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One might prove me wrong but when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, most people tend to settle for things that don’t really suit them, so they lose their motivation soon afterwards. Surely, we all can read more, exercise more, spend less time browsing the ‘net and do more around the house. However, one can only be so determined about it.

This year then, why not look to break an old habit or two and start from a place so close to every DIYer’s and gardeners heart? Our pride and joy, the garden shed!


Image by Lenore Edman


Surely, the lazy part of us would insist that de-cluttering our sheds during the season that we can’t use most of its contents is an absolute waste of time. Yet wouldn’t it be nice to have all your tools and equipment all lined up for when the next season of maintenance works and gardening comes around? Here are five easy steps for sorting out that handyman hideout of yours.


Clear Out Everything

It may seem quite obvious, but the first step to de-cluttering is to actually acknowledge what kind of tools and fixings you’ve been hoarding, along with all the odds and ends and, let’s face it – rubbish. In order to be able to organise everything, clear your shed out completely and move on to grouping the contents, separating garden tools from DIY tools, garden equipment from power equipment and so on. Throw out all the obvious rubbish and set aside the things you’re unsure about. Give your shed a good sweep and, if necessary, a scrub too.


Know What You’re Doing…Or Get Planning

Now that you’ve got a clearer vision of all the hidden treasure you’ve been storing in your shed for so long, the next thing you need is a clear vision of what you want to store in there. Think of what you use all those tools for, and why you’d want to keep them there. Obviously there’s no point in moving your garden tools away from the garden, but if you happen to do most of your DIYing in your basement and just use the shed for all your spare equipment and materials, it’s a sure sign you needn’t keep them there.


Invest In Storage Units

In case you’re still under the illusion that you’re quite an expert when it comes to organising, you’ll be surprised what difference storage units like shelves, box sets etc. can make. As we’re talking sheds rather than a living room, you don’t have to worry too much about making them look aesthetically pleasing which also equals lesser expense. Pick up a plain shelf set and a few plastic storage boxes from your nearest homestore – or, being a hardcore DIYer, you can always make them yourself. However, it may unnecessarily drag out the process. Besides, you can still put your skills to use in our next step.


Use Vertical Space and Walls

Not everything can go on a shelf or in a box, so this is the time to take advantage of our handiness and come up with some installations to make the most of the space in your garden shed.

To prevent any future clutters, focus on solutions that will help you keep things off the floor. Your solutions should also be easily accessible to increase the chance of things being put back again once you’ve finished using them, instead of leaving them lying around.

Try to use as much vertical space as possible: use ceiling racks to store away bikes and bulkier equipment. Use walls for organising tools and smaller hardware; pegboards are great for adjustable shelves and can hold heavier stuff like brooms, garden spades and rakes. If you start running out of space, remember the door is another surface you can make use of.


Quality Control

Even if you’ve managed to rid yourself of a fair share of your shed’s contents, simply stacking everything back would be a crucial mistake if you want to minimise the clutter.

Ideally, I’d recommend you carry out a proper inventory of your tools and equipment, focusing on the ones you really use. Unless it’s a piece of family heirloom, there’s no need to keep holding on to any half-broken or broken stuff that you’ve been meaning to repair for months. Or the one you’ve never used, like that heavily discounted wood-carving set you got yourself two years ago, strongly believing that you might have a knack for that (but didn’t).

However, that doesn’t mean you’ll end up wasting all that hard-earned money spent buying these tools – you can easily try and sell some of the relatively unused ones online. Or why not donate some to charity.

So, did you find these tips helpful for de-cluttering your shed or does it still look like a battlefield? And have you got any useful suggestions of your own?


Estelle Page is an interior designer and a passionate DIYer who knows how easily all those odds and ends one doesn’t want to waste can make a clutter.

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