We have all seen chemical storage rooms in complete disarray. Chemicals being stored without labels, empty containers that haven’t been disposed of properly, old and unusable chemicals taking up valuable storage space, chemicals being stored on the floor in unheated rooms and walls and shelves stained with dye and chemicals. Sound familiar?

Winter can be a great time to give your chemical room a complete makeover. Taking these steps to rejuvenate your chemical storage will help to improve your overall pesticide program efficiency. Organizing chemicals into categories and taking an accurate inventory can also be very useful. Disposing of old and unwanted chemicals is also an important step to take. Improving lighting, adding a heating source, checking ventilation, and adding a fresh coat of paint can also make your chemical storage room more user-friendly.

Start by taking an accurate chemical inventory. Recording this data along with the chemical cost can help you budget for pesticide purchases. It’s also a great time to inspect chemicals containers for leaks, chemical hardening, and overall viability. Winter is also a great time to make sure all chemical containers have labels attached and all MSDS sheets are easily accessible and current. Checking to make sure your spill-containment kit is up-to-date is a good idea as well. It is recommended to store dry chemicals above liquid ones to minimize possible spills onto dry materials. All efforts should also be made to store chemicals off the floor. Whenever possible, storing more commonly used chemicals closer to the door is a time saver. Grouping similar chemicals together can also be advantageous.

The off-season is also a great time to get rid of any empty and unused containers. Triple rinsing and spiking each container is always a great idea. Chemicals that are no longer usable will need to be disposed of properly, which can free up valuable storage space. The USGA recommends calling 1-800-CLEANUP or consulting with your state’s environmental agency as a start. The National Pesticide Information Center can also be a great resource. It is important for everyone to understand what the appropriate steps are for pesticide disposal. This is not a place to cut corners.

Adding a fresh coat of paint along with improved lighting can go a long way to brightening up your chemical room. Winter can also be a great time to add ventilation if needed, which makes for a safer working environment. It is recommended that chemicals be stored at or above 40°F, so adding a heat source if needed can be a crucial step to protecting your chemicals during the winter months. Preventing direct sunlight will also help protect and extend the life of your chemicals.

Let’s face the facts: Pesticides are critical to the success of your golf course. They also represent a significant portion of your budget and must be managed carefully, so take the time in the off season to bring your chemical room up to par!