THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON HOME STORAGE SOLUTIONS 101.
Today’s mission is to declutter your outdoor storage shed, and depending on how cluttered and large your shed is I know this isn’t a fifteen minute task, but more like a 15 minute at a time kind of task.
This mission is designed to be done while working on the Organizing Yard & Garden Storage Areas Challenge here on the site, which is part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge.
If this seems like a daunting mission to you, please read the instructions I’ve written below for how to tackle this challenge so that it seems more doable, and also to make sure you’re keeping the “right” things inside your gardenshed, and not just a bunch of stuff, for the sake of keeping the stuff.
The Problem: Storage Sheds Are The Junk Drawers Of Our Yards
When you first got your storage shed you probably assumed it would fit everything you needed to place in there with some room to spare. But as time went on you just added “one more thing” so many times it became overflowing with stuff.
If just the thought of opening your storage shed to get something out fills you with dread, because it is a huge and monumental task to find what you need in there, and/or opening the doors or shifting things around make you feel like an avalanche might get triggered, then it’s definitely time for a decluttering session (or ten!).
We often see storage sheds as a catch all, a place to put what we don’t otherwise know what to do with. Hence, it becomes like the junk drawer or our yards. But today that’s going to change for you, and just this mind shift, alone, can take you a long way toward keeping this space organized and clutter free from now on.
Consider The Purpose Of Your Storage Shed: What Should You Store In There?
Part of the issue with these outdoor storage areas is that you can use them for all kinds of storage needs. That’s how they’re designed actually, so they’re versatile and can be used for all kinds of purposes.
But the problem is even if this storage area can be used for 20 different purposes, in theory, you need to know what you personally want to use it for, and only use it for those 1-2 purposes.
The lack of consideration over what you should be storing in this space is often one of the primary reasons it feels so cluttered and junked up.
So before you ever begin decluttering this space stop and think about how you want to use it. You may already know, and then have ignored that decision and stuck extra stuff in the space and now you need to deal with it. Or you may have never decided before and need to do so now before you decide what should stay versus what should go.
Here are examples of common ways people use these outdoor storage sheds (although the sky is really the limit, so you’re not limited to these uses):
- Storing gardening tools and supplies
- Holding yard and lawn care equipment and tools
- Store toys and games for the kids to play with outside
- Store bikes and similar equipment
- Store pool chemicals and supplies
- Extra garage storage, for tools, equipment, etc.
While you can choose to store all kinds of things in these storage units remember that they are unheated and uncooled so you need to be careful what you decide to place in them to make sure the changes in temperature will not cause problems with the items.
In addition, security can also be an issue to consider, depending on what type of locking mechanism you need for the storage shed, and how safe the area is you’re storing items in.
Once you’ve identified the purpose for your storage shed you’ll have much more clarity when you begin the decluttering process of what to keep in there versus what to get rid of, or at least move to a different location.
How To Tackle The Project: All At Once Versus In Small Sections
Depending on how big your shed or other storage area is, and how much stuff you’ve got in it, it might be best to take out all the contents at once and deal with them in one big session. I only suggest this if the area is not excessively cluttered or is very small, otherwise it could get too overwhelming.
However, when you can do it all at once without being overwhelmed taking everything out can be a great method for tackling the project because you can see everything at once, and you can make a decision about each item and have it earn it’s way back into the space.
If it doesn’t fit the purpose for the storage shed it doesn’t need to go back in there. For example, if you’ve determined that your storage shed’s purpose is to hold your yard tools and gardening supplies the kids’ toy balls do not belong in there.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a huge garden shed, and/or you don’t think you’d have enough energy and stamina to tackle everything cluttering up your shed at one time do NOT take it all out at once, or you’ll end up making a bigger mess and exhaust yourself in the process.
If that is the case instead break it up into smaller chunks of time — such as my suggested fifteen minutes at a time. Just take out the stuff from one small section and a time and tackle it in these smaller chunks. It will still get done, and won’t be as overwhelming.
For each item decide if it should be kept in the space, donated, sold, trashed, or moved somewhere else.
Especially if you work on just one small section at a time you may need to go through the process more than once until you winnow it down to the amount that easily fits into the space you’ve got, but trust me, it gets easier as you go. Plus just getting rid of one or two big items, like the old lawn mower that doesn’t work anymore, can quickly clear out a large amount of space!
Tips For Decluttering Your Garden Or Storage Shed
No matter whether you do this a bit at a time or all at once, here are tips for getting the job done so you’ve got a clean clutter free space again.
First, keep your goal in mind. The goal is not to fill every single inch of the shed with stuff. You don’t win if you played pack the tools in the small space Tetris and got the most stuff in there with no space even for air to circulate.