Many of us like gardening, but don’t enjoy opening up the long-unused garden shed after a wet Pacific Northwest winter. Looking at the cobwebs and damp leaves that have settled in, there is always that goal: “This year, I’m going to organize this place!” And then you dive in to the gardening tasks, you enjoy the blooms and the growth from spring through fall, and by the time you realize it’s almost winter again, the shed is still in disarray. Not this year! We’ve got a great list of tips and tricks to help you whip your garden shed into shape. Come this time next year, you’ll open up your post-winter shed, see and find everything you need, and love gardening even more. Green thumbs at the ready…set…go!
Your hand tools deserve better than being tossed into a sack and set in a corner. Storing them dirty and thrown about will cause them to rust and lose their edges quicker. If you invest in high-quality hand tools, you’ll want them to last many years. A trough or big clay pot filled with sand will keep your tools clean and sharp; wipe them with a rag before sticking them in the sand. If you are going to store them in a toolbox, wipe them down and line them up so the edges aren’t banging into one another. Add charcoal briquettes in a cloth bag—these will absorb any moisture. Of course we can’t forget the classic pegboard storage solution—so many ways to do it!
Serious DYI-ers will not recoil from this weekend project: build a potting bench! It includes a pegboard for your hand tools, as well as places for pots, soil, etc. Not a handy sort? Just order one online.
You don’t want to be stepping over (or on!) your rake and other long-handled tools. Get them out of the way and store them vertically—you’ll be amazed how much floor space that opens up. Rubbermaid has Tool Towers that hold 30-40 tools, and the solid base keeps it from tipping over. Gladiator’s GearTrack system gives you more customization options for hanging your long tools. Mount the horizontal track and choose the hangers you want, then slide them where needed. If you’re a DIY-er, you could even build a shovel rack and customize it to your specific needs.
Keep your seed packets dry and cool by storing them in an airtight container, in a cool spot and out of direct sunlight. The container can be glass, metal, or plastic. The refrigerator is actually not an ideal storage solution because of the fluctuating humidity. The freezer will kill most seed varieties. Add a desiccant packet to absorb moisture; or wrap a teaspoon of powdered milk in a piece of tissue or cheesecloth and place in the container for a homemade trick.
Sure, you could keep that extra potting soil in its original plastic bag with the top cinched by a rubber band. Or, you could ensure its quality for the next planting season by storing it differently. As with seeds, moisture and sunlight are the enemies during storage. Moisture will foster mold or mildew growth, and, coupled with sunlight, could cause pest and fungal growth that are invisible to you, but detrimental to your plants. Store your soil in a large heavy duty plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid, or a lidded galvanized metal can. Be sure to disinfect either container (a disinfectant wipe will do), and let it dry thoroughly, before placing the soil inside. Keep it in a dark corner of your shed.
Odds and Ends
We’ve all got the miscellaneous gardening items—gloves, little pots, knee pads, totes—that need storage solutions. A smaller plastic or wood shelving unit is great for these loose items. Group them into bins or baskets, or add hooks for hanging certain things. Set it up according to your needs, like putting often-used items (e.g., gloves) at quick reach, and less needed ones lower or higher. With all these smaller loose items in their shelf spots and off the shed floor, you’ll find things quickly in your now-roomier shed.
With these tips and tricks for organizing your garden shed, you’ll be spending more time doing the fun gardening tasks!