Cleaning all of the tools before storing them for the winter prevents damage.

How to Organize the Garden Shed for Winter

by Shelley Frost

All of the planting, weeding and harvesting during gardening season often creates a mess of dirty tools and partially used supplies in the garden shed. It's tempting to leave the shed until next spring, but you'll appreciate the organized garden tools and supplies when you're ready for planting again. The cleanup also keeps your tools in shape so they don't rust or become damaged. Before you hang up your gardening gloves for the season, take the time to clean and organize the storage area.

Clear out all of the items on the floor or counters in the garden shed. Moving them out of the space allows you to better inspect, sort and organize the contents of your shed.

Wipe off the counters and shelves inside she shed to knock down any loose potting soil or other items. Sweep out all of the loose dirt and debris from the space. A clean shed allows you to safely store your tools and other gardening supplies.

Clean off all of your gardening tools before placing them back in the shed. Spray off any dirt on the tools. Use a wire brush if needed to remove dirt that is stuck on the tools. Dry the tools to prevent rusting. File the edges of shovels and hoes if necessary for a sharp edge. Oil the metal tools with motor oil to prevent rust.

Get rid of old, broken items or expired gardening supplies. Read the dates on seeds and other items that may be too old to use next spring. Toss empty containers of gardening supplies.

Sort the remaining gardening supplies that will go back into the shed. Put similar items together in piles, such as hand gardening tools, long-handled tools, seeds, pesticides and potting soil.

Choose a spot for each type of gardening items. Place items you'll need right away next spring so they are easily accessible. For example, you'll need your spade or rototiller to work the soil at the beginning of the season, so you want those items out in the open where you can reach them.

Add organizing tools as necessary. Hang long-handled gardening tools on the wall from hooks or between two nails pounded into the wall. Hang hand tools from a pegboard on the wall. Install shelves on the walls for smaller items, such as seeds or spray bottles. Place potting soil and other bagged supplies on a pallet or low shelf to keep them off the ground, where moisture or pests could get into them.

Add labels to gardening supplies that aren't in their original packaging. For example, label a jar you use to hold seeds or a container full of string. You won't have to dig through every container next spring when you're starting your garden if everything is labeled.

Items you will need

  • Broom
  • Wire brush
  • File
  • Oil
  • Organizers
  • Labels


  • Put all potentially dangerous supplies, such as pesticides and fertilizers, on a high shelf if your child has access to the garden shed. Locking the garden shed is another safety option so your little one doesn't get to the chemicals or sharp tools inside.

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images