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New Year – New Approach! Annie has been on at me to write another one of these blogs. Well as I’m stuck inside because of the bad weather I thought I’d tell you about how I sorted out my shed.

Now if there is one thing a man should have in his life it is a shed. That is an undeniable law of the universe, whether you are a gardener, hobbyist or just want that “quiet time” away from Annie – oops I mean away from people! Now some folk do seem to get carried away when it comes to sheds. You may have seen in the press, reports of “Beach Huts” selling for in excess of £70,000 plus, at Southwold on the Suffolk coast. Beach huts my Astelia! For sure they are nothing more than big sheds! Though I must admit my friend Hugh has one and we have a great time with friends and family when we visit.

My shed is far more humble than those at Southwold, but never the less I feel somewhat special. I inherited it from the previous owners of my home. They had used it as a playhouse for their young children and indeed I have never quite got around to taking down the curtains in the window. Which is probably just as well as the spiders have made themselves right at home.  However I have repainted it a more conservative green colour rather than having the electric blue that was there previously. This little oasis of calm is often referred to as “The Doghouse” usually when I’m taking refuge having allegedly committed some misdemeanour or other!

Now I think I must have been born “untidy” I’m one of those unfortunate chaps that just has to walk into a room for it suddenly to appear a mess. I’ve grappled with the concepts of tidiness and now have an O’level in taking off my gardening boots before entering the house (even though I still have the problem of whilst standing on one leg, I lose my balance and have to put my bootless foot down on the garden step and end up with wet socks on a rainy day)

My theory was that as I was tidy in the house I could express my natural untidiness in my shed. To be fair I did this over quite a long period of time, in fact up until last month. That’s when I opened the shed door to find that I couldn’t actually get in the shed because of the  assorted garden machinery and implements that blocked my way. Even worse when I did get in I put a dirty great muddy footprint all over  my Spalding Plant and Bulb mail order catalogue that had somehow fallen on the floor.  Something had to change, usually I’d just get another catalogue but the new one wasn’t due out for a few weeks. So I decided to take the drastic action of tidying the shed!

Now of course taking such drastic action takes a lot of thought and preparation. You can’t just start, why if you did that you’d finish! No it takes a lot of “thinking time” and several mugs of tea – and a toasted tea cake if I’m lucky. I’d read an article in the Daily Telegraph that suggested Executives waste up to six weeks a year searching for lost items and that clutter destroys motivation. I have put a link to the report at the bottom of this article. This is where I first read about “functional zones” The principle here is that everything relating to a certain function is kept within the same area.  Common sense really but the more I thought about it the more I realised I could use the idea for sorting out my shed. I also took inspiration from watching one of these professional organisers on You Tube. Here I discovered Alejandra Costello. What a lady – though I’d hate to be her husband, she is so organised, I’d never get away with anything! I have also put her details at the end of the blog. I do recommend you have a look at her videos.

ShedWell the shed is now done. It took a full day. It was a case of taking everything out, sorting through and throwing out the rubbish. One of my bad habits is to keep old compost bags to collect up grass cuttings and garden waste to take down the local refuge tip. – after all, you never know when you might need them.  Unfortunately I had 23 bags! Not only that, but they aren’t even wide enough to be able to take my grass cuttings direct from my lawnmower collection basket. So I end up with grass cuttings all over the lawn! So now I have thrown all but a few away and invested in some wider bags for the job. This is both neater in the shed and time saving in the garden.

I have always envied Monty Don on Gardeners World when I see him in his potting shed with a magnificent array of garden tools hung on the wall. He must have about 8 garden trowels all neatly hanging together and gleaming like new. On clearing out the shed I was amazed that I also have several garden trowels that I’d long forgotten about. So I gathered them all together, cleaned them up and stored them all together on a shelf of an old cane corner pot stand. Next shelf down I stored my various sets of gardening gloves.

When you think about it, us gardeners can end up spending quite a few bob on garden tools, more than we realise. So it is important we look after them properly. I was quite embarrassed to find a number of tools where I had bought replacements having thought I’d lost the original – only to discover it in the shed during my clear out.

So I’m now ready for the new gardening season, confident that I know where everything is, which will mean more time gardening and less time looking for things. Mind you that doesn’t mean I shan’t be in my shed, in fact I can hear Annie coming, so I’m off there now – out of the way!


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