When the sports season comes to an end, how do you pack your tailgating gear so its in good condition and it still works? Here are some expert tips on storing the most commonly used tailgating equipment.When the sports season comes to an end, how do you pack your tailgating gear so its in good condition and it still works? Here are some expert tips on storing the most commonly used tailgating equipment.Lifestyle

Party On! How to Store Tailgating Equipment

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There are a few hours before the big game and your friends are already there at the stadium parking lot. Everyone knows that a good time is in store, especially if you bring your cooler full of beer, a gas grill for the burgers and hotdogs, and a giant tub of potato salad that you prepared at home. Enjoying the flavors and aromas of classic American pre-gaming cuisine is one of the best things about living here… and you're going to celebrate it right by taking care of your tailgating equipment for years to come.

After all, why spend money on the same things when you can keep your coolers, lawn chairs, canopy, and lawn games in the best condition? When the sports season comes to an end, and it's time to pack away your tailgating equipment, how do you make sure that they look the same and work when you get them back? Here are some expert tips on storing the most commonly used tailgating equipment, whether they go in your garage or a space-saving storage rental unit.

Protecting Your Grill or Smoker

First, remove all food residue from your grill or smoker. The first thing pests notice in storage is the lovely tidbits of burgers, veggies, and bread that are left over on your grill. Burger drippings are especially enticing to roaches and ants and will attract all types of insects to your storage area. This is why it's important to clean your grill after each use and then do a deep clean right before storage. At the end of the season, you can do a thorough cleaning with a bit of elbow grease, or you can use a pressure washer to speed up the process.

After your grill is completely dry and clean, apply any coatings or oils that the manufacturer recommends keeping it lubricated and resistant to premature wear. By coating sensitive metal parts like grill burners, you'll keep out moisture and prevent rust from developing. Then, all you need to do is cover your grill and store it in a safe place. Although it should be fine in your garage, attic, or basement for a season, you'll have the best chance of keeping it in good condition when you choose a climate-controlled area. If your home lacks this option, then opt for a climate-controlled storage unit. Not only does this give you peace of mind, but it reduces clutter in your home.

Propane, Butane, or Any other Flammable Gasses

If you have leftover propane or butane from your tailgating times, then you should handle them with care. Storing flammable goods safely benefits everyone in your household, so make sure you follow these steps:

Butane is heavier than air, so it should never be stored in low-level areas like basements or cellars. It should also be stored somewhere cool and indoors, away from places that don’t get hotter than 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are some other tips:

  • Throw out any opened cans of butane. Only store fully sealed cans that are wrapped in the extra layer of its manufacturer’s plastic.
  • Keep any butane canisters away from direct heat, sunlight, flames, oxidizers, or electrical outlets.
  • For these reasons, winter storage in a detached shed is a great option.

Propane gas is also heavier than air but should never be stored indoors. Instead, it should always be away from your house, outdoors, or in well-ventilated areas. Though it seems convenient, don’t store them in your garage. It can be safely stored upright and in a shaded area at least 10 feet away from any significant source of heat. Though some people risk placing a propane tank in the garage, it’s not safe since the valve may not be fully shut. This can lead to a dangerous gas leak indoors. Sheds are also not ideal, which makes full outdoor storage the safest option. For a great example, check out how gas stations store their propane.

Canopy Tents

Though canopy tents are made of metal and fabrics that are designed to handle the outdoors, they still need some general upkeep and prep before storage.

  • Clean the fabric clean after each use. This minimizes your work when it comes to prepping your canopy for storage. All you need to do is wipe it down with soap and water, stretch out the fabric, and let it dry out in the sun.
  • Clean the metal frame with a bristle brush and dish soap and oil components as needed to prevent rust. Tighten any loose screws or fasteners.
  • After the fabric and metal are completely dry, fold the canopy into its compact form and place it in its original carrying bag. Then, place it where it won’t come into contact with moisture, such as a large plastic bin or hanging up high to be away from the ground.

Cooler, Table, and Chairs

Prepping your outdoor furniture and coolers is also quite simple. All you need to do is clean everything with a soft cloth and some dish soap. Then, let everything dry completely, fold them into their compact form, and store them in a place where water or pests won’t get to them. Hanging folding tables and chairs keeps them away from any potential groundwater. Coolers should also be rinsed and washed thoroughly, then placed on a raised platform to protect them from any moisture damage. If your chairs or table have any original packaging, place them in these to provide an extra covering for the storage season.

Lawn Games

Caring for your favorite lawn games like corn hole, ladder ball, and horseshoe toss is easy with just a bit of end-of-season TLC. Simply clean the surfaces of your games with the manufacturer-recommended cleaner, allow them to air dry completely, and then place them in their original packaging. If that’s unavailable, then you can wrap your games in packing plastic, which functions as a large roll of cling wrap. This will keep pests and moisture away from your games while insulating them in the winter. Keep loose items like horseshoes and corn hole bags in a secure, plastic bin that mice and bugs can’t access. For easy retrieval, label where you stored your favorite games.

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