Shed organization can be tricky when we have more stuff than we have space. These ideas will show you how to organize a shed for maximum storage capacity.

how to organize a shed

Figuring out how to organize a shed requires a bit of forethought. Although storage sheds can be a crucial part of your organizational system, they’re not always given the attention they deserve.

Picture what the inside of your shed looks like right now. Are you able to walk from the front to the back without issue? Storage sheds can quickly become filled to the brim with outdoor clutter that’s hard to find or access — lawnmowers, tools, rakes, shovels, etc.

With an open, clean, and organized shed, you can store items to find what you need when you need it. We put together a list of shed organization tips and ideas to help you make the most out of this underutilized space all year.

1. Use a Magnetic Bar for Tools

shed organization ideas

To organize any type of shed, make use of a magnetic bar. This shed organization idea has long been used to store standard tools, and it’s ideal for storing gardening tools too. Just make sure to choose a magnetic bar that is strong enough to hold the tools you’re looking to organize.

2. Hang a Pegboard for Tool Storage

how to organize a shed: Pegboard for Tool Storage

A pegboard is a common yet underutilized storage shed organization idea. Not only does a pegboard allow each item to be easily found and accessed, but it frees up the floor and takes up virtually no extra space.

Learn how to build a pegboard for your tools here!

3. Add Open Shelving

DIY Storage Shelves - Blue Totes on Garage Shelves

When you’re left with limited space in a storage shed, it’s important to figure out how to make the most out every inch. By modifying your walls with shelves, you can utilize more space to free up your floor and make your shed appear more spacious than it is.

To build sturdy shelves, cut plywood to fit the surface area. To store more items, make the shelves deeper or construct shelves from floor to ceiling.

Our friend Ginger built freestanding shelves for her garage for less than $60! Here’s how she did it.

4. Use Hanging Jar Organizers

how to organize a shed: Hanging Jar Organizers Image via Chez Larsson

Nails, screws, tacks, and bolts are necessary items every tool shed needs, but those tiny pieces of hardware can easily get lost in the shuffle and sometimes end up on the floor, where you step on them. To keep them in place and out of the way, install a hanging jar system.

We’ve all heard the hype surrounding Mason jars, but any jar with a screw top lid should work for this one. To create this system, fill each jar with your small pieces and attach the lid to the bottom of a shelf. To access the nails and screws, unscrew the jar and lower it carefully.

5. Construct a Rake and Gardening Organizer

how to organize a shed: Rake and Gardening Organizer

Yard tools like rakes, shovels, hoes, and pitchforks are tough to organize, which is why it’s so easy to let them form into a massive pile on the floor. To keep them out of the way, utilize your garden shed wall space by making a handmade organizer.

Start by carving divots into pieces of wood planks that each tool fits into. This step will prevent your shovels, rakes and gardening tools from falling as you store them against the wall. Then screw the wood right onto your wall. If you’re worried about keeping track of each one of your tools, you may want to label each spot with a marker and duct tape.

6. Contain Chemicals with Storage Boxes

how to organize a shed: chemical storage box

It’s common to have chemicals such as weed killer, pesticide spray, diesel and paints inside storage sheds. However, these are extremely toxic, and some are even flammable in confined spaces. As you’re figuring out how to organize your shed, prevent these chemicals from contaminating the floor, ground, or even water supply.

By placing all of your potentially hazardous chemicals in a storage container, you can ensure they’re in one place and also kept safe from outside exposure. Heavy-duty plastic bins that are easy to slide in and out are great options for storing these.

Here are some things to keep in mind when storing and organizing chemicals in your shed:

  • Keep the chemicals in their original containers, stored in one place together.
  • Keep them out of sunlight and out of reach of pets and children.
  • If you’re storing fertilizer and fuel in the same close space, be sure that it’s ventilated and that the two aren’t near one another.

7. Reuse a Pallet as a Multi-Purpose Organizer

Pallets are arguably the most versatile accessory. They can be made into tables, headboards, vertical gardens, frames, wine storage, tables and more. If your tool shed lacks a toolbox and you’re looking for simple yet effective storage for your tools, a pallet board and some nails will do the trick. The best part? Pallets are easy to find and often free of charge.

To begin, take a pallet and smooth it out using a sander. You can leave it natural or paint it depending on your preference. Once it’s ready to go, install it on the wall using a couple of screws. The individual boards are a natural spot to hang hammers and items with handles, but you can also use nails and clamps to hold a variety of other tools.

8. Purchase Free Standing Shelves

Sometimes the simplest way to add storage to a shed is by inserting pre-made shelving units inside. If you plan on storing bulky items, make sure you somehow attach or bolt the units to the wall to stabilize them.

9. Hang Hose and Cord Organizers

how to organize a tool shed

If you’re planning how to organize a shed, the last thing you need is a headache from all the tangled cords and hoses taking up space on the floor. Using hooks, shelving units or even PVC pipe to organize your cords and hoses will help you to stay significantly more organized.

The key here is making sure the hook you have is securely fastened to the wall of your shed. Hose hooks run as cheap as $5-10 from your local hardware store.

10. Hang Garden Tools on the Exterior

shed organization ideas

Don’t forget two of the most underrated storage sections of a shed — the back of the doors and the exterior walls. Hang hooks on the doors to organize your most commonly used smaller tools. This way, all you need to do is open the door to get to what you need most. To store larger gardening tools like shovels and rakes, mount the hanging storage on an exterior wall. This shed organization idea is most effective if the wall is slightly protected from the elements with a roof overhang.

11. Opt for Wire Shelving

how to organize a shed

Consider wire shelving for your garden shed instead of wooden shelves. Wire shelves let the light through, making it easier to find items in spaces where you might not have a lot of light. Wire shelving also stands up to water better than wooden shelves, and you’ll have some moisture if your storage area is located outside.

12. Build a Potting Bench or Workbench

how to organize a shed

For your garden shed to run efficiently, you need a place to work even if it’s raining outside. Sheds can be as much a workspace as they are a storage place. The simplest solution is to add a potting bench to your storage shed if it’s large enough. This piece works much like a kitchen counter, providing a surface where you can stand and work. You can make the bench from reclaimed lumber, pallets, or a reused piece of antique furniture. The same applies to a tool shed, but instead of a potting bench, you’ll be building a workbench.

13. Use a Paint Bucket as a Caddy

how to organize a shed using paint can

One simple and free shed organization idea is to repurpose a paint bucket as a storage caddy. For example, take a galvanized paint bucket and turn it into a garden hose caddy. Just drill a few holes in the bottom of the bucket and screw the bucket to the wall. Next, wrap a hose around the bucket and store items like paint brushes inside.

14. Add Ventilation Using Chicken Wire

Because stagnant air heats up, too, it’s crucial to ensure that air circulates throughout the shed. However, paint and oil can be flammable or explosive if they get too hot. Windowless sheds protect against trapped sunlight and a superheated interior.

Remember, a windowless shed doesn’t have to be airtight. Add air vents and cover them with chicken wire to discourage animals while allowing cool air to circulate. During warm months, keep the shed door open while you’re working.

15. Set Up a Slat Wall System

how to organize a tool shed

A slat wall system is similar to a pegboard, but they are a bit more durable for hanging heavy items like wheelbarrows and bicycles. The slat board runs horizontally across a wall and uses pre-fabricated hooks that fit in the slats to attach things. Just make sure that your shed is sturdy enough to handle such an installation.

Your shed organization system doesn’t have to be perfect. However, no matter your shed’s dimensions, it should be a functional space. Think you’ve figured out how to organize a shed? With a few of these quick and easy additions, you’ll be able to rid the clutter, maximize your space, and find what you need in no time.
This post originally appeared on the Life Storage blog on 06/06/2016 and was revised on 11/15/2018 to provide new information.

About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at The Spruce and Martha Stewart.

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