How to sort out your garage or shed

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.

Different coloured zonal pelargoniums. Sort out your garage or shed

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?

Green bicycle outside old shed. Sort out your garage or shed

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.

Many paint pots on shelves. recycling paint professional declutter organise north wales Sort out your garage or shed

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!

Organise and tidy up the garden in autumn

(A version of this post first appeared on the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers’ website in September 2018.)

In the garden, we love to enjoy the beauty of the moment. The first snowdrop, a drift of daffodils, your very own vegetables, bright pots at the door or on the balcony, leaves changing colour in autumn. Gardeners, of course, are always looking down the road as well, planning for what comes next.

Tidy up now so your garden or balcony stays lovely all the way through till spring

It’s time now for a little autumn cleaning, tidying, reorganising and planting to make a difference in your garden straightaway and over the next few months. A neat and well-tended garden will lift the spirits as the weather turns nasty, play its part in sparkling winter festivities, and help to welcome spring. (Yes, spring is on schedule for 2019, however far away it feels at present!)

Autumn weather can be lovely, so get out and enjoy it when you can!

tidy up the garden

Clean up and tidy up

Get a bucket of hot soapy water ready – with a dash of bleach if there’s algae or moss involved. Autumn cleaning and tidying prevents pests and diseases getting hold and will make a difference when spring and summer roll round again.

Clean, dry and put away the garden furniture and the BBQ. And the garden toys too, unless they are an essential part of outdoors. Scrub the decking to get rid of slippery patches.

Clean empty pots, hanging baskets, canes and plant supports and store them out of reach of wind or frost. Empty the hoses and drip-feed systems and put them away so they don’t freeze and split in the cold winter temperatures.

If you’ve got them, give the greenhouse and cold frame a good going-over. Move the plants temporarily to a sheltered area, protected with fleece, and then brush out all that debris where pests and diseases love to hide. Let in as much daylight as possible by cleaning the glass, including between the panes – use something flexible like a plant label. Remember to put the plants back!

Clean out and disinfect bird boxes.

tidy up the garden

Tidy away

Head for the compost heap, garden waste bin or leaf mould container with:

  • all the faded and finished contents of summer pots and hanging baskets
  • old crops from the vegetable garden
  • fallen leaves from your lawn, path or road.

Trim the hedges and help overwintering wildlife

September is the month to give a last trim to your hawthorn, privet, lonicera, laurel, box, escallonia, holly and yew hedges. New tightly packed, healthy shoots will thicken the hedges up a little before winter and they’ll look neat and tidy for a long time. It’s probably a bit too late to trim beech and hornbeam and don’t trim conifer hedges (apart from yew) now as it encourages bald patches.

Make a place for wildlife to overwinter by creating a ‘dead hedge’ with woody hedge trimmings, tucked away behind the shed or the compost.

Declutter and reorganise the garden shed

The garden shed can become overwhelmed with things, stuffed in hastily as life rolls on through the summer. Decluttering and reorganising it will make sure you’ve got an ordered working environment for busy times ahead.

Plastic flower pots just love to fall over and roll out of reach. Ask yourself how many of these troublesome pots you actually need, and get rid of the rest. Many garden centres will recycle them. In my small shed, I’m currently trialling storing the ones I do need in horizontal stacks within box frames.

tidy up the garden

Prepare for autumn rains and gales

We all know this weather is coming so be prepared! A few quick checks and a bit of work now is certainly a lot easier than clearing up later.

Check gutters, downpipes and their hoppers for any obstructions like clumps of grass, young buddleia, leaves or moss. Make sure they haven’t come loose and that their joints are sound.

Scrub out the water butt, rinse and then let it refill. A lightproof cover will suppress any green algae. Clear debris out of your pond too, and put a net over it to stop leaves getting in.

You don’t want your plants to get waterlogged or frozen so remove and store any pot saucers, and put the pots up on ‘feet’ or stones.

Autumn wind can ‘burn’ plants, rock them about badly and even make them keel over. To prevent this, cut back shrub roses and other tall summer-flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants. Make sure young trees and shrubs are tied carefully and firmly to stakes that are also firm in the ground.

Plant and move

The soil is still warm and moist in early autumn and plants love this. It’s a great time to divide large clumps of perennials to make more plants and this is the best time to put in bare-root plants, if you’ve been thinking about fruit trees and bushes.

My pots of pelargoniums are still flowering madly but I’ll soon be planting up some autumn/winter pots. I love Sarcococca confusa, the Christmas box, with its dark-green leaves and tiny, highly scented cream flowers. I’ll also use heather and skimmia. And bright cyclamen.

Now is also the time to plant bright and cheerful spring-flowering bulbs, such as crocus and daffodils. Put them in the lawn or in pots.

Wait until late November to plant tulips. I’m a convert to this wonderful bulb and I’m delighted with the show that a few pots of them can make in the spring.

Pink tulip. tidy up the garden

Take time to wonder and admire

There’s plenty to do but do take the time to admire your garden and your hard work. Work steadily, as and when you can, and the garden will continue to bring you delight as the seasons turn.