How to Store Beach Chairs
When beach season comes to an end you need to think about how you’re going to store everything for another season and that includes beach chairs. One of the biggest problems people face when it comes to winter storage of things like their beach canopies and chairs is how to keep them safe in a limited space. They’re probably going to be in a dark garage or basement for six months or more, and that means there’s a lot of potential for them to get damp, grow mold and mildew, and get ruined. So your best bet for enjoying another season with a reliable and clean beach chair is to store it right the first time.
Metal Folding Chairs
Aluminum framed chairs are some of the best you can use on the beach. They’re very sturdy and can stand up to a lot of abuse. And while aluminum is generally corrosion resistant, that doesn’t mean it won’t suffer damage. Also, many cheaper folding chairs may not be fully made from aluminum. You can have cheaper parts, especially bolts or rivets at joints, that will rust very quickly.
Salt water is obviously bad for any metal, so cleaning your chair as soon as you leave the beach is a good idea. Just wipe it down to ensure it’s dry. Storing it in a dry place is also ideal. Whether you pick a garage or even a basement, hanging the chairs from hooks or a storage rack so they stay off the ground can prevent moisture from forming. If you know the garage or basement is prone to being damp, you may want to choose a new storage space, or set up a dehumidifier.
Most hardware stores and even places like Walmart and the dollar store will have hooks that can easily be adapted to the task. You don’t need specialized hooks or rigs to get lawn chairs off the ground. Anything strong enough to have the folded legs of the chair hook over it can do the job. Just make sure you have it securely anchored in studs and you’ll be fine.
If you want to hang several chairs in the same place, then you can use a handful of hooks or rig a simple rack. Make your own with wood scraps or see what you can find for sale. The good thing about story metal folding chairs is that the size and shapes lends itself well to any number of solutions.
Another good idea for metal chairs is a clear coat of rust proofing. Make sure the chair is clean and dry before applying, but a thin coating can ensure it stays perfect all winter.
Wooden Beach Chairs
Wood can warp considerably over the winter if it’s not treated well. Moisture and cold can warp and crack the wood and leave it essentially useless. Keep your wooden chairs in a place that’s cool, dark and dry. A beach house shed, a garage, anything like that will work as long as it’s not prone to leaks.
Like metal chairs, you can increase the odds on your wooden chairs staying clean and dry by keeping them off the ground. A wall rack with some metal hooks can keep them elevated and away from moisture. It’s also good for keeping them away from things like bugs or mice which may try to nest in your chairs over the winter.
On the upside, with a wood chair, if there is some damage it may not be hard to fix. If they get scuffed water damaged, you may be able to sand and then restain the spot and still have a nice looking chair when you’re done. But of course preventing that kind of damage is still your best option.
Wooden chairs are typically more expensive than their plastic and metal counterparts, so it’s worth the extra effort to get some reliable racks to keep these up away from leaks and cold floor.
Plastic Chairs and Beach Gear
The good thing about plastic chairs is they’re often stackable. If you have that kind, then your problem is basically solved already. Stack them up and put them in a corner. But resist the urge to leave them outside. Some people feel like plastic chairs, because they’re plastic, can handle the elements all year around. While it’s true a plastic chair is better able to handle the element than wood or metal, it’s not 100% true. The temperature shift from summer to winter and back can lead to cracking in plastic. Likewise, your chairs are just going to get dirty and weather beaten outside.
The UV rays from sunlight can wear down plastics over time and cause them to degrade. It depends on the plastic, of course but that, combined with the way heat and cold shifts can cause the plastic to expand and contract, can greatly weaken a plastic chair. You could find out too late that the chair is no longer able to hold your weight when you sit on it and a leg fractures under you.
Stackable plastic chairs are usually really cheap but they still cost money. No sense letting them fall apart when all you need to do is make sure they’re in a safe corner of the shed or garage for the winter.
Do You Store Lawn Chairs the Same Way?
Lawn chairs, camping chairs, and beach chairs are not always the same thing. Many lawn chairs are not designed to handle exposure to salt water. They also may be heavier, but it depends on the kind of lawn furniture you buy. Some sets are wrought iron and look great on the back patio but you definitely don’t want to be lugging them to the beach with you.
What lawn chairs and beach chairs do have in common is that you can and should care for them in much the same way. Most hardware stores will have storage racks or hooks you can use to keep either one mounted on a wall in your shed or garage. This frees up floor space for you as well. When your chairs are up and out of the way you don’t need to worry about leaking water, oil from the car, grass clippings, or anything else getting on them.
What About Beach Chair Fabric?
Keeping the frames safe is one thing, but you need to make sure the whole chair is well stored. Anyone who’s fallen through a rotten chair after trying to sit in it knows just how important this can be. If your chair has a vinyl or canvas seat you need to make sure it’s clean before you store it. Wipe the surfaces down with a cloth and, if need be, use some soap and water to clean up any stains, oil, dirt and that sort of thing. Make sure it’s well dried then store it as detailed above.
Keeping your chair off the ground will keep it dry so the material can’t rot away in the off season. Canvas is especially prone to mildew growth if it’s not well cared for, and vinyl can badly degrade. Plus, if it’s on the ground, there’s a chance rats or mice may chew through it. This is less like if it’s stored up and off the ground.
Just make sure you’re storing the chairs dry. If you give them a clean before storage, give them a chance to thoroughly dry before folding them away. To help with this, you can just spot clean where necessary. If there’s a single stain on the fabric, you don’t need to clean the whole thing. Just worry about that one spot, clean it up, and let it dry.
Make New Space Up High
If your walls are already full, consider the ceiling. Depending on your shed or garage, there’s potential to rig a loft space storage area above everything. Some simple metal racks and shelving can be attached to the ceiling so you can store bulky or large items like lawn chairs up and fishing rods and out of the way. This is a great solution for anything you need to store long term until next season. If you don’t have a large garage then shelves on the ceiling can store anything from boogie boards to toys to beach furniture and other stuff you won’t need for a while. Just make sure you’re fixed everything in place safely. Use a ladder if necessary to access what you store in loft space and never store anything too heavy up there.
What If Hanging or Elevating Chairs Isn’t an Option?
If you’re unable to use hooks or storage racks for your chairs, there are still some options. Your chief concern is keeping them clean and dry in the off season, and that can take many forms.
- Storage bins are a great idea if you have the room for them. Rubbermaid style toes come in all shapes and sizes. You can get ones big enough to hold folded up chairs that come with lids that seal. This can protect from rodents and bugs, leaks, and more.
- Even just elevating the chairs slightly can make a difference. Make a small shelf on the floor under a workbench if you’re at a loss for space. Use some paint cans and plywood to rig a makeshift shelf, then cover it with a tarp or even an old blanket. You can put the chairs on that to keep them dry and relatively protected and out of the way for the whole off season.
- Use a storage dolly. If you have one handy already that you use to move stuff in and out of the garage, a dolly can typically hold a lot of folded chairs and you’ll be making use of space that was otherwise not being used. Plus it makes them easier to get in and out next season when you’re moving them again.
Are Storage Bags a Good Idea?
A lot of beach chairs do come with their own storage bags. Like tent bags, these are usually canvas or vinyl and they have a carry strap and a draw string. Gold up the chair and pop it in the bag. But is it a good winter storage solution? It can be.
Because of the carry straps and drawstrings, these storage bags can be handy when you’re in a bit of a space bind. They can hook onto things maybe a chair normally couldn’t be hooked to, which is great. Even an errant nail on a shelf can be used to hang a chair in a storage bag. But you need to make sure the chair is clean and dry before storage. A storage bag can hold moisture and lead to a rotten chair if you’re not careful. So make sure you have that taken care of first.
If we’re talking about five or six then things can get a little cluttered if they’re all in storage bags. It’s up to you if you want a neatly organized space that looks all square and even or not. But if storage is the main concern then, again, mount a few hooks on the wall, hang the bags from them and you’re good to go.
The Bottom Line
The big reason that people have problems with their chairs in the off season is really just a time concern. We all get a little stressed at the end of the season with everything being cleaned up and put away. You may be putting a trailer in storage, your boat, a hundred other things. Chairs are usually a bottom rung priority and sometimes we forget. You stick them in a corner and leave them there. And maybe nine times out of ten that works, too. Your garage is dry and clean and it’s not an issue. It’s just that one time when things go wrong and you realize your chairs are ruined because they weren’t stored right.
Take a few minutes and make sure you’re doing what you can to maximize your chair’s lifespan. They don’t need a lot, really. Keep them cool, dark and dry. Keep them off the ground if possible and keep them clean. That’s it! As always, stay safe and have fun.