Shed storage solutions - for free!

Posted on Friday, December 30th, 2011

As the Christmas festivities recede and the poor weather and dark evenings deter all but the keenest gardener, many of us will turn our attentions to the shed. In particularly to sort out the debris left over from last year’s activities.

If you’re anything like me, the autumnal ‘big push’ to sort out the garden has provided me with a shed strewn with garden implements, old labels, pots needing washing, odd bits of string (well, they might come in useful!) and no end of other bits and pieces.

While I’d love to have a wide range of stylish storage solutions to help me keep the place tidy, it’s a bit difficult to justify the expense for mud encrusted bulbs, chewed pencils and blunted penknives. So this year I’ve thought hard to come up with some free (or almost free) ways to organise your shed…

Biscuit/cracker tins

Perfect for storing seeds; you can even use a strip of cardboard (eg from a cereal box) and glue it into the box as a divider so you can have flower seeds one side and veg seeds the other.

Shoe boxes

Dark but air permeable (add a few holes with a metal skewer if they’re too solid to allow much air flow), these are great for storing bulbs, eg summer bulbs which are waiting for spring planting. They aren’t rodent-proof though, so you might still want to store the boxes in a cupboard or on a high shelf to protect them.

Plastic veg boxes

Supermarkets often package delicate vegetables (such as mushrooms) in relatively deep plastic boxes. These can be very useful as storage boxes, particularly for plant labels, string and seed packets, plus they stack up together neatly for when you’re not using them.

Milk/margarine cartons

Plastic cartons of the type used for milk or margarine are often cut out for cheap plant labels. But you can also use them as a free way of creating useful labels for your shed – in the hope that other shed-users will take the hint and put things away in the right place! Cut out a label sized to fit the edge of your shelf and use a couple of small tacks to nail it in place. Then create your label with a permanent marker (or a plant label pen).

Poles or rails

Ceiling space is often neglected when organising a shed, but it can be put to good use. However, you do need to either have a high ceiling or find a bit of it that you won’t need to walk under (eg over where you store the compost bags). Using a old broom handle or wardrobe rail, set up your own hanging rail from the ceiling (if you don’t have proper rail fixings you can screw a metal ‘eye’ into the ceiling then fix the rail to it using cable ties). Get some S hooks (you may have to buy these, but they’re readily available at most DIY stores and garden centres) and get hanging! Plenty of things can be hung from the rail to get them out of the way, such as bags of perlite/vermiculite, bundles of pea sticks, garden clothing, kneeling pads, garden sieves and light plant supports.

Old jars

Last but not least comes this old favourite! Great for storing pens, dibbers, plant ties, fixings, bits of twine, plant labels, and more. If you don’t have any shelf space left for them, try nailing the lids to the underside of shelves so that the jars will ‘hang’ underneath.

I hope you’ll find a helpful idea here to get organised for the new year. Now all I need to do is stop procrastinating and go to sort out my own shed…but maybe I’ll have just one more mince pie first…