Fifty Sheds of….Orange!


Remember 2011 and the ‘all the rage’ book before the COVID lockdown, Fifty Shades of Grey? And the spoof Twitter account ‘Fifty Sheds of Grey’, last seen in 2013? That valiant effort at making sheds sexy seems to have long since been deleted, although it’s still possible to track odd tweets with the hashtag #FiftyShedsOfGrey.

It was possibly the last time anyone attempted to ‘sex up’ sheds, which, let’s face it, are generally more seasonal than sexy.

Ah, the garden shed. Where ‘intertwined’ is about holding things together – or upright -  in a practical manner. Where ‘greasing up’ is not about body building but making engines run.  And where ‘start her up’ isn’t about whipping someone to Paris in a plane or other luxury vehicle, but about getting that two-stroke engine purring after a long winter.

(Cue bad jokes – we’ll park that there!)

The reality of the garden shed is more often a grim one.

Things bought twice, three times or more because you can’t find what you bought last year.

Climbing over things because all of the outdoor things need to be in out of the great British weather.

Wellies with nesting mice.

We could go on. But how do you turn your shed from cliché into an organised shed to be proud of - one that makes the job of looking after the garden easier?

Let easyStorage take you on a shed adventure that should titillate even the hardiest of gardeners! Pick a dry day when the weather is expected to hold, or create a temporary cover from the water with groundsheets or tarpaulins, even a tent put up temporarily. and off we go…..


1. Lay it bare!

No, we’re not suggesting naked gardening. Empty out the shed:

  • How much space do you have?
  •  Is the structure sound?
  • Are there any leaks? (If anything in the shed is rusting, take a look at why.)
  •  Does it need a coat of waterproofing, a fixed roof or floor?
  • Would a lick of paint make it look and feel fresher?
  •  Do any windows need fixing or cleaning?
  •  Have any furry friends or pests taken up residence?

Do those repairs or essential treatments now, while the shed is empty, or human nature suggests they will probably continue to be problems and the shed may eventually rot away at worst, or at very least allow water onto the things you’ve put in there to protect them from the elements creating mould or rust.


2. Clean

You may not be going to eat from your shed floor, but getting rid of damp and dirt will make you glad you did

 Don’t let anything back into the shed until it, too, is dirt free. 

Your shed doesn’t need to be a show room, but if you want to give a long life to tools and avoid pests, the cleaning is worth the effort.


3. Sort out what’s there

It’s a tried and tested formula for sorting things out: the three box/three piles method.

Start with three (big) empty boxes labelled as RUBBISH, KEEP, and RELOCATE (including give away).

RUBBISH is broken things that have never been repaired and never will, or no longer have their (counter)parts and so can no longer be used.

If there’s something that needs repairs that you are convinced WILL get done this year, by all means put it in the KEEP pile, but we strongly suggest that you give yourself a time limit to do it. If the repair isn’t done before, for example, high summer, accept that it won’t be done, and offer it up to a friend or on Freecycle/similar to someone who may be able to use it. A degree of self-awareness and honesty is required. Should it really belong in the RELOCATE pile from the start?

Get the RELOCATE/GIVE-AWAY in motion, even if it’s going to a charity shop. Don’t let it back in the shed – it may never leave again! 

And then address the KEEP pile. Group things together to flush out duplicates. It’s amazing how many balls of string, nails, ties and stakes you have when you bring them together. If things are useful and will be used, great. But if they’ve been there sine THAT book came out, be honest with yourself and pass it on, creating more space and easier access for yourself.

Don’t forget to recycle as much RUBBISH as you can.


4. Look around you

Before you put things back you’re keeping back in the shed, take a good look at how you can best use that space.

Your storage options are not just limited to floor and bench space, so before loading back in the things you’re keeping, take a look at that space.

  • Could you put pegboards on the wall?
  • Could things be hung from hooks, maybe even in bags?
  • Are there things like wheelbarrows that could safely be suspended from the ceiling?
  • Do you have any old furniture that could be repurposed for use in the shed – especially drawers or cupboards?
  • Could you use, or make, a shovel rack to hang spades, forks, hoes and the like?
  • Do you have a good stiff broom, so that having cleaned out the shed you can, at least, try to keep it clear?
  • Could you do with a coir mat at the entrance to make things welcoming at the same time as stopping mud from being trampled in?
  • If you don’t already have shelves, should you?

 Sort that space out into something usable for you before loading things back in.


5. Sort out what goes where

Try and group things together. Potting things. Plant pots, Garden tools.  Other tools like hammers and nails.

For small items, like multiple rolls of string, garden ties and labels, seeds, find something to put them in, together with similar items. From old glass jars to washing machine tablet boxes, there are things that you might otherwise throw away that could be useful if used for storage and labelled with what’s inside.

As you start to put things back, organise them according to what you most use, putting them at eye level and in easy access.

Put anything heavy at floor level to help avoid accidents.

Put covers on things that have covers, making sure that the covers as well as the items are clean and dry.

Of course, you can always go all out and create or buy beautiful storage boxes or crates and have the shed really inviting – whatever makes the shed more welcoming and works for you, your creative ability and your budget.


6. Seasonal items

Garden furniture, barbecues, lawnmowers etc are – or can be – very seasonally used.

Properly winterised, they may well be kept in the shed, but it may be better to think of self storage for those colder, damper winter months to help keep them nice.  If you do decide to keep them in the shed, things that are seasonal or rarely used can be placed in the less accessible corners or on top shelves.

But if you choose self storage, easyStorage is here to help, and probably a lot cheaper than you were expecting.

Even in the shed, there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place