The sun is out and your shed needs purging. This could be a two-minute task or a two-year endeavor. Assuming you want to begin the former, this is a first step. Some owners clean their garden sheds every week. Everything is in its proper place with barely any dust anywhere. It helps if the shed is well-lit (some flat-pack sheds have optional skylights, which can be useful). The light keeps every part of the shed exposed, dirt and clutter has nowhere to hide.
You can also install shelves, storage bins, and wall hooks so your shed is in good navigating order. But first you have to fix it up. The average shed is a room where all your junk gets dumped. You probably pop the door open once a month, and only to toss something in. If you ever hear strange rattling noises coming from inside said shed, you’re unlikely to take a flashlight and explore. After all, you didn’t put anything in there that moves, so whatever it is, your instinct is to kill it with fire.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to change your shed-ding habits. Do a grand spring clean then maintain civil levels of hygiene. Set up a rule that you can’t put anything in the shed without taking something out. Also, whatever you put in has to establish and maintain a designated position. That way, all areas of your shed are accessible and visible, and you can spot any unwanted visitors before their scary scrabbling gives you a panic attack. So, where to start?
Clear a space in front of the shed. Make sure it’s completely clean and dry. You can even lay tarp on the ground. The size of the tarp depends on the contents of your shed. The idea is to take everything out of the shed. If it’s not nailed down, it’s coming out. If you want, you can lay multiple tarps and make separate piles. One pile contains stuff you want to keep. The second pile is for things to give away. The third is the trash pile. It can be a garbage bag or a trash vat rather than an open canvas / plastic sheet.
Once the shed is empty, clean it thoroughly according to its type. Sweep and vacuum to remove surface dirt. If it’s a PVC shed, you can hose it down, scrubbing the particularly dirty bits with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Concrete sheds get the same treatment, only with a harder brush. For wooden sheds, avoid using water because it can soak into the wood. Instead, wipe with a damp mop and spot clean as needed, then oil and/or polish the wood.
Whichever shed type you own, make sure it dries completely. This prevents that cold, damp smell that comes from excess moisture. Clean the windows too, in and out. If it’s daytime, go into the shed, close the door, turn out the lights, and spin around on a central spot. This will help you see any light shards seeping into the shed, indicating a crack, leak, or hole. Do the same thing at night, but this time, turn on the shed lights, close the door, go outside, and walk around the shed to see if there’s any light spilling out.
De-clutter and repair
After identifying the gaps in your shed roof, walls, or floor, repair them. Smaller cracks can be filled in with caulk. Warped wood may need to be replaced, while crumbled plaster or concrete would have to be re-applied. This could also be a good time to repaint the shed or put in some new wallpaper. Give it a whole new look. You could even install those skylights, if you don’t have them already. If you’ve had your window dressings, carpets, or floor rugs for a while, give them away and get a new set.
Now that your empty shed is pretty, spacious, and ‘new’, you can bring your stuff back in. Clean it before you do – you don’t want to drag all that dirt back in. Almost anything can be vacuumed, especially with strong suction and a brush attachment. Machine-washable and/or dishwasher-safe items can be tossed in, rinsed, and dried. Other items can be dusted or vacuumed. Storage boxes should be labelled.
Put your now-clean (and hopefully fewer) items back into the shed, keeping everything neat and orderly. To avoid having to do this again next spring, establish a pattern of cleaning your shed once a week, and break the habit of dumping stuff in it. As for the items still outside, put out the trash (hopefully you timed your spring cleaning for trash day) and drive donations to your chosen drop-off point. Then open a beer and enjoy your spotless shed.