How to Organize a Shed

A potting shed, backyard workshop, or storage shed is a get place to store lawn care equipment, household items, and holiday decorations. But if the space is so cramped you can’t move around or packed from floor to ceiling with stuff in cardboard boxes with no labels, it will be difficult to find anything. If you have a shed in need of organization, here are some tips to get you started.

First Remove Everything

What is the purpose of the shed? A simple way to declutter is to remove everything from inside the shed and place it on the ground. (Choose a day when the weather will cooperate.) Form four piles – Keep, sell, donate, and throw away. If the shed started out as a place to store lawncare equipment and lawncare chemicals, remove anything unrelated such as paint cans, pet toys, and boxes of clothing.

Sort through the “keep” pile and put similar items together – garden tools grouped together, auto care items in its own group, etc.  Do this now; it will make it easier to put items back in an organizational way that makes sense to you.

Ensure that any in the “throw away” pile are recycled wherever possible and that toxic substances are disposed of properly.

Clean the Inside of the Shed

Give the interior of the shed a thorough scrubbing, both floors and walls. Clean the surfaces of the workbench, the potting table, or the freestanding shelving units.

Find a Place for Everything

Take a quick inventory of the “furniture” in the space. Remove anything such as a workbench that is no longer useful or a shelving unit beyond repair. Now that you’re ready to put everything you want to keep back into the shed you will need somewhere to put it.

Take into account floor, walls, and ceiling – how can they be fully utilized as places for storage? If at all possible, everything should be stored off the floor – a good organizational rule in the event of flooding or ground seepage.

When upgrading storage options in your shed consider one or a combination of the following:

  • Add organizers to drawers and pegboards to walls
  • Install the appropriate-sized storage rack to manage household tools, shovels, and rakes
  • Purchase open-shelving to hold storage boxes and bins
  • Use clear plastic tubs and boxes to see at a glance what’s inside
  • Use floating shelves over a potting bench or work table to make it more user-friendly
  • Hang bicycles and other sports equipment from wall-mounted hardware
  • Make the most of recyclable containers for storing nails, washers, bolts, etc.

Best Organizational Method

Before putting items back into the shed, you will need some kind of system. The best organizational method is one that you are comfortable with and works for you. Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions:

  • By season – for example, summer items such as camping gear, pool inflatables, lawncare tools, and the lawnmower would be stored in one area.
  • By use – separate power tools from hand tools; gardening accessories from lawn care products
  • By popularity – store items you use the most often at the front of the shed; reserve the back of the shed for the locker for storing chemicals and other pieces of equipment not used as frequently

In the Future

A well-organized shed is easier to maintain and keep clean. Having a place for everything also saves time and makes working on projects more enjoyable. To keep your shed in good order have a few ground rules: add only items that belong to your current organizational set-up; when adding a new item, remove a similar item you no longer use as much; and repair items in a timely fashion or dispose of them if they can’t be repaired.