Clean Your Shed

By Kristen Castillo

September 5, 2014 4 min read

Cleaning out the shed may seem boring or too big of a job, but it has to be done. At some point, you need to rid yourself of old cans of paint, last year's rose fertilizer and all the tools for the household projects you swore you'd tackle. Whether your storage area is a standalone shed or your home's garage, the junk piles up.

According to The Lehigh Group Home Safety and Security survey of 1,000 American adults, 70 percent keep potentially dangerous equipment such as saws and power tools in the garage, while nearly 60 percent have flammable liquids -- gas, oil, propane and kerosene -- and pesticides in their storage space.

Defining Your Shed's Purpose

Most often, sheds are simply for storing things like lawn mowers, pruning sheers and other gardening tools. But these spaces can have other uses, too.

"Sheds can also store dog food for your pets in tightly sealed? containers," says Elizabeth Dodson ?of? HomeZada, an online and mobile software application that tracks home improvement projects, maintenance calendar checklists, home inventory and home finances.

Consider how you want to use your shed, and then start prepping the area for a clean transformation. Do you want your shed to be a place for hobbies like painting or woodworking? Do you plan to use the space for seeding and other garden prep?

"If? you want to turn your shed into a new living space such as a playroom, an ?artist den or a workshop, you may need to remove everything, find a new home ?for everything, and put a little paint or elbow grease into getting ?the shed clean enough that small children or adults can spend large amounts? of time in the shed," says Dodson.

Getting Started

Before you start sorting out the contents of the shed, make four piles: save, trash, recycle, donate. Knowing where to place everything will help you get the cleanup done faster.

Get rid of old paint, cleaners and other chemicals that haven't been used in a while and won't be used soon. But don't trash these items -- they need to be recycled. Check with your local recycling centers to see what's accepted and when.

"If you have rusted materials like? saws or cutters, these will need to be cleaned to prevent injury and risk of? disease to the user of these tools, but also to give the tools the ability to? work properly," says Dodson, who explains that you can remove the rust with white vinegar and a steel-wool brush.

In addition to recycling and throwing out trash, be sure to donate items you don't need or want to a worthy charity such as the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity, which accepts donations of building materials, furniture and appliances.

Sort Your Stuff

Sweep and wash the floor of the cleaned-out shed. Then start setting up your space.

Once you know what you're keeping, organize your stuff into categories such as "lawn and garden," "automotive" and "sports equipment."

Place chemicals like fertilizers, car oil and spray paint up high and out of the reach of kids and pets.

To keep your floors clutter-free, and consider storing items vertically on shelves, pegboards and overhead systems, recommends The Lehigh Group, which is a home improvements product supplier. Strong wall hooks can hold your tools, including rakes and shovels. Mesh storage hanging from the wall can hold lighter items you don't know what to do with, such as toys.

Figure out how you want to handle the storage of sports equipment in the shed. Install shelves to corral balls, gloves and helmets. Hang surfboards, bikes and hockey sticks using hooks and hangers that are strong enough to hold and protect your gear.

Make sure your shed has sturdy locks so all your stuff will be safe and ready to use.

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