5 Tips for Protecting Gardening Equipment for Storage

man holding a bunch of flowers

Seasonal items have a tendency to take up a lot of room in your home. If you don’t have a lot of space to work with, items that you use infrequently like sleds, inflatable pools, and sports equipment can clutter your garage or attic quickly.

Homeowners only use gardening tools for a fraction of the year, but these items tend to dominate areas without the right storage solutions. In addition, putting your tools away for long periods of time without any prep can result in rusted and worn out tools, especially if they stay in a humid garage or shed. How do you prepare and store gardening equipment for long-term storage?

How to Prevent Rust

When people store their garden tools for the winter months, it’s common for rust to form around any metal parts. The best way to prevent rust is to clean the tools and then coat the metal with motor oil or boiled linseed oil. Motor oil is an old-fashioned method that many gardeners stand by. Boiled linseed oil comes from the flax plant and is an eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-based motor oil. Whichever oil you choose, both are effective at keeping rust away.

If your tools currently have rust spots, get a washcloth and saturate it with vegetable oil. Wiping the metal parts with this oil will lift the rust and prevent more rust from appearing for the rest of gardening season. Having rust-free tools makes it easier to prep for the winter storage months.

How to Protect Wooden Handles

Many gardening tools also have wooden components. When wood is stored away for long periods of time, humidity can damage the material and make it wear down prematurely. To prevent mildew, splinters, or faster wear, follow this care method.

Clean and dry the wood handles and coat them with boiled linseed, coconut, or walnut oil. This protective layer will keep moisture and dirt away, while also making sure that the wood doesn’t dry out too much and become prone to splintering. Though these plant-based oils dry quickly, you can get the best results if you prep your tools in a warm place so that the oil can best penetrate the wood. Coat wooden tools that are in good condition once or twice, while older wood may need three coats to be properly protected.

Tips for Storing Larger Gardening Equipment

Rakes and shovels are large and cumbersome. Though stores sell expensive racks, more affordable solutions are available right at home. For example, you can store these tools safely placing them upright in a garbage can. For added convenience, this can be the trash can that you habitually use during pruning season to collect yard waste.

If you want a trash can alternative, your local hardware store likely carries cardboard concrete-forming tubes, which cost around $10 each. These tubes have the right length and width to safely store large equipment like rakes, shovels, and hedge clippers upright all winter long. Fastening these tubes to a garage stud is easy with some nails and a plumbing strap. Or, for the ultimate seasonal storage hack, an old golf bag from a thrift store can be the perfect storage compartment that allows you to easily roll your tools away when you don’t need them.

Tips for Storing Smaller Equipment

The difficulty with storing smaller equipment is finding a way to keep them organized and safe. After oiling your smaller tools like hand shovels and spades, store them in medium-sized containers. A good example is a large Tupperware with a lid at your local dollar store. This kind of storage method allows you to label and safely tuck away your small equipment. When you need them again, it will be easy to identify and retrieve the items you need from your garage shelf. If you’re seeking an eco-friendly alternative, you can cut out the tops of old milk containers, wash them out, and use them to keep your small tools in one place.

Protect Your Lawn Care Products

Expert gardeners know that an open bag of weed killer or fertilizer will lose its form or effectiveness from being exposed to humidity. To solve this problem, put any open bag of fertilizer, seeds, or weed killer in a large plastic bag that you can reseal. If possible, you can even get the type that allows you to vacuum out any air so that very little moisture affects your products during the winter.