The garden shed is often a forgotten space. Tidying it up, will make the most of the storage space and make your gardening much more fun. It should be a practical and functional space.

Organising a garden shed can be overwhelming, especially if you are scared of spiders or you just do not have the inclination to get started.

How to begin

Decide when to start, wear comfortable old clothes. You will need a bin for tossing and boxes for stuff that you want to give away.

Start on one side, deal with each item. Remove everything, one item at a time. While doing so, decide what to keep in the shed. As you work through the items place them in different categories and decide what can be tossed; if you don’t have an idea what it is; you haven’t used it for a year or if it’s broken and cannot be fixed. Sort everything into categories.

Categories

Determine the use of each item and remember to make a pile of things you need to clean, sharpen and fix.

  • Garden tools and equipment, sort them according to activity or function
  • Outdoor sport equipment
  • Decorating paraphernalia / outdoor seasonal decorations
  • Watering equipment: spray nozzles, hoses, watering can, extra irrigation nozzles and pipes.
  • Big bags with potting soil and fertilisers
  • Pool chemicals
  • Items needed for planting: seed trays, pots, plastic labels, marker, measuring sticks
  • Seeds, bulbs sort according to season when they should be planted
  • Plant supports, rope, cords, string, cable ties, twine, stakes and supports
  • Gloves, gardening apron, kneeling pad, boots, baskets, buckets
  • Chemicals – separate herbicides and pesticides

Cleaning

After you have removed everything from the shed, you can start cleaning. Use an outdoor vacuum cleaner or a broom to remove the worst dust. Don’t forget the rafters and the roof. Sweep and wipe surfaces. Wipe all the items as you pack back.

Storage ideas

Use large plastic garbage bins to store bulky items like fertiliser, potting soil and sand on the floor.

Racks or shelves are more accessible than built in storage with doors. Adjust the shelves to your needs. Place herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals in their categories, out of reach of little hands! Organise smalls into kits, place them into boxes, clear plastic containers, tins with lids or baskets and label them. Place your twine into a string box or tin.

Keep the floor as clear as possible. Make use of the vertical space along the walls. Hang tall tools on hooks or nails spacing them in such a way to hold them by the handle, or purchase special brackets for these items.

Use broomsticks screwed to a flat piece of wood to stand your boots.

Hang a pegboard with hooks for smaller tools and scissors. Use a marker to draw the outlines of everything on the pegboard or wall where it will be kept and label the containers. Alternatively zone the areas on the shelves and label these with shelf talkers. Now it will be easier to find and replace items.

Keep the lawnmower close to the door for easy access.

Who said it can’t be beautiful and pleasing to the eye?

Some of us do not only like a functional and a well organised shed but would love it to have some character. There is absolutely nothing wrong to get lovely containers and storage options and to keep it aesthetically pleasing. Others might have lost the energy to work in the garden whilst fetching and carrying everything they need to and from the organised garden shed. For them there are other options.

Zone your garden according to activities

Keep the tools close to where they would be used and use them as features in the garden.

Place your rake against the deciduous tree that loses its leaves, ready to rake them up.

Remember to place the teeth up against the trunk, so that no one accidentally stands on it.

Create a propagation area close to the kitchen with a potting table, arranging everything you would need there. Pots and seed trays ready to be used. Hang scissors and other small tools on the wall. Create an interesting focal point with potting soil in a decorative pot on the floor. Place your seedlings and cuttings on plant shelves, with your watering can nearby so that you can nurture and water them.

Hang your garden shoes, hat, apron and gloves at your kitchen door, that you can grab them as you go into the garden.

Keep you shredder (covered), screen and fork close to your compost heap and prop up your wheelbarrow against the wall where you would use it the most.

Make this an annual event. The garden shed can house a lot of stuff and can be a nightmare, but a clean and organised one, will give you more time to do the things you enjoy in your garden. Discipline yourself to return the items to where they belong to prevent yourself from looking for things, instead of doing what you love.

Now pour yourself a lovely refreshing drink and enjoy the fruits of you hard work. Happy gardening and enjoy the time that you have gained by not having to look for tools.

Heidi Meyer

Professional Organiser

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