Getting ready for spring can be an exciting, but daunting task. Cleaning the house, making room in the closet for new clothes and in the fridge for the fresh fruits and vegetables of the season are all necessary purges. But what about the garden? HGTV organizing and design expert Jill Pollack reminds us that organizing your garden tools is just as important as prepping any other part of your house for spring.
“Gardening can be a dirty business, so it’s best to know where everything is before you make your mess,” said Pollack, of organizing the garage, shed, or wherever gardeners keep their tools. “It depends on your space. Is it in the elements? Is it big enough for you to have standing access to it? Is it strictly for gardening or other outdoor tools and equipment? Work with the space you have.”
In order to do that, Pollack recommends maximizing your area to the best of your ability, including finding more than one use or purpose per tool. Garbage pails, metal buckets and utility bars can be used to hold rakes, shovels and other tall equipment, but can also double as storage when you store soil or rake leaves.
“Store dirt and soil in anything that will hold it well. Avoid using glass for anything because it is moist and you don’t want to drop anything and risk it breaking,” said Pollack. “I love hooks, so anything I can hang on a hook works for me. Command hooks, metal racks and peg boards are also great because you can place so many things on one wall and have that field of vision for accessibility.”
Pollack also recommends hiding the hose in a container or storage item that keeps the hose together. Smaller hand tools like spades and hoes can be stored in small pot holder to act like a caddy. Over the door shoe racks can also hold gardening gloves and other tools, seed packets, sprinkler heads and plant food scoops. There’s also always a way to get creative.
“PVC pipes can be used to store slimmer tools and to create shelving. People also put up wooden or metal shelves to maximize wall storage,” said Pollack, who has seen DIY planters in old tires and beach towels that aren’t so cute for the beach anymore as clean up rags. “You can also keep magazines, photos of garden inspiration and even Pinterest pins that you printed out to hang up in the space as well.”
As for getting cute and colorful, there are a million and one ways to do so. Bed Bath & Beyond, HomeGoods and Target as well as the local craft store has several options for labeling your tools and seeds. Chalkboard paint is popular for the rustic farmhouse look, but paint pens, crayons and colored pencils also work well.
“If it matches and there’s a uniformity to it, absolutely color code everything to make it easier on yourself,” said Pollack of making finding what you need simple and fast if it’s by color. “You can use Tupperware with different colored lids. Green for plant food, blue for seeds, orange for garbage bags and ties, etc. It also makes the space look nice with a pop of color.”
So before you get out into the garden this spring, take some time to focus spring cleaning the place where your garden needs live. You’ll find that it’s a space you may want to spend time in after your seeds are planted.