Spring-Cleaning the Garage and Outdoors
Carve Out Storage Space
If the only thing that fits in your garage is your cars, spring-cleaning time could not have come too soon. Clear out the clutter and establish some designated spaces. You'll enjoy your new and improved layout for seasons to come. First, set up a recycling station and a spare pantry. Bins for plastic, metal, and glass containers, plus a wire basket for newspapers (with bundling twine) sit on a mobile platform. The pantry is actually a metal office cabinet. We attached a clipboard to the door with magnets for keeping an inventory of pantry supplies.
This central support post not only holds up the garage, but it also handles two bicycles, thanks to the hefty steel hooks we mounted to both sides. If there isn't a free post in your garage, you could consider ceiling-mount hooks.
Sit 'n' Stow
Is your garage strewn with various sporting equipment? Try this solution: A painted pine storage chest provides a convenient perch for removing muddy boots. We added three metal bins to the inside to keep sporting equipment organized, either by season or by family member.
A hammer and nails are easy to find if everything is kept in its place. Create that place by marking the outlines of tools on a garage wall or above your workbench. First hang your tools, and carefully trace around them lightly in pencil. Then remove the tools, and go over the pencil lines using more visible markers. We used black marker, but paint pens also work well.
Rust-Free Tool Box
Battle rust-causing moisture with this surprising tool kit addition: charcoal briquettes. These barbecue staples absorb dampness, common in garages and basements, where tools are often stored. The briquettes tend to shed dust, however, so place them in a fabric bag before adding them to your box of tools.
Clean Your Outdoor Floors
A gleaming deck or patio is a delight. But it's not surprising if, after years of constant exposure, it begins to look a bit worn and stained. Whether yours is made of wood, brick, stone, concrete, or composite, routine maintenance and an occasional cleaning will ensure it always looks as good as new.
Streamline your round of gardening chores by sorting debris as you go. Throw biodegradable waste into a wheelbarrow, ready to dump on the compost heap when you're finished. Keep other yard trash -- labels, broken pots, and rocks, for example -- separate in a bucket hung over the barrow's edge with a large S hook.
Service the Wheelbarrow
Wheelbarrows and carts are the workhorses of the garden, hauling soil, mulch, plants, and debris over all kinds of terrain. But when tires deflate and axles seize up, you shoulder too much of the burden. A grease gun is designed to apply lubricant deep into an axle's bearings. Keep one filled with lithium grease in your toolshed; every two to three months, fit the gun's nozzle over the grommet in the axle, and pump a few squirts of grease into the works. Wipe off any old grease that squirts out of the axle. (This gun will also keep lawn-mower axles moving smoothly.) Store a bicycle pump near the wheelbarrow, so you can maintain pressure in the tires, which will cushion even the heaviest loads
Pour boiling water on weeds growing between pavers of a pathway. Keep the kettle close to the ground to avoid splashing yourself -- or any nearby plants you want to keep.
Clean Terra Cotta Pots
Terra-cotta pots need to be properly cared for so they'll last year after year. Disinfect pots to rid them of soil residue that may carry disease harmful to new plantings, especially to vulnerable seedlings. Scrub the insides and outsides of your pots with plain room temperature water and a stiff brush (we used a bottle-cleaning brush) to get rid of soil that could harbor insects or disease. To prevent buildup of dangerous and unwanted mold, let pots dry completely before stacking and storing.
Garage and Shed Organizing Ideas
The garage and shed are seldom given as much organizational thought their counterparts indoors. They are also prime spaces to dump items to leave for future sorting. Setting up strategic organized areas can keep them helpful and streamlined through the seasons.