Do you have overstuffed outdoor spaces? Do you avoid putting things away in your shed or garage because they are disorganized? You are not alone!
Warmer weather is a great time to prioritize overhauling your shed or other outdoor space! This investment could even help you reclaim your passions!
We recently helped our client Juanita organize her shed. For the past three years Juanita has been wanting to tackle this project, but other indoor projects kept taking precedence. But, this summer, with the help of our professional organizers, she was ready!
When tackling daunting spaces that are packed with belongings, here are a couple strategies to keep you from getting overwhelmed:
1. Do what you know first.
If you are overwhelmed by trying to plan out a space and see the big picture from the start, just get going! As you do what you know – whether it be throwing away trash and broken items or removing items that don’t belong in the space – what you DO know grows and what you don’t know shrinks!
This is a simple, yet powerful strategy for getting started on any organizing project!
2. Create a staging area
To truly overhaul an outdoor space, you must pull everything out. Prior to doing so, establish a staging area that is protected from the elements as the project may last multiple days.
Be prepared, there is always a lot more stuff than you think! In Juanita’s case, we had to use a long pathway and a grassy area of her yard to spread out her belongings by type as we removed them.
3. Sort and “Prune”
As you remove items from the space, designate categories in your staging area. Some of Juanita’s categories included: plant food & supplies; yard décor; potting materials; outdoor lighting, etc.
Once all the items are removed from the space and sorted, you can visually see how much volume you have of each category. Macro-sorted, categorized piles are now a breeze to prune! You can now easily thin out your possessions once you see how much you own. You might be surprised how much you’ve accumulated!
Be realistic about what will actually be used!
In Juanita’s shed, she purged around 30% of the items that were pulled out of the space.
This is also the time to thoughtfully determine what types of items will and will not permanently live in the space. Items that don’t belong should be sent elsewhere. This step is critical because it frees up the room you need to make the space useful!
4. Clean it Out
Once you have everything pulled out of your shed or garage, take the time to clean it up. Sweep it out, clean off shelves, dust off items you are planning to keep.
When you are investing the time and energy in organizing the space, these extra few minutes will honor your hard work and make the finished space more inviting.
5. Thoughtfully reload
Now that you have thinned out your belongings, determined what will live in this space, and cleaned and prepped the space, make the space functional.
Sheds and garages are what we call a “destination space.” It’s a place where items get put away and stored.
With this in mind, consider what items will be used most frequently and give prime space to those items so they are easy to take out and put away.
When we emptied out Juanita’s shed, we discovered that the contents were mostly items that she uses in her yard. She likes to change her yard décor seasonally and has pots, décor, and birdhouses that need storage. So, we set her shed up like a store to spark her creativity. Now, her items are on display in her shed and she can walk in and easily see what she has to work with. What was once a sore spot for Juanita has become a space to inspire her passions!
TIP: Certain storage spaces lend themselves to being “merchandised” like a store. Group like items together and artfully display items to make the storage space a delight to use. You’re more likely to cycle through your stored items and make use of them if the storage area itself is fun to use.
- Make it beautiful
By taking the extra time to make an outdoor destination space appealing, you will be more likely to enter the space to retrieve and put away your belongings! This extra step will help ensure that the space is used as it is intended and stays organized!
In Juanita’s shed, she added a couple indoor/outdoor rugs to the space to make it more beautiful and inviting.
We also hung bird feeders along the interior walls to decorate it while giving access to her choice of feeders when she has a need for a change.
Now she is excited to go spend time in her shed looking through her décor and being inspired in her passion of lawn decoration.
These outdoor spaces are often ignored while more noticeable, glamorous indoor spaces are prioritized. However, overhauling your shed or other destination storage spaces will make your future organizing projects easier!
We hope this client’s project has inspired you to tackle those outdoor spaces you’ve been putting off. Your efforts now will save you time and bring enjoyment for a long time to come.