Your challenge this week is to declutter and organize the outdoor storage and garden storage areas in and around your home.
The reason this week's challenge is important is because your front porch and yard is the first place visitors and the public see when they see your home. Therefore, this area creates an impression of your house, as a whole.
Further, if you're blessed with additional space, such as a backyard or garden areas, deck, patio, and/or pool, these are often places we spend quality time together as a family.
Your family (and you) deserve to have nice, decluttered and organized outdoor areas to do activities in, and to relax in.
Doing the steps below will help you achieve these objectives and further enjoy your outdoor spaces.
Are you new here? The Organize Outdoor & Garden Storage Areas Challenge is part of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren't already a regular reader).
The first step in this week's challenge is to declutter all of your home's outdoor and garden storage areas.
This includes any parts of your garage where you store any of this outdoor equipment, supplies and tools, as well as outdoor storage sheds, bins or buildings. (You don't have to declutter the whole garage now though, since we'll tackle that area in full in Week #35 of the Organized Home Challenge.)
Further, if you've got a deck, patio and/or pool area, take a walk around these areas, looking with a critical eye, and getting rid of any clutter both in the areas, and also in any storage places underneath.
Here are some of the types of items you should get rid of:
You can also look at the full list of decluttering missions I have for this area of your home.
Fiskars garden bucket
caddy available on Amazon
The second step of the Organize Outdoor & Garden Storage Areas Challenge tackles the organization of our garden storage sheds and garage spaces.
Once you've winnowed down your lawn and garden equipment, tools and supplies to what you actually use, and want to keep, it's time to organize it so you can get to what you want and need easily.
tool rack on Amazon
For instance, keep hand tools together, in either a bucket or basket with a handle, that you can carry around with you, to use throughout your yard or garden as needed (such as in the picture to the right).
Larger, long handled equipment such as rakes, shovels, hoes, etc. can be stored on the wall or in a tool rack such as the one shown on the left.
Further, make sure all power equipment, such as mowers, snowblowers, etc. are placed in a location where they are easy to get in and out, since these are typically bulky and heavy pieces.
Keep in mind that, ideally, these will even be easy to get to when you've got your car in the garage so you don't have to move it to access this equipment.
Finally, make sure, for safety reasons, that all heavy supplies, such as large bags of mulch or soil, for example, are stored low to the ground, such as on lower shelves. This reduces the dangers if they fall, and also protects your health so you're not trying to pick something up that is very heavy from a high spot.
Suncast 50 gallon deck storage box, available
on Amazon.com, [click here to purchase]
The third step in the Organize Outdoor and Garden Storage Areas Challenge we're tackling the areas of the outdoors where we often entertain guests and relax with family and friends -- the deck, patio and/or pool areas.
These areas should have a lot of open space for people to sit and stand and do different activities in, so decluttering is key.
Further, you've got to consider what types of equipment and supplies you need and want in these areas, and make sure you have a space to hold everything.
Examples of the types of things you may want to keep in these spaces include outdoor or yard toys for the kids, barbecuing equipment, and a place to hold patio furniture cushions.
Basically, think of the activities you do in these spaces and keep things handy that you use often when doing those activities.
Of course, there's not always a convenient place to put these items on your patio, deck or poolside, so one of my favorite types of storage solution for all three of these areas are deck or patio boxes and bins, such as the one you see above, to the right.
There is quite a variety of outdoor storage benches, sheds and deck boxes available, many of which can also serve as seating for family and guests, thereby serving a dual purpose.
Make sure to choose a size that works well for the types of items you plan to store in them.
A word of caution though: While deck and patio boxes can be very handy, they have the danger to become an unorganized dumping ground. To avoid this problem you need to reorganize them and evaluate their contents periodically to make sure you're actually accessing and using everything you place into such storage areas.
Lifetime outdoor storage shed, available
on Amazon.com, [click here to purchase]
Finally, once you've organized these other outdoor areas, the fourth step in this week's Challenge is to organize are any outdoor storage sheds, bins and/or buildings you may have in your backyard or property.
Much like the outdoor storage benches and deck boxes I mentioned above, these outdoor storage sheds can either be a great storage and organization boon, or a no man's land for junk that really should just be decluttered and removed from your home.
The bigger the storage unit, the more you've got to consider how to organize it properly. In some of the really large storage sheds, such as the one pictured above on the left from Lifetime, you may want to consider adding shelving, and other storage solutions within it to make sure you can access everything you place in there relatively easily.
A good rule of thumb is that the more often you use something the less time it should take you to access it within the storage unit.
Further, if possible, try not to have anything so wedged in there, or so far crammed in the back that you can only access it by having to move stuff around for more than a few minutes, at most. If it's that buried under other stuff I guarantee you'll never get it out again, and you might as well have decluttered it and freed up the extra space.
I would love to know how this week's Organize Outdoor & Garden Storage Areas Challenge is going. You can tell me your progress or give me more ideas for how you've organized the items you've got outside or for use in your garden in the comments below.
I also would love to see before and after pictures of your organized backyards, patios, decks, pools, and/or gardening sheds, once you've completed the challenge. Submit your pictures (up to four per submission) and blog posts and get featured in the Creative Storage Solutions Hall of Fame. You've worked hard to get organized, so now here's your chance to show off!
We're working on our homes slowly, one area at a time, so don't get too distracted from the Organize Outdoor & Garden Storage Areas Challenge this week.
However, I know some of you love to know what's coming next, so I'll tell you. Next week we'll organize the basement.
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I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!