Spring Cleaning for my Dysfunctional Garden Cabinet


ARudcI wish I had this garden shed. I wish I had the type of yard that could handle it. Maybe. Probably not, really. Most likely that much yard would overwhelm me with the to-do list.

What I have instead is a garden closet, custom made for me by my brother when he was learning woodworking. He did an excellent job creating an outdoor cabinet that would fit onto a small space available on my deck. At the time he made the cabinet, I wasn’t doing extensive gardening and didn’t have many tools other than the basics.

As I’ve begun gardening in a big way over the past two years, I’ve accumulated many more tools. With each addition, I just crammed it in as I could, and the cabinet became as dysfunctional as Ally McBeal.

So after digging out lawn grass for an hour in the slowly expanding sun-bed in the front yard and planting some roses, I decided that the gorgeous weather today warranted a spring cleaning. While the tile was being grouted on my new kitchen backsplash, I spent the day outdoors.

First, I pulled everything out of the cabinet, and cleaned it all with the water hose.

The small tools and junk that filled the shelves on the left side of the cabinet.

The small tools and junk that filled the shelves on the left side of the cabinet.

The larger tools and more junk that filled the right side of the cabinet to overflowing.

The larger tools and more junk that filled the right side of the cabinet to overflowing.

Then I took the water hose to the inside of the cabinet, mainly to get rid of all the dirt dobber nests inside (hate those things, especially after getting bitten so many times last year).

See those mud-nests inside there? How much fun was it to get attacked by stinging terrorists everytime I opened that d**m cabinet!

See those mud-nests inside there? How much fun was it to get attacked by stinging terrorists everytime I opened that d**m cabinet!

I sorted through the junk, threw away what needed to be tossed, added some things to my quickly growing garage sale pile, and determined what needed to happen for the remainder to be functional again.

Bizarre pieces of junk were found

Bizarre pieces of junk were found

Pulling out my wonderful pink power tools, I added hooks for many of the tools to hang off the floor and stay in place. Then I reorganized the entire cabinet, moving a shelf, and making it functional once again (my favorite word…functional). It holds a lot to be less than 3′ wide!

I can actually find things now. And I don't get stung. Much less cussing occurs.

I can actually find things now. And I don't get stung. Much less cussing occurs.

I realized that I needed a small tool bucket to carry my most used favorites around with me in the yard, instead of losing them, leaving them somewhere, and walking all over the garden and house to find something else that I need. I found the perfect container in the kitchen; a housecleaning caddy! It fits into the narrow shelves in the cabinet perfectly, and is nice and lightweight. And best of all, it was free.

My favorite gloves, my knee pad, my favorite trowel and my Leatherman MultiTool get the most use, but I've also thrown in tape for wandering vines, yard scissors, a screwdriver and there's room for my water bottle, too.

My favorite gloves, my knee pad, my favorite trowel and my Leatherman MultiTool get the most use, but I've also thrown in tape for wandering vines, yard scissors, a screwdriver and there's room for my water bottle, too.

I even found a string of wonderful outdoor lights that I had forgotten about. Now to figure out where to put them in the yard.

love the silver with the Texas star

love the silver with the Texas star

The cabinet is now organized, clean and a wasp-free zone. I love spring cleaning!

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18 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning for my Dysfunctional Garden Cabinet

  1. It’s great that you have a designated spot for your gardening stuff. I think I’m going to clean out the shed in the backyard; it’s half full of junk that my husband refuses to throw away. It would be functional if I can get it organized!

  2. When I saw that first shed I was green with envy but your outdoor closet is pretty nice too especially once it was cleaned up and sorted out. I wonder if you will keep it that way? When I clean out my potting shed it is only 5 minutes before it is back in its messy state again and as for keeping those tools in the little bag my son bought me forget it. I have at least 6 little garden forks and I’ll bet you I can only find one of them- in the bag! Of course my h would say I’m not known for my tidiness.

  3. Jenny, I’m pretty good about keeping things where they go, with occasional lapses that need tidying. Over time, it will get cluttered up again and then I’ll do another spring cleaning. Probably be good to do each spring anyway, to clean out the wasps.

  4. Robin, I really like that garden closet! We have a garage closet that has held various things over the years … only this year did I realize that it was crying out to become my garden “shed”. I moved stuff into it a couple of months ago but I still need to organize it properly. To do that, though, I first need to put out all the yard art, birdhouses, fence decor, etc. that I took down during Ike. And to do that, I have to decide where it should go now. Maybe that will be today’s garden activity. I was just thinking yesterday how much more functional that closet would be if it were properly organized!

  5. How fun to reward your hard work with putting out yard art! I always feel like a fun thing for a reward is a must after a not-so-fun project, don’t you?

  6. I simply adore that shed! Wish I had one. But what you have for your garden tools, I am really liking that for its function, small use of space, and it’s just so cute!
    Brenda

  7. I like the idea of the caddy. I need to do that. I miss my old garden shed though. Nowadays my garden stuff is scattered around the garage and the deck. Time to get organized!

  8. Pam, I actually considered “borrowing” a photo of your shed for my top picture! I love your old shed, and I’m sure you must miss it terribly, not only for the charm of it, but its amazing functionality. Until then, caddies can help!

  9. Nice! I love your little closet– it’s remarkable how much you can fit in there. I want a toolbelt instead of a caddy, since I’m just that ADD. I actually have duplicate trowels, one for the front and one for the back, since I can’t be trusted to remember where I put them (they’re plastic, so if they stay outside, it’s fine). I just need to find a cheap tool belt somewhere where I can fit my trowel, pruners, water bottle, gloves, some Kleenex, and some of that stretchy green tape. A girl can dream.

    And yeah, you know just how badly I need to clean out my own shed. ;D

  10. Lori, a toolbelt sounds like just the thing for you, then! I’ll bet Lowe’s might have one (they seem to have things designed more for women than Home Depot does). I wanted to be able to carry the knee pad with me, so the belt wouldn’t work (I tried one already). It’s Spring Cleaning time, isn’t it?

  11. Pam, I would never use one of your pics without your permission! What I meant was that I thought of your shed, and thought about asking for a picture to use, but realized the humorous intent of my post would be missed by someone who recognized it from your blog and then became confused. An anonymous design worked much better. I did put the author’s credits on the photo I posted, but for some reason I can’t make it appear on the post. It’s in my html, but not showing up.

  12. Robin, I know you wouldn’t use a photo without asking permission. I was trying to be jokey in my reply, and I’m sorry if I sounded concerned. Again, thanks for the compliment of liking my old shed that much that you thought of it while writing this post. Cheers! :-)

  13. Robin – Love the new shed remodel! You did a great job and I can’t believe how much you fit in there. Now, would you come over and clean out the tools and supplies left in my greenhouse now that the plants are all gone? I keep meaning to do it, but …. Planting is so much more fun!

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