“Stick it in the shed” was often the response I used to share with my husband when we didn’t know where to store something. Whether it was a box of business receipts, an old bike or leftover roll of carpet that’s where they used to go; down the garden and into our small wooden shed. ‘Useful bits of wood’ and things that we planned to sell were also regular tenants. Not to mention the huge array of things that ‘might come in useful one day’. However, despite our deluded belief that we owned a Tardis, the day came when nothing else would fit. Not only that but when we actually needed something, we couldn’t find it. In the end, the day came when we had to bite the bullet and have a clear out. So, how did we get on? Drum-roll please…
It wasn’t that bad!
Yes, it was hard work. Yes, it took us the best part of a weekend but YES, WE DID IT! And, what’s more, it was worth it! Now, it gives me great satisfaction to open the door and instantly find what I am looking for. We learnt a few things along the way which I have narrowed down into six tips to help you sort out your shed:
1. Empty your shed
Don’t be daunted! Empty it all out. (Make sure the weather forecast is good, in advance, to avoid rain) Not only does this enable you to see what’s there but it ensures your commitment to the job in hand.
2. Sort contents into four piles.
As you empty, try and sort as you go. Make four piles: Keep, Recycle, Donate and Bin
This stage of the clear-out can involve some difficult decisions. After all, the contents of your shed were put in there for a reason. So, it’s helpful to set some criteria for each pile.
You may decide to only keep things that you have used in the last year. Or, decide to get rid of all the things that you have intended to mend (but 5 years later, still haven’t got around to dealing with). Within the ‘keep’ pile, group similar items together into separate categories. I.e. put all the gardening tools together or paint pots into a separate pile.
Nowadays, more and more things can be recycled. Just because something is broken, doesn’t mean it has to go in the bin. If you’re in any doubt about an object, there is a great website here: https://www.recyclenow.com/ It has a tool which, once you’ve keyed in your item, will give you a list of options available to you. Also, most council tips have a recycling centre attached making it easy to responsibly dispose of unwanted stuff in an environmentally friendly way.
Maybe your shed already has stuff that you planned to take to charity but never got around to taking. Perhaps there are a few things you planned to sell, but again, never found time. My suggestion would be to group them all together. Then, while they are spread out on the grass, take a photo of each item with your phone and download the Gone for Good App The reason for this will become apparent in number 6.
When you’ve taken photos, box or bag up everything that you plan to donate to charity.
After sorting out your keep, recycle & donate piles, you will finally be left with a selection of stuff for the bin. Either put it in the boot of your car to take to the tip or put it aside for dustbin day.
Give everything a good wipe down. Sweep the floor, clear out the cobwebs and while you’re at it, check your shed for repairs.
4. Arrange storage
Once you’ve got a clean, empty shed, now is the time to see how you can maximise the storage. This could be extra hooks for hanging up tools, shelves to stack up boxes or plastic boxes to keep items clean. Looking at what you need to put back, will help you visualise what storage methods will be the most useful.
5. Rearrange what’s left
This is pretty self-explanatory. If you are storing stuff in boxes or tubs don’t forget to attach clear labels so that it’s easy to see what’s inside.
6. Download the Gone for Good App
Once the stuff to keep is back in the shed and the stuff to recycle and take to the tip is in the boot of your car, all that is left are items for charity. This is where the Gone for Good App comes in handy!
Gone for Good is a smartphone app which makes giving preloved items to charity easy. With a few taps of your screen and up to 3 photos (that you took in step 2), you can arrange free collection of your donation, to a charity of your choice.
You can download it here: