Reclaiming your dumping ground

We all have a dumping ground in the house: some are fortunate enough to have a spare room in which to deposit all the odds and ends they tend to forget about. While for many others, including myself, the shed is the perfect place to abandon excess tools and gadgets, as well as old bits of furniture and possessions which you can’t bring yourself to dispose of. But now is the time to act. The days are longer and the weather is nicer (for now). So whether it’s that extra room which you maybe should be turned into something more practical, or an outdoor shed where all of your home and garden tools have gone to be forgotten, it’s time to sort out the mess and reclaim some order in your life.

Sort it out

If you can barely open the door to your shed, or get from one end to the other, this is a sure sign that the space needs clearing out. It’s easy to neglect outdoor areas, especially if you don’t use your shed often, but now that spring is here you might fancy spending more time out of the house.

Divide the items in the shed into sections, such as tools, toys and things to throw away. If there are objects you’ve been planning to mend for years, it’s unlikely you’ll fix them now that they’re old and rusty, so it’s probably a good idea to get rid of broken or useless items altogether. For the meantime, keep the sorted goods in boxes while you tackle the rest of the space.

Clean it up

Once you’ve removed everything from that future nursery or, better yet, a new secret man cave, it’s time to get stuck into cleaning the area. Dust away cobwebs and wash down grubby surfaces and walls, as well as giving any windows a good clean. Go nuts with that vacuum and if necessary, give the room a lick of fresh paint. If all goes to plan, the room will be unrecognisable!

Organise it

The next step is to work out how you will keep everything in your shed organised now that it’s clean and you’ve removed any lingering junk. It’s a good idea to invest in racks or shelves (or both) for the space, and there are plenty of budget shed storage solutions to choose from if you don’t want to shell out too much.

Wall racks are ideal space savers for things like tools, bicycles and gardening equipment, freeing up floor space, while you can also invest in secure storage boxes if you want to keep more valuable items in your shed.

Use it

Now that you have a clean-cut new room at your disposal, fill it with the things you need. Whether it’s a shiny new plasma TV, leather sofa and mini-fridge close, or, under instruction of the missus, a new crib for the prospective pitter-patter of little feet, always remember that a dumping ground in the house only leads to bad habits.

For many people, the shed has become an extension of their home, and you might want to use the space as something more than simply a place to store work tools. Consider using the area for hobbies, or perhaps as a home office, in which case you might want to add a desk or worktop as well as shelves.

If you have a large shed, you could install a work bench or even fill an entire wall with shelves and racks, or split the area into zones, so you have one end to use for storage and the other end as somewhere you can work or relax in at the end of the day. A comfy beanbag, a table football set or a portable stereo can all make the shed more homely for use by you or other members of your household, such as the kids when they return home from school and want a bit of time out.

Alternatively, you might decide to make the shed a place for pets, especially if you have small animals like rabbits or guinea pigs. Keeping pets in a shed means anyone with allergies won’t be too near and it’s a kind substitute to keeping them outdoors where they would be vulnerable to the elements.

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