Backyard sheds are convenient, but like a junk drawer, they can quickly fill up, making it hard to find what you need. Transforming your shed into an organized work space is a great way to get things under control again. The first step is to make some basic decisions about the purpose of your shed.
Decide Your Shed’s Purpose
When you know what purpose your shed will serve, you can begin organizing it accordingly. Is it a shrine to gardening supplies? Will it be a storage closet for car tools or pool chemicals? Or maybe you’re hoping to park your lawn mower and other lawn-care equipment there.
If you plan to store seeds and the like in your shed, they need to stay dry to prevent mold or early sprouting. Double check that rain or snow isn’t leaking through and that seeds are kept away from dirt and fertilizer. Moisture can come up through the floor, so store organic items need to be on pallets or shelves. Also, leave some airspace between the wall and the organic material to discourage the buildup of humidity.
If you keep oil, radiator fluid, or paint in your shed, you’ll need to find a way to keep these items cool in the hot summer weather; paint and oil can be flammable or explosive if they get too hot. Windowless sheds protect against trapped sunlight and a superheated interior. Because stagnant air heats up, too, it’s crucial to ensure that air circulates throughout the shed. The shed doesn’t have to be airtight; covering air vents with chicken wire will discourage animals while allowing cool air to circulate. During warm months, keep the shed door open while you’re working.
Take Advantage of Wall Space
Installing cupboards, shelves or pegboards lets you use shed walls for storage. Use cupboards for storing chemicals and paint or to keep seeds high and dry so they don’t sprout early. Hooks and hanging racks can be versatile ways to store gardening tools, such as rakes, shovels, pruning shears and more without cluttering up a corner or workbench.
Metal-framed sheds can be tricky, but a little creativity can overcome the problem. You can attach a pegboard for tools to the back of a workbench or substitute rolling tool cabinets in place of wall-attached shelves.
From Shed to Green House
Many cities have thriving gardening communities. If you are an avid gardener, you may want to consider joining a local gardening club or participating in garden walks in your community. Once you’ve got your shed ready, you’ll be in a great position to store your seeds and equipment until planting season comes.
For the serious gardener, a tiller is an absolute necessity and a garden shed is a perfect place to keep it. Additionally, you’ll need hand trowels, a weed puller, and several 10-gallon buckets for hauling dirt, picking weeds, or transporting plants. Elevate bags of fertilizer off the ground on pallets to help prevent damage to bags or exposure to moisture.
Even if you live in a more urban area, you can still organize your space to include a garden and shed. Rooftop gardening is a popular option for those living in apartment buildings. For example, Chicago’s Mayor Daley brought the idea of rooftop gardens back from a visit to sister city, Hamburg, Germany, and urged residents to cultivate them. Rooftop gardens extend the life of roofs – the soil provides protection from the elements – and they also cut down on heating and cooling costs.
If you live in an apartment complex, make your rooftop garden a joint effort. A shared shed is a convenient place to store communal gardening tools and also ensures you don’t have to sacrifice space in your apartment. Additionally, keeps the dirt near the garden, not in your home.
Ready for Life
If you find you still need more space or if a storage shed just isn’t a possibility for you, you can move excess supplies off-site to a convenient storage unit. While it may be tempting to fall back into old habits of tossing everything haphazardly into the shed, remember all the hard work you put into organizing and storing your supplies, and that should keep you motivated to maintain your organized shed in the future.
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