With gardening season in full swing, chances are that all you weekend horticulturists out there have been cracking the doors on your garden sheds for the first time since packing away your trowels and gloves last fall.
What you’re probably seeing is a shed that could use a little TLC. Either the long winter of disuse has turned it into a cobweb covered haven for varmints seeking shelter from the cold, or it was already overflowing with plant pots, half full bags of fertilizer, that rusty old bike, and of course, all of your tools.
Bringing order to your garden shed chaos will help you maximize your time spent gardening by minimizing the time you spend gathering tools and searching for supplies. Here are ten steps that will help you whip your shed into shape for garden season and beyond:
1. Clear It Out
Take everything (especially that bike) out of the shed and clean the inside thoroughly. Sweep it, dust it, de-mildew it, and give it a good airing out.
2. Sort Your Stuff
Before you move anything back into the shed, sort everything into two areas: “Keep” and “Trash”. Be ruthless with the stuff you don’t need or don’t use. If it’s broken, toss it; if it’s in working shape, donate it. For the “Keep” pile, sort it into groups, like tools, hoses, holiday decorations and rusty bikes (no, seriously — toss the rusty bike!).
3. Hang Your Tools
Now that everything has been sorted, lay the foundation for a more organized garden shed by installing sheets of pegboard to hang your hand tools from. Adding a shelving system can also help you keep your cans of paint and jars of nail and screws handy.
4. Store Bagged Gardening Products Together
Avoid messy spills by placing your bags of seed, fertilizer, and potting soil on a wooden pallet. The bags will hold up better by being stored off the ground, and keeping them in one place will make it easier to find your giant bag of organic weed killer when the annual crabgrass invasion begins.
5. Keep Your Holiday Lights Separate
Garden sheds often become a kind of dumping ground for everything that doesn’t go in the house or the garage, including holiday decorations and lights. Make sure to keep these items separate from your gardening tools and supplies. They’ll be easier to find when the holidays roll around again, and you’ll be sure that your Christmas wreath doesn’t end up smelling like fertilizer.
6. Label Everything
What’s in that coffee can? Is that cookie tin full of twine, or did the kids just leave a half empty tin of ginger snaps in the shed the last time they were using it as a fort? There’s one way to find out: label everything. It will save you time in the long run by reducing guesswork, and it only requires a roll of masking tape, a magic marker, and few minutes of your time.
7. Hang Your Hoses
Water hoses are like the cables and wires behind your TV: they like to tangles themselves into a bewildering jumble of knots when thrown together in one place. To avoid the hair-pulling hassle of untangling your hoses when you need to water the lawn or wash the car, roll them up, secure them with twine to keep them from unrolling, and hang them on the wall. No more tangle, and no more bending down to wrestle with unruly hoses.
8. Everything In Its Right Place
To help keep your garden shed organized, think of it as a department store for garden shed stuff, with a place for everything and everything in its place. Your fertilizer department might be next to the door to avoid long trips through the shed with heavy bags, and your tool department might be near the window so you can tell a trowel from a hand cultivator. Use your own logic when planning the layout so you’ll be able to intuitively find your stuff without a map and compass.
9. Ladders Are For Outside
Tired of tripping over ladders every time you go to get the lawnmower from the shed? Free up space — and remove potential ankle-wrenching obstacles — by hanging your ladders from hooks on the outside walls of your garden shed.
10. Keep It Clean
Congratulations! You now have the cleanest, most organized garden shed on your block. To make sure you keep it that way, put things back in their assigned space when done, and take time every week to quickly tidy up the place. Oh, and if you haven’t already — recycle that rusty bike!