6 steps to tackle a shed full of stuff

pile of furniture
image courtesy berkeley.edu

To get this blog kickstarted I asked the Space and Time Facebook followers to give me their thoughts on tackling a shed full of stuff. Both Dianne and Penny agreed that “the thought of opening the shed/garage door is too scary.”

Tongue in cheek, Suzanne suggested there is an easy way to clear out the shed: “Get rid of The owner of the junk… sorry Julie Cliff my only solution.”

Karen also said she is about to tackle this job and she “ would love tips on choosing what to keep and how to organise it and how not to get overwhelmed. It’s definitely  more than a 1 day job… so how do we keep momentum and do it in a way that’s easy to come back too?”

I’m going to list the 6 steps in the Space and Time Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © to get you kick-started on your shed decluttering journey so that it’s not so scary and you can keep the momentum going until the job is done.

1 Stuff:
    • Firstly, it’s important to understand where the stuff in your shed is coming from so you can stem the source of the problem now.
    • You will have more success getting it organised if you make it clear to yourself and those around you that you are making an effort to bring less stuff into the shed.
    • Start to think about the shed as the storage area rather than a dumping area.
2. You:
    • If you have a shed full of stuff your clean up will probably be a long term plan. Get the diary out and pick a collection of dates to tackle the job.
    • Keep in mind the stuff took time to build up, so it may take some time to declutter.
    • When the selected date and time arrives, set yourself a time limit and get started.
    • Choose one shelf, one box or one drawer.
    • Don’t get too carried away by trying to achieve too much in one go.
    • Allocate time at the end of your session for packing up
3. Sorting:
    • Put like items in a group/box/tub from the area you are working on.
    • Keep moving through all the items in the space in which you have started working.
    • It’s amazing how a natural flow starts to happen as you start this sorting process.

On Facebook, Nadeen shared how she is in the process of decluttering a storage unit. She said each item “gets sorted into either 1. storage in plastic boxes in the attic 2. a place in the house or 3. charity or the tip. I think it also helps that I have been sorting through rooms in the rest of the house to find room for all the stuff! It is taking ages but I’m motivated now because I’m sick of paying for the storage unit”.

Mrs Secondhand4. Things you no longer need (decluttering):
    • Pick up each item and make a conscious decision if you are going to keep it or not. Some of the ideas in Letting go of Kids’ Keepsakes may help you make a decision as the principles of letting go are the same no matter the item.
    • If time is limited get rid of the items you have a definite opinion on and come back to the others at another allocated time to review.
    • Put a time limit on how long you will keep unused items. Merriel says “If you haven’t used it in a year get rid of it”
    • In an attempt to keep less stuff you can decide to only keep the collection of items eg sports equipment, that fit in a particular box/tub OR get a bigger box if you must keep them all.
    • Before we pack all the items we are keeping into storage, pack up any other tools you used in the process (zip lock bags, rubber bands, boxes, tubs).
    • Perhaps Mrs Secondhand will take stuff off your hands that you no longer need.
5. Easy storage
    • Cardboard boxes or plastic tubs you already have at home will be fine. But if you feel the need to purchase matching storage items, it should suit your budget, easy to use and easy to repeat 
    • This is the best time to go out and buy storage tubs etc because you know what you want to keep and you can buy exactly the right size .
    • Return the newly sorted and stored items to their permanent home,
6. Maintenance:
  • Be diligent and return items their permanent home after each use!
  • Use labels or outlines of tools etc to remind yourself where items should go.
  • Periodically review the 6 steps in the Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © to keep things in order. Perhaps spend some time each summer holidays sorting out the shed to keep it functioning well.

Tackling a large job can be overwhelming. I designed the Space and Time Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © as a step by step process to be followed to keep the momentum moving forward and to combat the overwhelm. Let me know the steps you’ve used to get your job done in the comments below.

Contact me here if you need hands on help tackling your shed or follow me on Facebook for more decluttering ideas and advice.