some light on outdoor clutter

Text by Tina Bowen • Photography by Jim Wells

After a recent garage and storage shed organizing job, I realized there are some simple solutions to help you take control of your space that don’t cost a lot of money.  So let’s take a look at a before and after effort on a backyard garden shed that needed some TLC.  This particular shed was being used to hold all of the owners’ planters, outdoor furniture, yard tools, sprinklers, lawn mowers, and other miscellaneous items. 

What happens is what I like to refer to as “piling.”  When there is no space for an item, it gets piled up on something else and before you know it you have a whole “pile” of stuff.  Organizing, de-cluttering, and cleaning a shed like this may yield some surprising results. Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the stuff, just treat it like a big closet and begin by taking everything out to see what you have. Remember, if two full seasons have gone by and you haven’t used something for your yard, its probably time to donate, sell, or toss it if it’s broke.

In this case, a yard cart, hedge trimmers, and some planters were discovered yet no longer needed.  A quick post on the Facebook yard sale resulted in buyers for everything and it was all picked up that day.  Once you have surveyed the contents it’s time to put it all back.  But don’t just start putting things back without some thought or quickly lean tools against the wall, take your time and maximize the space.   For a low price you can buy some hooks at your local hardware store or if you are handy, make your own.  Standardsize hooks are great for hanging shovels and rakes, but use your imagination when it comes to things like a leaf blower or hedge trimmer.  Simple nails can be used as well for odd shaped items that keep things up off the floor and increase the area to move around. 

Shelves are always a necessary item and in this case some angled shelves strategically placed in the corner helped to take advantage of the dimension of the shed and provide some great storage space.  Placing a shelf over things like the lawnmower and 

wheelbarrow allows for storage above them.  Old plastic crates provide a creative approach to gaining space. Screwing them to exposed wall studs provides a place for additional odd shaped items to be stored. 

Peg board is always available to provide needed space for hand tools or trim line for your weed eater.  It can easily be screwed to the walls and with a few hangers you are off and running.  One final thought about bringing some class to an outdoor space like this shed is using leftover flooring from a project.  The owner of this shed used leftover laminate from a friend’s project.  The flooring looks great and it provides a clean, smooth surface for sweeping.  Take advantage of the great weather this summer and simplify those sheds and garages!