You might not have read Marie Kondo’s book on tidying up, but you’ve probably heard about it. The fact that it became a bestseller shows that a lot of people have trouble with clutter. You don’t just wake up one day to a house full of stuff. It piles up little by little.
Books you read once and never looked at again. Gifts that you love but don’t use every day. Clothes that are out of fashion or out of season. Kids toys that they have outgrown, or have forgotten about. Hobby equipment you never got round to using. That cute little trinket you bought on a whim and now have no idea what to do with.
In a few weeks, months, or years, these little items end up stacked in the garage, stuffed under beds, or tossed in an unused room. The trouble is those spaces eventually fill up, and having so much disorganised mess in your house can affect your mood, productivity, and even your health.
The piled up property can become a hiding place for pests or a breeding ground for disease-causing organisms. It also saps your energy every time you walk into that space, and that sense of overwhelm can seep into other areas of your life.
One convenient way to deal with all that excess stuff does designate an external storage location, and a garden shed is perfect for that. Of course, choosing to use the shed and actually using the shed are two different things. If you already have a shed, inspect it thoroughly to check for ventilation, leaks, and unwanted residents like racoons, spiders or neighbourhood cats.
If you don’t have a shed, there are many suppliers that can offer you a ready-made one and will be happy to come over and install or assemble it for you. If you already know what you want to store in your shed they can recommend a customised one that suits your needs.
Next, look through the items that you want to place in the shed so that you know the kind of customisation you will need. It’s likely you’ll need to put up some shelving, wardrobes, closets, or storage racks. Ensure that the storage implements are well spaced so that there is adequate aeration and easy movement, because it’s likely that your items will stay in the shed for a long time, and you don’t want them getting rot or mildew.
Ease of access means when you need to look around and periodically dust your stored items (or check for pests), it’s easy to get around the shed. Movement is also helpful when you want to pick one of your stored items for use.
As you sort through your stored items, decide which ones you want to keep. You can use the Marie Kondo system, where you discard anything that doesn’t give you joy. Or you can make it a family activity. It would be nice if family members could vote on what they want to keep, but that would take forever and will likely cause a family feud. Instead, everyone gets to pick a set number of their favourite items and everything else must go.
Items to be discarded can be sold in a garage sale or donated to a charity. Some people prefer to use a swapping barter app, but it’s not advisable because you’re trying to get rid of stuff, not accumulate more.
Now that you know what’s going in the shed, set up the right kind of storage. You can install some bookshelves and clothes racks. This will make it easier to retrieve a particular book or item of clothing when you need it. If you don’t want that extra expense, put your books and clothes in old cardboard boxes and label them clearly with categories like textbooks, novels, winter clothes, baby clothes and so on. You can even sort clothes by colour, period, or style.
Some types of equipment need specific storage units. If you’re putting away sporting goods that you no longer use, you have to consider their size and volume. Weights should be on the floor, preferably in a corner so that they don’t accidentally hurt someone. Bulky items like bikes, surfboards need to be out of the way too, as do wheeled items like skateboards and rollerblades.
Designate separate areas of the shed for different categories of stuff. Sports paraphernalia can go at the back to avoid accidents, while clothes can be closer to doors and windows to avoid mildew. If you’re stacking your stuff in boxes, books should be in lower boxes at ground level and clothes boxes can be placed on top of your books.