Unfortunately, outdoor sheds can sometimes turn into “dump zones”, housing all the junky, unused, old, and forgotten items that do not belong in the house. Homeowners rarely give serious thought to planning the layout and organization of the storage shed. When storage sheds become overrun and neglected, tools get lost, things get rusty, and bugs seem to live in every corner. However, just a few simple tricks and upgrades can keep the storage shed as beautiful inside as it is on the outside. Never lose another hammer or garden hose with Cumberland Buildings’ 10 organizing tips.
1) Consider Accessibility
One of the first things that should be done before beginning to fill up a shed for storage is to consider accessibility. One of the biggest pain points of a messy shed is needing to pull everything else out in order to get to an item buried in the back. Though it may seem easiest to place the big items in the back and the small items up front, do not fall into this trap! Instead, try organizing by usage. Seldom used or annual items such as a Christmas tree, ski clothing, or pool equipment can go toward the back of the shed. Meanwhile, often utilized items like gardening supplies, lawn mowers, or toolboxes should go closer to the doors. Though this may not make for the most beautiful arrangement, the time saved clearing a path to pull out large items will be well worth it.
2) Add a Pegboard
For those with a lot of little tools (gardeners, tinkerers, handymen, mechanics), a pegboard is the way to go. Pegboards are lightweight, easy to install, and can be cut to fit almost any size. They are great for keeping tools big and small on display and within easy reach. The best part is that pegboards keep tools from taking up floor space. For those looking to make the most of their storage capacity, this easy organizational solution helps keep tools easily accessible and organized.
3) Include a Magnetic Strip
Magnetic strips have become popular organizing tools in modern kitchens; however, their use does not stop there. Magnetic strips can be purchased or DIY’d and customized without too much effort. Placing a few strips into a storage shed can instantly create more organization. Commonly used items like paint brushes, nails/screws, garden shears, and scissors can be stuck along the walls. Much like the pegboard, magnetic strips also allow for easy visibility and access to everything hung there.
4) Get Some New Shelves
Shelves are a great way to add storage space to a nearly full shed. Shelves can be found in nearly all shapes, materials, and sizes. Metal, plastic, or wooden shelves are generally best for storage shed use, because they are a more resilient material, surviving more wear and tear than other options. When planning for multiple shelving units, finding shelves with wheels on the bottom can allow for easier movement and reorganization. This type of storage and organization allows smaller items to be separated from the larger items. More fragile or sensitive items can also sit off the floor, helping preserve and protect them. If feeling overwhelmed and looking for a place to start, shelves are one of the best organizers.
5) Kill Clutter
One of the biggest reasons storage sheds get messy is due to the clutter. It becomes easier and easier to throw items you do not know what to do with into the storage shed to deal with later. But, once every six months homeowners should go through their storage shed and clear out the clutter. Having trouble deciding what should stay and what should go? Generally, items that have not been moved or used within the last year can go. Consider carefully why some of the lesser used items are kept in storage. Is it for an emergency or just for sentimental reasons? Extraneous items can build up quickly in sheds so it is important to evaluate the materials at least twice a year.
6) Don’t Forget the Details
When deciding which organizing tips to use, keep in mind the smallest items are sometimes the trickiest. Little tools, piles of nails, and spools of twine or wire can be the quickest to disappear in a backyard shed. So, if there are important small objects in the shed, be sure to find them a special place. Try placing them within a box or plastic container to keep them all together. Make sure to put the container back in the same place every time to avoid a frustrating search later on. For little things prone to unraveling, try using a toilet paper holder to keep them wrapped up and ready for use.
7) Contain Chemicals
Sheds often become the home for extraneous chemicals. Whether storing gardening sprays, cans of paint, or household cleaners, try to keep them all in one spot. Just as small things tend to get lost, chemical products tend to get shoved under any shelf or into the nearest corner. Creating a storage container specifically for these items helps keep them safely in one spot. That way, if an accident happens or a spill occurs, the potentially hazardous material is tightly contained into one spot, preventing leaking onto other items in the shed and damaging them. Remember that when selecting a place for the box of chemicals, keep it away from extreme heat or fuel sources.
8) Organize By Season
For those that tend to shove anything and everything into their storage shed, try a more thought out approach. Instead of letting everything intermix and hoping for the best, divide and store items by season. Storing by season can help homeowners find what they are looking for much faster as well as create a more cohesive look for the interior.
9) Sweep Regularly
Sweeping storage sheds regularly is a quick act that can make all the difference. Sweeping once a week (or even bi-weekly) can help the area remain clean and sanitary. No one likes bugs in their shed; sweeping can help remove the bugs that find their way in via the open door, gaps in the unit, blown in leaves and dirt. Clearing out the debris will make the area feel larger. Not to mention, spending five minutes in the shed every week will help homeowners quickly notice when clutter begins to build up inside. Regular sweeping is a simple discipline that can help shed owners begin to clear up their space.
10) Use Old Crates and Boxes
Before throwing away old crates and boxes, think about the shed. Recycling old boxes and using them as shed storage can help you become more organized without spending large amounts of money on materials. Boxes and containers can be used to safely store chemicals, clothes, mechanical equipment, seeds, or gloves. However, it is important that you only save the containers you know you will use. Saving boxes without a plan for what will go inside can result in buildup and wasted space.