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Organizing Shed Question

by Caitlin


I've been looking on your website and been inspired to continue the 'new year spring clean' I started last week but have no idea how to tackle our SHED. It is huge (7x9metres) and chock full of 'stuff'... do you have any specific advice..?

I do like the junk drawer approach which would be how I would deal with the shed but there are some really big items in there (and it's not all mine!).

Thanks for your time and hope you can help,



Shelly's Response: Good Morning Caitlin!

Thank you so much for your wonderful question and congratulations on tackling a Spring Cleaning project early!

You said that not everything in the shed belongs to you. I assume some of it belongs to your husband or roommate? I'm also assuming that some of the items in the shed are lawn equipment (mowers, rakes, shovels, blowers, weed eaters, etc.)? Is the shed currently being used for storing anything else? Or, alternatively, do you want to use it for more than just storing items (e.g. do you want to use a tiny portion for a potting bench)? These are some questions to ask yourself going forward with your plan.

Generally, here are some things I would suggest:

1. First, talk to your spouse (or the person who owns the other "stuff") and see if they will give you a hand or at least tell you what they want and don't want in the shed. Get them to help you with the sorting process.

2. Next, empty the shed of all contents. When doing that, try to put the items in piles -- like things together (e.g. large lawn equipment in one pile, small garden tools/potting soil in another pile, paint cans in another pile).

3. Next go through these items and further sort them into: "Keep" (items you definitely want/need, "Throw Away" (items that you don't want and are not useful to donate to others), "Donate" (items that you don't want but are still useful to others).

4. Immediately throw out the items that are not needed and have no value to anyone. If throwing away items such as motor oil, paint, etc., be sure to follow the guidelines in your area for disposing of these hazardous materials.

5. Next, take the items that you can donate to a charitable organization (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) right away (or have someone do it for you).

6. Next, decide how you want to utilize the space. Take some measurements of the walls, floors, etc. and measure your "Keep" items. It may help you to draw out a plan to scale on some graph paper. This might help you "visualize" the space.

7. Next, go to a home improvement store and/or home organization store and look for items that can help you organize what you have left. Especially look for things that allow you to hang items on the walls -- most people don't utilize their vertical space effectively. Items such as rakes, shovels, blowers and weed eaters can hang from hooks on the walls and save valuable floor space. Plastic or wire baskets can also be mounted on the walls to put small items such as small garden tools, gloves, potting soil (small bags), etc. Be sure to mount strips of wood on the wall studs to hang the heavy items so they won't fall. If space permits and it works with your plan, purchase some extra shelving to hang on the walls for storing items like paint cans, etc. There are wonderful products out there that can store extra paint (without the can) that take up less space.

8. If the shed is in need of repair (paint inside/out or new flooring), make those repairs before putting up your "Keep" items.

9. After installing the items you've purchased, sweep and clean the space. Clean off your "Keep" items as well, if needed, before putting them in the organizer you purchased. Then, put those items away.

Now . . . relax and enjoy your space and all your hard work!

If you feel you need some help with this project, check out the Directory section on www.straighten-up-now and contact a local home organizer in your area. Most have very reasonable fees and can help you make good choices (which can save you both time and money running back and forth purchasing and returning items).

The Directory is complete, except for Texas. If you're in Texas and need info on a local professional organizer, please let me know. I hope to be done with the directory by this week or next.

I hope this information was helpful. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

Have a blessed day!

Shelly Morton


Thank you for your prompt, directional advice... I've been talking to my husband and we're going to tackle it tomorrow morning...well starting the
sorting bit at least! We're in Carnarvon, Western Australia (about 1000km north of perth and 500km from the next biggest towns either north or south) so the heat may interfere a little early but I'm so grateful for your help. All the best for a super weekend.



Shelly's Response: Good morning (or should I say G'day) Caitlin!

Glad to be of service. I bet the heat is a bit of something to deal with "Down Under."

Unfortunately, I don't have any organizers listed in the Directory outside the U.S. at the present time. If you know of any, please have them contact me. I'd be happy to provide listings in other countries (if they are reputable.

Glad to be of assistance and stay cool!

Shelly Morton

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Jul 07, 2009
Love the 1,2,3 step advice
by: Anonymous

The steps are easy and spot on! Kudos!!!

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