Do you have an outbuilding that doesn’t work the way you’d like it to? Has creeping clutter clogged up a space that was intended for getting things done? Here are some shed organization ideas that will help you optimize your man shed and get back to work!
The truth is, not every organizing project is a complete overhaul! Often, our clients have some sort of organizing systems in place. They have good intentions but a lack of time or energy to optimize the system. Sound familiar?
This was the case with a shed organization project we completed for the husband of our organizing client.
Our client, Juanita, has two sheds in her backyard – one for storing her items, and one for her husband’s belongings. We had recently helped Juanita tackle her garden shed that she’s wanted to organize for years. See that project here!
Her husband, Peter, also has his own shed, but didn’t think it needed organizing.
Juanita’s shed was used to hold yard décor and potting supplies.
Peter’s shed was originally intended to be for tools and yard gear for projects. But, as often happens with “destination” storage spaces, his shed became an overflow repository for kids’ stuff, car parts, coolers, and bulky wood in addition to all the common shed items.
The common shed items were stored here – yard gear, tools, hardware, home maintenance items. He even had established some areas for items to live in within the shed. To Peter, this was “good enough.” The overflow repository was just status quo even though it was impeding easy access to the things he actually used.
Now, Juanita was loving the following benefits of her own shed makeover, and her husband started to take note:
- Reduction in the amount of time spent looking for items
- Money saved by not repurchasing lost or buried items
- Looking inside (and entering in) the space was more appealing and inviting
After seeing the amazing transformation of his wife’s shed and how much usability improved for his wife, Peter wanted in on the action!
Peter’s shed just needed some finer categorization and creative solutions to make the space really serve its purpose.
Here are some shed organization ideas to optimize your outbuildings….
Purpose the Space
Every organizing project should begin with purposing the space. When a space is given a purpose it achieves a few objectives:
- It ensures that the space is really serving the needs of those who use it
- It makes knowing what does and doesn’t belong in the space easy for everyone who uses it
- It allows one to think more creatively about setting up a space to serve a purpose, rather than setting up a space to serve the items that have landed there
Working with Peter, our Order Restorer determined that he wanted a true work space. There was a project bench in the shed, but it was covered in materials and couldn’t be used for work. He also wanted yard equipment and barbecuing items handily accessible.
Our professional organizer led a sort of all the items in the shed following this process:
1.Set up a staging area
During the project, you will need a place to store the items that are pulled out of the space. Set up a staging area to hold and categorize the unloaded items.
- Allow 12-24 hours to complete the project. It always takes longer than you think!
- Check the forecast! If you must store items outdoors, make sure you have 3-4 dry days when you begin the project
- Use tarps under items to keep them clean during the sort
2. Pull everything out and categorize
- Call in help! Speed the project up by asking family, friends, or a professional to help in the space.
- Label category areas so items can be taken directly to the area from the shed. This is also critical when multiple people are involved in the sort
- Start with large categories and then go back and micro-sort within each category
In Peter’s case, we focused on the main categories of Yard, Tools/Hardware, and Maintenance Supplies. During the sort they also discovered items used for barbecuing, along with the miscellaneous items that had migrated into the shed (kids stuff, coolers, bulky wood, etc).
3. Determine what items serve the purpose you designated for the space
- When the sort is complete, examine each category to determine if it is consistent with the purpose you set for your space
- Eliminate categories that don’t fit the purpose – send these items elsewhere!
Peter eliminated categories such as car parts, kids’ belongings, and other items that didn’t serve the purpose of being used as a work space or directly pertaining to the yard. Removing these items cleared up the space needed to have an operational workbench. The repository of nomadic items was resolved!
Reset the space
1. Give priority real estate to items that need easy access
During the sort of items in Peter’s shed, we found BBQ items that had been difficult to access. Since these items are used often in the summer, they were given priority real estate. Another high-use item was bungee cords.
Our organizer helped Peter create a unique solution for these items by hanging them on the back of the shed door for easy access.
Purposing a space and then identifying often-used items opens the door for customized organizing solutions!
2. Consider how one uses the space and set up systems around natural habits
Peter needed to be able to walk into his shed and easily find his tools (and easily put them away, too!) We created an easy grab “tool bar” on the top shelf in his shed and set up the workbench to be used for projects.
3. Set up “neighborhoods” to make items easy to find and put away
In Peter’s shed, we designated one side of the shed for “everything yard” to make finding and putting away items easy. We utilized vertical storage in this space to save floor space.
By utilizing the fresh perspective of our Order Restorer, offloading nomadic items, and fine-tuning his existing systems, this Man Shed is now optimized for its intended purpose. Peter is thrilled that this jumbled space that he had deemed “good enough” is now truly an asset that serves him.
I hope you’ve been inspired by another exciting Restoring Order makeover. The best part of our work is helping people make room for what matters most: the business of LIVING!
Too many people live with awkward, cluttered spaces that they’d rather not deal with….but when order is restored, you’ll trade “good enough” for a usable, delightful space you truly love.
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