Tips for keeping a clutter-free shed

Sadly, our garden sheds have a way of becoming a *dumping ground* for those things that *might come in handy one day*. The backyard shed seems to store everything from spare screws and paintbrushes to wood offcuts and tools. While there can be a reason for keeping items in the shed you hardly use, if you spend a day turning your madness into organisation you can end up with useful storage space.

Here’s how you can make your outdoor storage shed as organised as any room in your home.

1.    Empty your shed

Well that is pretty obvious if you have ever tried tidying any room by just moving things around and throwing out a few items, you’ll know how futile this is. The first thing you need to do is get into the shed and take everything out and place it all on the lawn. If you can as you pull things out try and place similar items with similar items, all garden tools together etc. You now have a few sections of similar items – all the painting items, the lawn care, power tools etc….

2.    Work out what you want to keep

It’s probably been a while since you had your last clean up, so now you must decide what it is you really need. If you didn’t even know it was there, you had forgotten about it – chances are you don’t need it! Think about what it is you have in the shed and what you use them for. If you have a gardener and he has all his tools – do you need yours? Do you have a pool, but someone else looks after it? Do you need to store your pool chemicals? This way you can decide what it is you need to keep and what you can throw away. A basic rule of decluttering is – if you haven’t used it in the last year – throw it out. Of course, there can be items in the shed that don’t get used much but are still handy to own. If you have something that is too expensive to replace, and you think you will use it again – keep it. If you know you’ll never use it again, or, you know it’s cheap to buy another one if you do need one later – then toss it away.

3.    Dispose of items responsibly

If you find you have paint and chemicals and items that are unwanted or outdated, check and see when your local council is having its safe chemicals removal day, and hand them in then. If you have old paint tins and the paint has dried out and hardened, you can leave the lid off and throw them in your normal rubbish bin. If you have a small amount of paint in a tin and you don’t want it, use some kitty litter to absorb it, it can then go in your rubbish bin.

4.    Get organised

A well-organised garden shed needs some proper shelving. Heavy-duty metal shelving units are perfect. Your local Bunnings can help with shelving units, just remember the height of your shed, you don’t want to bring home a shelving unit that proves to be too tall. Divide your shed into different areas and think about how often you use items. Keep things you regularly use in a spot that is easy to access, while things that aren’t used often can be placed on a top shelf – out of the way. If you have lots of smaller items, use some clear plastic tubs so you can easily see what is inside them. Label your shelves and boxes, so you know what is in boxes – it makes things easier to locate. Hooks are great for hanging ladders and other garden tools like saws and spades. A wall mounted broom organiser is handy for brooms and rakes to keep them easily accessible.

5.    Stay organised all year round

Once your shed has been tidied up, it’s easier for you to keep it tidy, ensure everyone knows to look at the labels and to put everything back where it came from.

Don’t let things slide. It’s easy to get into the habit and throwing things back *I will put it away properly next time* Have a set *maintenance check* every six months to keep on top of things, you can always reshuffle things around if you find you are using some items more, or some items less.


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