Welcome to this post about how to sort out your garage or shed.
It’s the post for you if you want to be able to find what you need – easily. Without having to move too much. It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
You’re not alone in having a cluttered, unusable or downright dangerous garage or shed. Read on for some of the reasons other people give for wanting to sort these places out.
Some great reasons to sort out your garage or shed
You’d quite like to put the car in the garage
Uncluttered says: Good idea, you could save £££ on the motor insurance. And you wouldn’t have to scrape the windscreen on those frosty mornings.
There’s nowhere to put things that really matter to you
Uncluttered says: I understand. I would really like to overwinter some beautiful pelargoniums I bought at the Botanic Garden’s sale last year but there’s no room.
You buy duplicates of things that you know are in the garage or perhaps in the shed but you can’t find, even though you’ve looked. In fact, you can’t find anything at all amongst all those boxes and bits and pieces.
Uncluttered asks: Can you see all the bits for the BBQ anywhere??
What? Bikes for a 6 year old? They are in their 20s now. And some of their other toys are here too.
Uncluttered says: Now I’ve looked, there’s an old push-along toy of mine there. That’s got to be decades old.
It’s a bit damp so it’s actually not a great place to store things
Uncluttered says: Anything in cardboard is definitely destined to be colonised by black mould. And tools easily go rusty in damp conditions if they aren’t cleaned and rubbed over with an oily rag.
You have a nasty feeling that much of the stuff in the garage and in the garden shed is actually rubbish but you can’t bear to look
Uncluttered says: It could be true, this one.
It’s an accident waiting to happen. Tools fall out when you open the shed door and that assortment of ancient chemicals doesn’t look at all safe.
Uncluttered says: Time to do something about it!
But first, stop and think!
What do you want to use your garage or garden shed for? Having a clear picture of this in your mind may help as you declutter and organise. Do you store all the bikes in the garden shed at the moment, for example? Would they be better in a bike shed? What’s possible, given your particular circumstances?
How long will this take me?
You have two choices.
Choice A is to declutter little and often. Say, 15 minutes every day.
On the plus side: you won’t overdo it and you’ll have time to ponder your decisions in between times.
Against: you might easily fall out of the habit because you don’t see the inside of your garden shed or garage every day. Out of sight can be out of mind.
Choice B is to do it all in one big blast.
On the plus side: that’s it, done.
Against: it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose heart or your temper, and you might hurt your back.
Whichever you choose, break the big job into smaller pieces to avoid getting distracted.
Use this tried and true decluttering system to sort out your garage or shed
It’s a great system that works in almost all situations. It sorts things into four boxes: relocate; mend or repurpose; donate; recycle or bin.
Keep and relocate. I mentioned above that it’s important to be clear about what you want to use your space for. Are there are some things that would be better (or should be) in another place?
Mend / repurpose. Be realistic when you put something in this box. Will you actually ever mend this item? Is it still useful? Will you actually ever repurpose this other item?
Donate or recycle. Donating or recycling unwanted items makes you feel good.
Do you know someone who’d be delighted to receive that old sports equipment perhaps? Or children’s painting equipment? Put things for the charity shop in bags and boxes and get them on their way as soon as possible.
Some things are toxic and have to be disposed of carefully. Ask the council recycling centre about paint, motor oil and chemicals such as weedkiller.
Bin. You’ll probably know things for the bin when you see them! Old paint rags and mildewed cushions definitely fall into this category (speaking from experience here).
Organising what’s left in your garage or shed
Start sorting by putting like with like (for example, all wood together or all plant pots). This will help you see how much you have in each group.
Then consider the space (remember to look up) and how you can store things efficiently and safely. Aim to put things you need regularly all year round within easy reach and those used less often further away.
There’s often sufficient room overhead in a garage for racks or pipes to store wood, and perhaps a pulley system to lift bikes up and away.
The wall is the place for heavy-duty open shelves which can hold all kinds of containers. Clear containers are good so you can see what’s inside.
A wall-mounted broom holder works for large garden tools and brushes. Wall hooks are good for ladders and tools (draw the shape of smaller tools so it’s easy to put them back). Pegboards work for some tools and magnetic knife strips are good for small tools.
Use glass jars to store nails, screws, nuts, bolts and other small items. Screw their lids to the underside of shelves for easy access.
Use plastic downpipes to keep long-handled tools in order in a box.
Label your containers and shelves so it makes it easy to find what you need and easy for everyone to put things away promptly. Check every six months or so to keep things tidy and to move things around as the seasons change.
I hope that you’ve made (or you’re on the verge of making) the decision to sort out your garage or shed. Or even both. You won’t look back!
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