Wisconsin has some harsh winters. This winter is sure to be another filled with snow and extreme temperatures. As the winter kicks into full gear, many Racine residents are looking for tips for preparing their patios for snow and advice on what to do if they waited too long to do so. Before the first major snowstorm—or after it—explore these methods of outdoor preservation.

Organize and Clean Your Patio

The first step to take before snow starts falling regularly is to organize and clean your patio. Once snow starts piling up on it, cleaning will be tricky. Sweep off any leftover leaves and reminders of the passed autumn. Clean out any planters and prepare them for planting in the springtime. Organize the items that can remain outdoors through the winter in one central location to keep them from blowing around should high winds appear during the season.

Take Your Patio Furniture to Storage

If you can, you should store your patio furniture indoors for the winter to keep it safe through the season. The first step to storing your patio furniture is to wash any upholstered items, if possible. Some cushions have zippers to remove the outer fabric for washing; others must be dry-cleaned. Cleaning upholstery makes for a fresh start come spring.

If you have room, store your patio furniture in a shed, garage, or storage closet. If not, many storage facilities offer short-term, small-space rentals for your warm-weather outdoor items. Deck boxes are another option for storage.

Move Potted Plants Indoors

Move all your potted plants indoors, if you haven’t already. It’s already quite chilly in Racine County, but it might not be too late for your forgotten foliage. If you’re unsure about a plant’s health or worried about bringing bugs into your home, spray your plant with isopropyl alcohol, which takes care of most plant bugs without harming your plant. You can also check the roots of the plant when you repot it for its winter adventure to see if they’re still alive and healthy. If a plant has healthy roots, it’s sure to make a comeback.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.