Green Up Your Act! Getting Your Gardening Zone in Shape

Spring always seems to lead the charge when it comes to getting things in order. Maybe the inspiration comes from opening windows long closed against winter’s chill and feeling the sunshine flood in; maybe it’s hearing the robins’ song as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. Regardless, a true spring clean is never confined to just the inside of your home. It extends outside as you clear debris out of garden beds, cut back dead growth, and generally give the outside of your house the same facelift you gave the inside a few weeks back.

Getting your gardening gear in order makes all the difference to the success of your project. Whether you have a shed or a simply a dedicated area in your garage, here are a few tips to whip your green thumb zone into submission.

One of the most useful organizational tools for a gardening area is a bulletin board. Here’s where you hang your calendar of events: what you planted, when you fertilized, what’s coming up in your veggie garden, what tasks are ahead. You can also use it to tack up labelled envelopes for used seed packets, plant info stakes, or receipts for plantings that come from stores with a 12-month survival policy (like Home Depot). Having a simple gardening HQ keeps you on top of your home’s curb appeal.


A ready-when-you-are garden carryall is a real timesaver. Anything with a handle is perfect for this--a basket or even an old-style milk delivery crate will do the trick. Stock it with gardening gloves, clippers, weeder, knee pads, and any other tools you always like to have close by. You may be surprised how much quicker it is now to weed the petunia bed!

Keeping as much off the floor as possible is key, so designate a hanging area for shovels, rakes, and hoes, and a few shelves with containers for smaller items. If you have space on the wall or the back of a door, a compartmentalized cloth shoe rack works well to store full seed packets, gardening stakes and twist ties, and smaller hand tools. Keep hoses and extension cords for power tools well coiled with Velcro straps.

At a certain age a potting station (which can be as simple as two sawhorses with a piece of wood or counter across them and a lattice against the wall) is the only civilized way to work on your planters and window boxes. It also provides storage underneath for soil, compost, and fertilizer. These large bags are best stored off the floor either in oversized plastic tubs or on a shelf. If you use chemicals in your garden, you might consider a locked box or high cabinet to ensure curious children can’t get at them.

Because soil is an integral part of the equation whenever you are talking gardening, your shed or garage gardening area is going to--you guessed it--attract dirt. Keep a small broom and dustpan on hand in this area to keep dust, dirt, and cobwebs at bay.


Any project you tackle, inside or out, is always easier when the required tools are organized, visible, and easy to access. It’s amazing how much easier it is to head out to the garden when you don’t have to spend fifteen minutes searching for those elusive clippers. Give your green zone the same love you show the inside of your house and get paid back every day with a healthy, thriving garden.

Happy Organizing!

Garage Overhaul: Making Room for Your Car in Its Natural Habitat

It wasn’t that long ago that we lived in a world where garages were pretty much dedicated to one thing: parking our cars. These days, however, only 30% of Americans park in the garage. Of course, some people transform their garages into an extension of the house by creating a gym or a work space. But many of us are guilty of the same thing: using the garage to store years of clutter that forces our vehicles out into the cold.

Garages are magnets for “stuff.” Their wide open spaces are easily filled by outgrown sports equipment, oversize suitcases, or that fill-in-the-blank you’re going to refinish “one day.” You know how it goes once it starts--the pile just grows from there.

To get started on your overhaul, just do the same thing you do with every organizing project (even if you want to reach for the anxiety meds the second you think about tackling it): take a deep breath, break it into bite-sized pieces, and dive in.



Start by sorting your stuff into the regular piles--keep, trash, recycle, donate--and then have a garage sale or charity pick-up to reduce the clutter. If you have a lot to get rid of, Bagster (a heavy-duty dumpster-in-a-bag that you fill and they dispose of) is a great solution. Sort the keeper items into categories--sports, garden, decorations, etc.--and put them in clear stacking boxes with lids. Make sure any paint you may have out there finds a new home inside; garage temps are too variable to safely store paint. Same goes for pet food, which attracts mice and should be corralled in the house.



The best way to tackle your garage is to start with a clean slate, because visualization is key. Once you have the clutter quieted down, draw a chalk outline on the floor of how much space you need for your car with the doors/hatch open. Then you can start planning for storage. Using vertical and ceiling space is critical in a garage project. You want shelves and hooks wherever you can use them. Can you fit shelves in front of your car? How about on the side? How much clearance do you have above the garage door? Map it out so you know what you need.


If you’re planning on painting, now is the time to break out the roller when the clutter is gone and the shelving isn’t yet installed. White is the least distracting color, but you can paint the walls orange and the ceiling turquoise if you want to; there’s no rule that the garage has to be drab and grey. If you’re really going swank, you can also epoxy the floor. Something like Quikrete Epoxy Garage Floor Coating will make sure your floor resists oil drips and that it wipes clean like a kitchen counter. It may even inspire you to ask people to remove their shoes before they walk into your garage!



Think carefully about how you’re going to divide the space. Pay attention to that chalk outline for your parking requirements since that’s the reason you’re undergoing this whole exercise. Then ponder how else you want to use the area. Crafting? Storage? Working out? A workbench and tool zone? Thanks to automatic door openers, the vast majority of us now enter and leave our homes through the garage, so think about what can be adjusted around that entryway to make it more useful. Coat/backpack hooks at kid level? Shoe storage? Maybe you want to paint the back of the door or spruce up that zone a little if guests enter your home with you through the garage.


Use high shelves for seasonal decorations, tools you rarely use, luggage, and memorabilia. If you store cleaning supplies in the garage, you’ll want a wall area reserved for a hanging system for brooms and mops along with some shelves for cleaners and spray bottles. Pegboard can be used for lighter items; it’s easy to hang, you can paint it to provide a pop of color on an otherwise plain wall, and it can be easily cut to size to fit any space. Use track shelves for heavier items and affix the tracks to wall studs. Your ceiling is a great zone for large flat items, gardening implements, and ladders. (Just make sure to avoid a face palm moment by checking and then obsessively double checking that you haven’t interfered with operating the garage door.) Reserve the easily accessed eye-level shelves for anything in high rotation in your family’s lives.

And now...the moment you’ve been waiting for. Drum roll, please! Start your car and pull it into its new home. Then sit back and wait for the envious neighbors to arrive in droves.

Happy Organizing!