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organized garden shed tools wood paneling

Spring is coming soon. That means now’s the time to organize and declutter your garden storage for a new year of gardening. Here’s how.

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Even if you are still buried under 3’ of snow, you can be confident that spring is right around the corner. Before it creeps up on you, make a plan to finally organize your gardening tools and supplies. Simplify your life and putter in the yard more effectively by decluttering. Know where all your gear is, instead of wasting time moving large things to get to small things. Spend your time happily in the garden, not frustrated in the shed.

As always, my first words are get rid of stuff you don’t use anymore. Got a bucket full of old trowels or hose nozzles? I know you buy new ones every year! Take the old ones to the second hand store. Once you get your tools down to what you use most, you’ll be able to organize the rest.

Get organized

Get things off the floor. It’s easy to upcycle any flat surface (shutters, scrap wood) into a shelf. A few screws and brackets will do wonders to free up your floor space. Stack old crates along a wall for instantly compartmentalized storage.

Find some bins to fit on the shelves. Small bins can hold small items, like gloves, twine, seeds, rags and spray bottles. Put small hand tools in a separate bin so they are easy to find. Make it a carrier so you can just grab it and take it outside! Fill larger bins with bags of potting soil, fertilizer, and pest treatments, all organic, of course. Get a step stool to reach the highest shelves.

I highly recommend wire bins, instead of plastic, so dirt and water can fall out the bottom. Otherwise you might get mold and rot ruining the things you are trying to save!

If you buy large bags of potting soil, build a soil bin to hold their contents. A large grain scoop will make it easy to use. Incorporate the bin into a larger potting area. An old hutch or dresser can be upcycled into a potting surface with storage for seeds, gloves, a trowel, labels and pots.

Hang things

Build or buy a hanger for hoses and large hand tools, such as rakes and shovels. How many times have you leaned a shovel against a wall only to have it fall down, maybe onto you? Yeah, see what I mean?

Pegboard is a blessing. Line one wall with it, add pegs, and hang anything with a handle or a loop. You can even make shelves. An old iron rake head is a wonderful way to hang hand tools and aprons. And we all have old iron rake heads!

Don’t ignore rafters and beams. Hooks can be screwed into them for hanging dried flowers and herbs or smaller items that don’t get used much during the season. Planks can be placed across beams to create more shelving.

Garden sheds

Maybe you don’t even have a shed. Maybe you pile things up on the side of the house or in the garage. Get a shed! It will pay for itself in saved tools and reduced stress. Size will depend on how much room you have and how much stuff you have (remember to declutter first before you decide size!).

You can get more creative choosing a style. It can match your home style, whether that is cape, saltbox, log cabin, territorial, cottage, Victorian, or ranch. You can go so far as to make a mini-me of your house.

A shed can be eclectic and whimsical, having nothing to do with the house. Built of recycled materials painted bright colors and covered with flowering vines, it would be a creative conversation piece and an inspiring place to hang out. Make the south side a greenhouse with extra windows in the wall and ceiling.

Place it close to the gardens so you’re not hauling things a distance. Create a retreat with a deck or patio and outdoor seating. Install and plant window boxes, and plant perennial gardens around it. Make it an integral part of your garden.

Planning time

That snow will melt, so start planning! Declutter, then organize what’s left. You’ll have a more joyful garden season if you’re not tripping over your hoses trying to get to your potting table.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.