Get your garden sheds ready for the fall ahead

After a season of long, luxurious days in the garden, fall is around the corner. With the crisper weather come shorter days, more rain and the need to find good homes for all the gardening accoutrements you have been using over the last few months. As our lives contract and condense after a season of indoor/outdoor living, it is important to think ahead about where all that stuff is going to go!SORTING THROUGHThink first about what general covered spaces are available to you for this purpose. Consider all of them (garage, sheds, spaces under porches, etc.) - not just the ones you have used for gardening paraphernalia in the past. If you are using several different spaces, you should consider consolidating it all to one designated destination. As always with organization, start with a big categorical "sort." Pick a nice, sunny day and take everything you can find that is related to the garden and to plant-related activities (that includes the lawn and outdoor balconies, decks, patios, too), and put it all in one place. Good sorting places include a large, clear space in the carport, a few tarps' worth of square footage on your lawn, or the driveway. Wherever you do this, make sure the lighting is good and that you can see everything at once. A dim basement or shed will not do. Now that you have everything in one place, further sort these items by one or more of the following categories: *Type of item - tools, seeds, bulbs, flowerpots, fertilizers, gadgets (e.g. sprinkler heads), etc.*Purpose - potting (this would include pots, potting soil, potting-specific fertilizers, trowel, gloves), lawn maintenance (including hoses, rakes, mowers, hedge trimmers, lopers, lime, edgers, etc.), in-ground garden maintenance (including shovels, clod breakers, bulb boosters like bone-meal) and other purposes you may have.*Season when things get used - spring (shovels for garden turnover, fertilizers, seeds), summer (pruners, weeders, trimmers) and fall (rakes, wood chipper, lopers).SCALING DOWNThe next step is to evaluate your needs for each type of item and toss duplicates or excessive multiples. We all buy seedlings in cheap, plastic cartons or pots, but that doesn't mean you have to save those. Think about how often you actually do re-pot plants and about what kinds of pots you would like to see them in. Most of those cheap cartons won't make the cut. A "free" pile at your curb might relieve you of some of the extra gardening stuff. Remember that these are inexpensive to buy, and you will be happier with the ones you choose, not the ones that "chose" you.After scaling down to just the amount you want and need, it's time to find a storage home for everything. Ideally, you will want it all in one place, but splitting it up into logical subcategories stored in separate places is not the end of the world. Do an eye scan for the amount of cubic space you will need. Then allot 15 to 30 percent extra for mobility, visibility and a few extra additions. Consider storage options that will let you use space right up to the ceiling, or at least to a comfortable reaching height. Put items you use most often in the places that are easiest to reach. If you use bins for multiple like items, label the bins.Consider hanging devices like tiered baskets for small items and hanging hooks for tools. Keep in mind that while some garden equipment will fare fine in moist or wet conditions, others will rust (metal tools) or be ruined by water (like dry fertilizers in bags). If your basement or shed is prone to flooding, make sure these items are not on or near the floor. Happy gardening! Keep your thumbs green and your storage spaces clean!Leah Stahlsmith, a Phinney Ridge resident, works with Savvy Solutions Organizing.[[In-content Ad]]