Emily Winters: Master Shed Organizer

Amidst the warm weather and onslaught of lawn maintenance, gardening, and general exterior upkeep, it’s not so hard to get motivated to clean out and organize the garage and a shed in our backyard. Anything to spend a little more time outside on a warm Saturday, right?

We don’t have a lot of storage space in our little home and single car garage, so we’ve learned slowly what works and how to fit a really lot of stuff into this 100 sq. ft. shed, which is actually just a separate room off the back of the garage. Maybe you’ll call it the clown car of sheds once you see it. You’ll also probably ask why we have three string trimmers.

Truth is, if we don’t spend that extra 5 minutes every night making sure that every tool makes it back into its place, the shed transforms from tool command central to a crazy (and potentially dangerous) work zone.

Peek into the organized shed!

Need some tips on organizing your outdoor spaces this summer? (Or are you just itching to see what’s in our outdoor tool arsenal?) Keep on reading to find out.

When we came across this free shelving a few years ago, we took it knowing that it would be good for storage wherever it landed. It’s hardwood, and it’s nice (or it was), so it’s a little, ahem, out of place in a setting where you might be used to seeing industrial shelving. But hey, it works!

Organizing the garage.

It’s divisions are perfect for helping us to organize odds and ends. In one cubbie, extra clay pots and hanging baskets. In another, the lawn mower gasoline and power tool gas/oil mixtures. In other compartments, it’s car-central. We have extra oil. Extra coolant. Funnels and invariably, paper towels for when I miss pouring into the funnel. And all of our car washing materials are stuffed into a single bucket for resourcefulness and easy access.

Organized shed.

The top of the shelf is obviously a nice place for some bigger odds and ends; thanks to its access to the shed’s electrical outlet, it makes for an ideal place to store our battery chargers and radio, among larger items we don’t want taking up floor space, like the giant rolling cooler.

Looking even further up, we’ve made the exposed beams useful by drilling spare screws into the wood, creating insta-hooks for various saws, a crowbar, and other accessories.

Organizing the garage.

Looking onto the back wall, note the pegboard. Previous homeowners had installed it, but we hadn’t put it to good use until this spring when I picked up a new set of assorted pegboard hooks and took it upon myself to begin sorting things. The pegboard itself shows signs of water damage, but it’s still in solid condition and capable of holding what we ask it to. If you’re curious, we patched the roof last summer and that took care of most of the water damage we experienced during heavy rainstorms (you can read about that project here). And not to get too off-topic, but we do have another shed situation to deal with this summer: repairing weakened joists and the roof (you can read about that situation here; the issue is fixed temporarily, but we should really get on replacing it fully).

Organized shed.

The bicycles currently overhang a large portion of the pegboard from large hooks in the ceiling joists, but they’re not terribly in the way. In fact, they’re way-way-way less in the way than if we were trying to keep them on the floor of the shed. In the corner hangs a large leaf blower. Hung where it is, it’s completely out of the way but still completely accessible. It’s all about keeping as many big tools off the floor as possible.

Organized shed.

We keep the left wall of the shed organized much like the right side that overhangs the wooden shelving unit. With screws and hooks, we’ve managed to take many of our handheld power tools off the ground too, which helps to keep them safe (not kicking them around to move about the shed) and dry (because as you can tell, this part of the ceiling is right below that roof that needs to be replaced and sometimes water enters and puddles on the ground.

Organized hanging power tools in the shed.

Along the bottom of that wall, I’ve organized every last cement block that we found scattered around the property when I moved in. They still come in hand from time to time, but at least they’re out of the way for now.

Sorting the cinder blocks in the shed.

Saving my favorite storage spot for last, here it is: we have the ladder stored off the ground, hooked above the entryway. Out from underfoot and no longer taking up space leaning against a wall, hanging the ladder has been a savior. It’s easy to access, and since it’s fiberglass, it’s really lightweight; even if I need to get it down and hoist it back up.

Hang the ladder above the door!

Any other tips for organizing your outdoor tool storage? Share them here in the comments!

Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.

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  8. Nate Becker says:

    That looks like a train wreck from to me. I believe people who do outdoor living as a hobby will be mad at you for scattering those in your garage. Do a garage sale or something.

  9. Judith Johnson says:

    With this very organized garage, I think you can even start doing other part time jobs like doing some roof restoration in Perth and make money from it. You seem like a jack of all trades to me.

  10. dale says:

    nice tips

  11. deeMOM4 says:

    save your used and cleaned sause jars..nail or screw the tops onto boards where you want them to hang them (he has them under shelfs,and cubboards..then add your screws..ect..bolts..you can view them easily..and just tighten them shut. I save them for my hubby to use in his garage (he built) and you can use them to organize crafts in the home.

  12. Joe says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing. We just bought some furniture and hired a furniture home delivery service to bring it over, because we need the extra time to clear up enough space in the house so it will fit.

  13. shirley Crane says:

    Great advice and could use thoses tips.

  14. Lisa says:

    Yep I really need to organise my garage and SOON!

  15. Tim says:

    Great article and tips.

  16. [...] out the entire tale in this week’s post on DIY Network. I think you’ll find a few good storage nuggets in [...]

  17. Ellen Gessler says:

    Great idea for garden tools & potting bench


About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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