(Photo by Fiora Casey, Yahoo! Homes Flickr group)A garden shed is the perfect place to store all the things you need for DIY projects, gardening or entertaining outdoors. But with limited space, a garden shed can easily become a cluttered mess. To keep yours functional, make sure it's organized and stocked with all the tools of your trade.
What you need in your shed depends on what you plan to use it for. If you're using it as …
… a DIY project area: Make sure you have plenty of space to work. Keep your crafting essentials off the floor and neatly organized by hanging them on a wall. Use a magnetic knife holder — the kind found in kitchens — to hold things like paintbrushes and scissors.
Instead of building shelves, repurpose old milk crates. Hang them on the wall and stash twine, extra tools and other odds-and-ends inside. If you don't have milk or wooden crates handy, you can purchase wire baskets for a minimal cost.
To create the perfect workspace, scour garage sales and Craigslist for used desks or tables. There's no need to buy new; you can easily customize your find with paint and stain to suit your style.
… a gardener's oasis: Whether you're planting flowers or growing vegetables and herbs, gardening requires a lot of tools. To keep your gardening equipment organized and easily accessible, hang all hand tools on a pegboard wall, like the one pictured above. Once you've put everything on the wall, trace outlines of the tools onto the pegboard using a permanent marker. (That's what Julia Child did in her kitchen with her pots and pans.) This way, you'll know exactly what goes where.
Sandy Jenney suggests on her blog, Organizing With Sandy, that you keep all chemicals and fertilizers up and out of reach of children and animals. She created a shelf using extra particle board and placed it high on the wall. She then strung a wire from either side of the shelf to keep containers from falling over.
Jenney also advises homeowners to use "every portion of the shed you are able." Hang watering cans from the ceiling, create a loft space to store unused planters, and hang baskets from the doors that can be used to stash gardening gloves.
… an outdoor entertaining spot: Instead of just storing your outdoor furniture in your shed when it's not in use, create a unique party spot in your yard. First, dress up your utilitarian shed by adding decorative touches like flower boxes, a string or two of lights and maybe even a coat of paint.
To create an entertaining space, repurpose an old table or desk by turning it into a bar and serving area, add some coolers filled with food and drinks and invite your friends and neighbors to join you. Since space is limited, set your furniture up around the front door of the shed.
If you intend to make your shed a permanent party spot, consider adding a gravel walkway from your deck and a fire pit nearby. With a little outside-the-box thinking, you can store your stuff and have a great time, too.