If you have children and are lucky enough to have a garden for them to play in, you’ll know just how valuable that outdoor space is, especially during the long summer holidays! Outdoor toys and play equipment are great fun, and they encourage your children to go outside and just play
. On hot days, all you have to do is add a hose pipe or sprinkler, and the children have an even better time!
When the nights start to draw in again, and the temperatures drop, it’ll be time for the outdoor fun to draw to a close. It’s essential to keep all your children’s outdoor toys and things safe and sound so that all the fun and games can start again as soon as the sun comes out next spring. Here are some storage ideas and suggestions for storing your outdoor toys, games and equipment
over autumn and winter.
1. Organise and clean everything first
Toys and equipment that have been outside all summer will have been exposed to the elements (thank you, British weather!) and will, at some point, have been rained on and covered in mud. Some will have been played with so much that they’re in bad shape or broken. There might be other toys your children haven’t played with very much because they’ve outgrown them.
Clean and dry anything that can be salvaged and that you know will be used next year. If there are toys that other children can reuse, consider either selling them (maybe wait until the start of spring, when parents will be shopping online for outdoor toys) or donating them to charity or local playgroups/schools.
Broken toys need to be disposed of - try to recycle as much as you can so that it doesn’t all end up in landfill. There are a few ways to recycle toys and games in the UK
that are worth investigating. Toys that can still be used can be recycled via a free drop-off service run by Toys for Life
. However, Hasbro has partnered with Terracycle
(an excellent recycling scheme that includes ways to recycle all sorts of household items) to recycle broken toys and games
2. Make the most of your garden storage space
If you have a shed, now is a great time to organise it so that you can store as much as possible while still ensuring you can access everything when needed.
You could invest in some large plastic tubs with lids to store and stack all the toys and games along one wall of your shed. Ensure the tubs are clearly labelled to make it easier to unpack next year! If you’re storing toys in plastic tubs, it’s vital that they’re dry, or things will perish. Lids need to fit securely to prevent dampness or pests from getting in.
Ladder hooks are an easy way to store long, tall items like rakes and ladders, and they can be used for toys like football goalposts, badminton net poles, or netball hoop stands. Those items can be stored horizontally, against one wall of the shed, so they don’t fall over every time you move something. Similarly, using hooks or nails in the shed joists to hang items flush against the wall (e.g. tennis rackets, water pistols, etc.) is a great way to save floor space for bulkier items.
Consider alternative storage options if you have too much to fit into your garden shed. You might decide to rent a self-storage unit (see four below) - if so, you might decide that it’s better to store your more expensive garden furniture and tools and keep your (less expensive) outdoor toys in your shed. That way, if someone does break into your shed over winter, they’ll only have access to the toys, which can be replaced at less cost than your lawnmower and hedge trimmers.
3. Do you have room for an outdoor storage cupboard/chest?
Strong, plastic outdoor cupboards and chests are reasonably affordable and easy to construct (well, compared to building a wooden shed!), and they’re great for keeping outdoor equipment and toys safe and dry. They’re usually secured with a padlock, like most sheds, and you could store other garden equipment like gardening tools.
If you have room for one of these, the chests can double up as a bench, and the cupboards can be fitted with shelves to be a versatile addition to your garden.
4. Consider renting a self-storage unit
If you don’t have space in your garden for secure storage or are worried about a storage unit being too tempting for opportunist burglars, you could rent a self-storage unit
for a few weeks over autumn and winter.
Our self-storage units are indoors and range in size from 10 ft sq cupboards (about the size of a car boot) to warehouse-size rooms. A good size for garden toys/equipment storage would be a 16 sq ft room, but the best thing to do is chat with one of our team who can give you tailored advice based on exactly what and how much you need to store.
The benefits of using self-storage for your outdoor toys and equipment are:
- Everything will be kept secure, clean and dry;
- Our stores are covered by 24-hour CCTV, fire and smoke alarms and pest control;
- You can access your unit as often as possible, seven days a week, during our regular trading hours.
You could also use your storage unit to keep your outdoor furniture safe and clean over autumn and winter.
If you’re planning to store your children’s old toys before selling them at the start of spring, popping them into a storage unit will keep them safe and out of the way until you have a buyer.
Things to remember
If you decide to store your outdoor toys and equipment at home, check that your home insurance covers the cost of replacing
them should the worst happen. If all you have are a few footballs and a badminton net, the cost of those probably wouldn’t be worth insuring separately, but if you have playhouses, ride-on toys and other large items, the cost to replace those could be considerable.
We recommend that all our customers take out adequate insurance to cover the cost of anything in their storage unit. However, the chances of anything untoward happening are far less than if the items were kept at home.
If you’re storing tools that require batteries or fuel, make sure the batteries and fuel are removed before storing them.
Roll on next spring…
Next spring will be here before you know it. Storing your outdoor toys and equipment safely now will pay dividends next year when you don’t have to dig through lots of dirty, spider-infested bits of plastic!