As October rolls around, I find myself having to accept the reality that winter is coming. While there may be a day or two of mild temperatures remaining, the trend is definitely away from gardening season. If you have a yard or garden, you might also be facing the need to clear out, clean up, and otherwise prepare for the cold months ahead. The natural question, therefore, is how to store lawn and garden tools for winter?
The answer to this question will vary a bit based on your particular circumstances. For instance:
- How big is your outdoor area?
- Do you have a garage and/or shed?
- Do you have a garden?
- Do you take care of a lawn?
- Do you arrange flowers?
- How many supplies do you have?
To get the job done, I suggest you take the following four steps:
1. COMPLETE OUTDOOR TASKS
Now is the time to complete any outdoor tasks with your tools before you start packing your them away. Tear out and, if possible, compost any plants that won’t survive the winter months. Seed, treat, and trim your lawn and shrubs. Harvest remaining crops. Plant spring bulbs. Consider this your chance to use your tools “one last time,” and then you will be ready to put them to bed for the winter.
2. SORT YOUR SUPPLIES
Sort your tools into categories:
- Machines (e.g., lawnmowers, weed whackers, trimmers, tillers, leaf blowers, etc.)
- Large tools (e.g., rakes, shovels, brooms, ladders, mattoks, seed spreaders, picks, etc.)
- Hand tools (trowels, shovels, bulb planters, pruning shears, etc.)
- Pots and containers
- Bulk supplies (e.g., fertilizer, grass seed, potting soil, etc.)
- Hoses & nozzles
- “Garments” (e.g., gloves, goggles, aprons, knee pads, etc.)
- Fuels (e.g., gas, oil, etc.)
- Garden structures (e.g., stakes, fencing, cages, trellises, etc.)
- Décor (e.g., pillows, lanterns, garden decorations, etc.)
Grouping items together is very helpful because items within a category often have similar storage needs. We don’t want to store tiny items in the same place as large ones.
3. CLEAN BEFORE STORING
The next step is to give a quick clean to anything that is dirty. Shake off dust, brush off stuck on dirt, wipe off and screw lids tightly onto containers, rinse out pots and containers, and perhaps oil small tools. By doing this bit of work now, you are making it more pleasant to get started next spring. Additionally, it is simply easier to store things that are not dirty.
4. SELECT AND LOAD STORAGE LOCATIONS
Consider what storage options are available to you and decide which category of items you will store where. Some items require indoor storage, while others may be able to be stored outside. For instance:
- Hang tall but relatively flat items along a wall
- Nest and stack containers on a shelf or in a cabinet
- Tuck small items into clear, lidded, labeled storage containers
- Place loose bulk supplies into large buckets with lids
- Hang gloves, garments, and small items from hooks on a pegboard
- Set hand tools upside down in a bucket of sand
- “Park” machines in a corner of a garage or in a shed
- Hang hoses and extension cords on a wall
- Secure garden structures to a fence with bungee cords
- Cover outdoor garden features and furniture with water-repellant covers
- Put temperature insensitive items in a weather-resistant outdoor bin
Here are a few products that might come in handy if you lack structure for storing supplies:
If you want to try a more DIY approach, here are a few photos to inspire you.
Want some more ideas for organizing your garage and/or shed? Head over to my Pinterest page.
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Do you “winterize” your lawn and gardening supplies? What’s your best storage trick?