I recently ran across some great storage ideas for each of the four seasons and thought I'd share, beginning with (naturally) winter, thanks to ShopSmart, a publication of Consumer Reports. Most of us won't even have to buy supplies, as many of the tips center around organizational tools found within the home, including old newspapers, cardboard, tote bags, paper towels, plastic wrap, and even gym socks (clean one, if you please).
1. Sporting equipment need hooks and wall-mounted shelving. Hang as much as possible from the garage ceiling - totally empty space crying out to be salvaged. Tuck helmets and balls of all kinds in bins and store on shelves. ShopSmart experts advocate using Fast Track wall-mounted rubber shelves from Rubbermaid with hooks on the bottom for hanging other items.
2. Bikes work best with vertical wall racks. Whether your best option is a track system or studs mounted into the wall, choose the one that works best for what space is available find an empty spot on the garage wall.
3. Garden tools like pegboards. Affix the board to any garage or shed wall; leave about an inch of space between the wall and the board to accommodate hooks. (Try mounting the board on standard 2x4 wood pieces.) To ensure the item goes back into its own space, draw an outline around each or place a label in that spot for easy put up.
4. Fertilizer, mulch and topsoil store great in plastic trash cans or bins with secure lids. If possible, keep the materials in their original packaging. Label the bin before putting it away in the shed or garage.
5. Seasonal decorations store nicely in opaque, colored bins; clear bins let in too much light and can damage your goodies before next-time use. Another idea is to use colored containers applicable to the seasonal decorations; for example, red or green for Christmas, orange o brown for Thanksgiving/fall, blue or yellow for spring or summer.
And be on the lookout in April for a list of spring storage suggestions.
Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears every Saturday. Email her at consumer watch@timesfree press.com.