Fall brings with it a lot of garden chores. Leaves have to be raked, flower beds have to be turned and the grass has to be cut. Once those final chores are complete, it's time to put the garden tools away before those first snowflakes fall. Read on for tips on how to properly prepare garden tools and put them in storage so that when spring starts to wake up the earth again, they'll be ready for action.
Before putting your lawnmower in storage for the winter, consider draining the fuel to help keep the engine in good shape for a longer period of time. Another option is to add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel already in the tank. Fuel contains alcohol, and leaving fuel in the lawnmower all winter allows that alcohol to break down the plastic and rubber engine components it contacts. After draining the fuel or adding a fuel stabilizer, prepare the lawnmower for cleaning. Disconnect the spark plugs and battery, remove the blade for sharpening and change the lawnmower's oil. Finally, turn the mower on its side and use a hose to loosen and remove any dirt or grass clippings that remain on top or beneath the frame. Return the spark plugs to the clean and dry mower, and put it in a dry place for storage, like a garage, basement or storage unit. There's no need to reconnect the battery until the next season.
It's good practice to rinse tools after each use, and doing so will make fall clean-up quick and easy. Gardeners who don't clean their tools after each use should don a pair of goggles for this next step. Rust and dirt can be brushed off with a stiff-bristled brush. If any rust spots remain after this step, a quick polishing with a piece of steel wool should remove them. Dull tools should be sharpened with files. Not every gardener has files, but a local hardware store should be able to take on the sharpening step for a fee. Finally, wooden handles should be checked for splinters. Any splinters or rough spots should be sanded down, and the entire handle should be rubbed with linseed oil. Metal parts should be sprayed with a lubricant. Hand tools can then be put in storage either by hanging them in a garage, shed or storage unit, or by putting small hand tools in a bucket of sand mixed with oil. Doing so will help to prevent rust during the off-season.
If you don't have room in your shed or garage, consider hiring a storage unit from a place like Palmisano Ralph Movers, until you need your tools in the spring.