9 REAL LIFE Shed Organization Ideas

by Becky
Published: Updated:

When we built our garden shed this summer, I did a ton of research on shed organization ideas. The goal was to optimize productivity by making it uncluttered, clean, safe, and organized. After a few months of use, I can confidently say we accomplished that goal.  It’s a real life organized and useful shed for our family.

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We grow a lot of food and work in the garden often so we needed a place to organize all the tools, gloves, and supplies we had. It is still clean and beautiful but more importantly, functional. It’s my hope that this gives you some ideas you can implement in your own space. 

Here are some real life shed organization ideas.

#1 Hang tools on hooks

Hanging tools with hooks is a practical shed organization idea because it keeps everything up off the floor, clearly visible and easy to access. This seems like a simple concept but not all hooks and multipurpose tool racks work as they should!

Shed tool storage

Hook Designs and Tool Racks to Avoid

The best way to hang the hooks is so the tools do not overlap at all. In a previous home we bought a tool storage rack that did not adjust. We hung the tools in a line, with each handle on a hook. We ran into a problem when we needed to get a tool.

The handles all fit, but the shovel or the rake portion of the tool would overlap the next tool over. Consequently, we would need to move a couple tools out of the way to get to one we needed.

Not only that, but we had a multipurpose tool organization rack that used hooks which hung sideways. It is the worst design ever, in my opinion. Our experience was that tools were constantly dropping to the ground anytime we breathed on the rack. Ok, I’m exaggerating  but trust me when I say to avoid this design 🙂 

Our old garage rack looked a lot like the one below.

This is what you DON’T want!

Hooks and Tool Racks that WORK

If you want to keep your storage organized and efficient, take the time to custom hang each hook with the tool in place so you can space it out. If done correctly, the tools will not overlap and you won’t need to move anything out of the way to access a tool.

Options for hanging hooks properly include placing a piece of wood placed horizontally on the wall, then screwing it into the studs. Then have all the hooks attached to it to create a personalized multipurpose rack.

shed tool storage

The other option is to use anchor screws. When the right type of anchor screws are used the hooks hold a substantial amount of weight and are sturdy.

The hooks we personally used can be found HERE. These hooks are strong and make it easy to remove tools for use and putting them back is effortless. Also, the source for hooks linked above is significantly more inexpensive than what you can find in brick and mortar stores (at the time of writing this).

#2 Use peg boards

A peg board is a great way to hang small tools so they are visible and accessible. Usually, peg boards and the hooks that fit them are sold separately. 

shed organization ideas

You can add hooks of all sizes and shapes that fit specific tools. I bought several packs of peg board hooks HERE

Before we hung the peg board on the wall, Cam added wood spacers so the pegs hooks could hang properly.

I think if it were up to me to hang it on the wall, I would have forgotten this step and realized after the fact I messed up, haha. 

#3 Create an easy to clean floor

While this may not be directly in the realm of shed organization ideas, it is vital to keeping a clean and useful space. Much of what I did in our current shed comes from real life experience and learning from my mistakes, the floor is one example.

Most shed floors are made of plywood, concrete, or chipboard. Our previous shed had plywood. Even though it can be swept clean, it is subject to moisture and spills. 

Any oil spills or leaks from equipment, leaky gas cans, or any number of chemicals found in a shed can stain a floor, become sticky, stain the boots that walk on it, become a dust and dirt magnet, and create an aroma that never leaves. 

A priority for us was to have a floor that prevented this from happening. That meant covering the plywood with an impermeable surface. 

There are a few options for this, we personally decided on a vinyl mat marketed as garage flooring. It came as a roll. It is heavy and durable. So far we are happy with it! We found it HERE.

If you have a concrete floor, it can be coated with epoxy or a similar product to make it easy to clean.

#4 Add shelves

I know this is a no brainer in terms of shed organization ideas but sometimes vertical space is very underutilized. Especially if you have a small space! 

Shelves and items on the shelves should be easy to access. Heavy items are placed lower to the ground and lighter items high up. 

Shelving units can be repurposed bookshelves or custom made.

You can add labels to shelf fronts to ensure everything is put back into proper place so it can be found easily. Sheds are generally subject to lots of temperature and humidity change, so a paper or sticker label likely will not last long. 

See #6 for more ideas on labeling. 

#5 Utilize overhead space

If you have a tall ceiling, then overhead space can be utilized for storage. Since it’s often difficult to access easily, this space should be reserved for lesser used items.

There are all kinds of racks and ready made options available for purchase online and in stores. I have no experience using one of those, so I can’t recommend anything. We always made our own out of  2×4’s or similar added from top of wall to top of wall, then we placed a sheet of plywood on top. 

overhead space shed organization ideas

In an overhead space, keeping items in bins keeps it organized and easy to pull down. This is the system we used in our garage years ago. 

Honestly, we don’t store stuff like this in our shed. Instead of putting stuff above, we use the overhead storage space in the shed for curing vegetables as they come out of the garden. We cured our onions and garlic on racks and window screens placed on the rafters above.

#6 Make it clear where tools belong

One of my favorite labeling methods for a space subject to lots of temperature and humidity change, is using chalkboard paint and chalkboard marker. We painted our peg board with chalkboard paint and I outlined where each tool went as I hung them up.

It is my favorite thing about the shed! I love that I can easily see if a small tool is missing from its spot. And even a person who had never walked into our shed before could know exactly where that tool went.

The chalkboard marker can be washed off and removed if I want to rearrange the tools and add something new.

shed organization ideas

Aside from that, I thought about also outlining my large tools in a similar fashion. But I didn’t want to paint a whole wall with expensive chalkboard paint.

I mentioned this when I made a Youtube video about how we built our shed and organized it and I got a few good ideas in the comments so I will share them with you here!

  1. Put a color tape on each tool and the same on the hook.
  2. Take a photo of each wall. Print it and laminate it. Put the photo on each section.
  3. Write the name of each tool underneath the hook.

I haven’t implemented any of these yet, but I personally loved the colored tape idea! As long as the tape stays on, I think it would be great.

#7 Use Storage Bins

While this may be another obvious shed organization idea, it is often a critical need! We use storage bins for our garden gloves, irrigation supplies, and as a trash can! 

We got three metal trash cans with lids to store all our items. I wanted something with a lid so that mice and spiders were less likely to make a home in the items. 

storage bins shed organization ideas

The trash bins work well for storage and are placed under the counter top so they don’t get tripped over on the floor. I hope to place them up on a shelf beneath the counter top soon, so the space can be utilized better.

Stackable storage is also an option but it adds time because you need to remove anything stacked before accessing items in the lower bins. Storing bins only one bin high on shelves is more efficient.

#8 Get Rid of Unnecessary Items

One of the best ways to organize a shed is to not have too much stuff! If you don’t use it, donate or sell it. It’s much easier to keep a space tidy and organized when it’s not loaded to the brim.

I know figuring out what to get rid of is easier said than done. My rule of thumb is if I haven’t used it in over a year, it needs to go. 

I read a book recently about how having excess stuff can affect our mental health in a negative way.  I totally believe this to be true and even though I’m so far away from the gold standard of minimal stuff and maximum happiness. 

There is no judgment coming from here, just do your best.  If it’s not serving you or bringing you joy each time you use or see it, get rid of it!   

#9 Keep the floor as empty and open as possible

Placing too many items on the floor is the nemesis of an organized space. Say for example, I were to place my small tractor in front of my tool wall, every time I were to access a tool, I would need to move that tractor out of the way.

Or the other option if my tractor was in front of the tool wall is I could reach over the tractor and fumble and possibly fall in my effort to retrieve a tool. Both options are inefficient and one is hazardous. 

A better idea is to create a space that is not crowded. I realize for some there are budget constraints, so a huge shed to house and hang every tool isn’t an option, or you need to work with an existing building. 

shed storage ideas

Even if this is the case, I highly recommend keeping items on the floor to a bare minimum. We used to have a small shed and the floor was so crowded with items that I literally had to empty half the shed just to pull out the lawn mower! I felt frustrated every time I needed something.

We ended up donating and selling unnecessary items, then setting up shelving so I could utilize my small shed properly.

Obviously heavy equipment with wheels should stay on the floor. However, almost everything else could be cleared and hanging on walls, sitting on vertical shelves, or in easy to access bins. 

Conclusion- 9 Real Life Shed Organization Ideas

Organizing a shed can be more difficult than it seems. However, I hope after implementing some of the shed organization ideas on this list, it helps to save time and be able to find tools and other items quickly and easily.

I have a full video on how we built and organized the shed below. 

YouTube video

Here is a recap of all the ideas:

  1. Hang tools on hooks
  2. Use peg boards
  3. Create easy to clean floors
  4. Add shelves
  5. Utilize overhead space
  6. Make it clear where tools belong
  7. Use storage bins
  8. Get rid of unnecessary items
  9. Keep the floor as empty and open as possible

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Erin December 16, 2023 - 12:41 am

This comment is related to your most recent youtube video since I don’t prefer to make comments on Youtube.

I just wanted to tell you our experience with letting chickens free range in our orchard. What we found is that the chickens were devoted to leaving no shred of mulch unturned. They scattered every piece of mulch as far as they could. And they also loved to scratch/ make dust baths in the soft ground right at the base of the trees roots where the mulch was supposed to be. Over time, they developed huge dust wallows throughout the orchard. The ground became lumpy and bumpy and very difficult to mow. If you want to use chickens in your orchard I would recommend keeping them in the chicken tractors where you can control their movements.

We just moved this summer, and won’t be letting the chickens into the new orchard

theseasonalhomestead December 17, 2023 - 5:59 am

Hi Erin. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with me! I’m getting mixed reviews on having chickens in the orchard, both positive and negative experiences. I think we are still going to give it a shot but at least now I know what to watch for. We do have tractors we can move into there if things get out of hand. The tractors would still allow the chickens to fertilize but I was hoping to have them free range in there to reduce some of the bug pressure. The other option is we can switch out chickens for turkeys. The turkeys won’t scratch the ground as much. Lots of options! It will be an interesting experiment.

Nat December 16, 2023 - 2:13 pm

Orchards definitely benefit from letting the chickens run beneath the trees. They will eradicate fruit fly and lots of other nasties but you will struggle to keep mulch around your trees as they will constantly dig it up and kick it around. I have learned to live with this as they will stop the ground from compacting and keep it well weeded and fertilised. A happy compromise maybe to add some internal fencing and have quadrants. So you can level the soil and fix up the mulch in between rotations of the chickens but it will involve using a movable chicken tractor as a night house or having one fixed night house per quadrant .

theseasonalhomestead December 17, 2023 - 6:07 am

I like that idea!


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