants. Once it’s dry, spray the bottom of the mower deck with silicone spray to keep clippings from sticking to it next time you use it.
You can save a little time next spring by doing some extra maintenance now. Changing the oil and air filters and lubricating any moving parts, like cables and wheels, are things that can be done before you put your equipment away, saving you from having to do it later.
One last thing you’ll want to do is prep your mower and other equipment to prevent mice from making a winter home in it. To keep creatures out, fill any open holes with a shop rag. Critters will hide out anywhere they can fit, so plug any points of entry and you’ll avoid any issues that may arise in the spring.
There’s no two ways about it, knowing how to organize a shed and properly packing up your yard equipment up for the winter can avoid a lot of headaches when the season starts up again next year.
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Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.