With more and more emphasis on expanding our living area to the outdoors, patio furniture has become more like indoor furniture. The fabrics are supposed to be a bit more weather friendly, and dry quickly if they get wet, but what to do in the off season?
I have many times not bought certain pieces of outdoor patio furniture simply because I live in a climate that experiences a good long cold winter. The frames and the chairs may survive with a simple cover over them, or not, but then what about the cushions?
Here are five tips on just what to do with those cushions so that you are not replacing them every year. This can get very expensive. Unless you like to change the look each year, it is nice to store them in such a way they will last past this season.
TIP: Do not store them in your garden shed. Not unless they are in a sealed container. Mice just love those nice stuffed cushions and actually created a full city out of mine by the next spring.
Idea 1 – Under your couches and beds in the house – My mother does this and it works well. She has a small set on the back deck, and once the weather turns and we are not out there anymore, she heads outdoors with the shop vacuum and vacuums all the dust and debris off of them. She leaves the frames of the chairs outside but just brings in the padded stuff.
She then slides them under her two couches in the living room. You don’t see them. The next year when she added more outdoor furniture, she discovered they fit well under the beds in the house.
This is your cheapest and easiest option. In the spring they are clean and protected from being under the couch or bed, and a bit of fluffing and they are back outside to face another season. Don’t put them in a garbage bag, it tends to hold in dampness and they will smell moldy, so she simply gives them a quick vacuum and a light cleaning if needed and slides them under the furniture inside.
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Idea 2 – Dedicated Cushion Storage Bag – If you have the room in your basement or garage or somewhere else in the house, then using a dedicated bag that will allow you to fit quite a few.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to vacuum and clean them first, and make sure they are fully dry, otherwise they will rot over the storage season. Sometimes you may think they are dry but might not be deep inside. So vacuum and clean then and then leave them out in the house somewhere and turn them over to make sure they are dry.
These bags are flexible and could be stored on a shelving unit, under the stairs, or anywhere you have the room.
Idea 3 – Sealed Storage Box – If you have the room on your patio or deck you can purchase dedicated cushion storage boxes that seal when closed. Many also lock. You could store other things in it too, but they are perfect for storing cushions. Once again make sure they are clean and dry and that there is no way for mice or rain to get into this container. The advantage of having a storage box on your deck or patio is that you can use it for accessories during the season such as outdoor utensils, dishes, placemats, and tablecloths then in the winter months or off season month’s use for the cushions and pillows.
Many of these units can also count as seating, so if you are having a barbeque or a party they are strong enough to seat more people if you are short on chairs.
If you want to store your accessories outdoors, then just make sure this box seals tight. Mice only need a gap the size of a quarter to get inside, and they absolutely love stuffing.
Idea 4 – Bring Your Outdoors Inside – Many of these pieces are quite expensive, such as teak frames and couches. The prices of quality patio furniture is getting higher and if you want to protect the entire set, then keep an area in your house available.
Use your outdoor sets as indoor sets in your family room. If you have a walkout basement, then don’t over furnish the basement. You are most likely to be hanging outside in the good weather anyways, so simply vacuum and clean and wash anything parts that need to be washed and then move the entire set inside for the winter.
Use it as furniture, whether in a spare room, or in the family room. It doesn’t have to be just for the summer months.
My mother brings her small bistro set inside, and sets it up right in front of the patio doors. She doesn’t use that door in the winter and so she simply sits this set right there and it looks nice. She will sit at it on a sunny winter’s day and look outside, and then dream of the day it can all go back outside. So this set does get used indoors and outdoors.
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Idea 5 – Ottoman or Cedar Lined Blanket Box – Instead of a typical coffee table, get yourself an ottoman, the larger the better. Not only does this serve as a coffee table/seating, it can store some pillows or cushions from outdoors.
Once again, you want to make sure they are clean before you store them, but an ottoman or even a cedar lined blanket box would work great for a few cushions. The cedar would keep away any insects.
If you have a lot of cushions, then purchasing a few of those dedicated bags would be the better way, and keep them somewhere warm and dry ready for the next season. It all depends on how many you need to store. But you can get creative, hopefully the above ideas help.