Getting Your Summer Sports Equipment into Winter Self-Storage

Hitting the slopes. Spinning on ice. Sweeping the lane. Shooting a puck. Hopping on a sled. We’ve made it. Winter is just about upon us, and all of us are getting excited to bring back out our winter sports gear from self-storage, and start having some fun in the snow.

Lest we forget the wonderful summer days in the sun though. It unfortunately isn’t yet time to move onto winter activities until you’ve properly taken care of all your summer sports equipment.

For these reasons, us at Real Storage have put together a guide for how best to protect your summer sports equipment for their stay in winter self-storage. Read on to hear how your equipment should be taken care of to ensure another excellent summer of use in 2020.

Make sure everything is clean

The first thing you need to do for your equipment is give it a good clean. The last thing you want come springtime is to take your equipment out to discover it not only smelling like a landfill but also covered in mould. Rather, you want to take your equipment out of self-storage ready to go for another fantastic season of summer sports.

Jerseys and base layers

The easiest and most obvious articles to clean are your jerseys, base layers, socks, and other laundry machine-friendly items. These should probably be being washed periodically throughout your season anyways, so we expect you to be on top of these.

Protective equipment

Trickier is the actual equipment you use while playing sports. Shoulder pads, shin pads, baseball gloves, and the like are items that should not go in the laundry machine, but definitely need to be washed.

The majority of these items can be simply wiped down with a damp cloth and a bit of dish soap. Get inside and out, wiping away any dirt or grime that may deteriorate the materials over extended periods of time.

Leather items, such as a baseball glove, on the other hand, require a little more effort, as leather will not take well to water and soap. Instead, brush off any excess dirt, and then use a modest amount of leather cleaner and a soft cloth to clear off the remaining dirt. Finally, apply a conservative amount of leather conditioner, working it well into the leather, to keep it in good condition during its stay in storage.

Before putting any of these articles into self-storage though, be certain that they have dried properly, as any dampness could lead to mould growth while in storage.

Water gear

Items such as water skis, scuba gear, and surf boards require their own special attention. Water skis and scuba gear are easiest, really just needing a solid rinse to clear away any salt, sand, or microscopic marine life. Let them air dry properly, and then store them in a breathable bag (i.e., not plastic) and/or out of any UV light.

Surf boards require a bit more attention. Their coat of wax should be removed before going into storage. Before clearing the wax, leave the surf board in the sun for 20 minutes, as this will ease the wax’s bind to the board, making the task of clearing it easier for you. Once you’ve cleared the main portion of wax from the board, use WD40 to clear the remaining bits: the WD40 will also work well to clear away any dirt and grime from the board.

Allow the board to dry completely before applying a fresh coat of wax, leaving your board ready for the waves next summer. Like water skis and scuba gear, store surf boards in a breathable bag and/or out of any UV light.


For boats, such as canoes and kayaks, you need to clean them inside and out with a hose, spraying away any large build ups of debris. With a brush, scrub away any remaining patches of dirt. If your boat is used in salt water, be extra thorough with the clean, assuring all salt is removed. Any salt that remains for long periods of time can leave permanent damage to your boat.

Allow your boat to dry thoroughly. Before putting it away in storage, apply gunwale guard oil to your canoe’s gunwales and UV protection to vinyl gunwales. Store smaller boats upside down under a cover.

(For motorized boats, read our article here.)


When you are cleaning your summer sports equipment, you should also be on the lookout for any damage to your gear. Now, at the end of the season, is the time to repair these. The last thing you need come springtime is to pull your gear out of self-storage only to find it in disrepair, costing you the outing you probably took the gear out for.

Speak to your local sports equipment retailer or marina mechanic about any repairs to your equipment or boat that you are unsure about. As a bonus, the end of the season is more likely to have promotional pricing on things like repairs, so taking care of these now is certainly in your best interests.


Unless you have a lot of room in the garage or basement, your best bet to declutter your living space of sports equipment that is out of season is to rent a self-storage locker. Various sizes and types are available, and are sure to suit your needs.

What’s key to utilizing your storage unit well though is organization. Separate equipment into two pile types: by sport and by player. If you have a number of players in the family, then you will want to keep everyone’s gear individualized. At the same time, you will want to designate their equipment into the type of sport the gear is used for.

Once divided appropriately, we suggest utilizing large, plastic bins to keep the contents away from moisture. Two strategies can work here. The first involves colour-coordinating the plastic bins, such that one colour is used for one player or for one sport. The second option is to use clear plastic bins so that you can see inside the bins more easily. In both cases though, labels will still be helpful.

Regardless of where you store your summer sports equipment or for what sports the equipment is used, always store equipment in cooler temperatures, never near heat. Heat can warp or damage gear, and sill increase the likelihood of mould.          

With your summer sports equipment safely away in self-storage for the winter, you can now return to the excitement we have for skis, snowboards, skates, and sleds. Winter sports are almost upon us!

If you have any questions about storing summer sports equipment, or any questions about self-storage, speak with your Real Storage agent today.