An outdoor shed is an ideal location to store all sorts of tools that would otherwise be stuffed in the garage. But like the garage, a shed can quickly become unruly if there is no plan in place to maintain order. The best way to avoid creating a mess is to practice the old principle of ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place‘.
Workable Storage Solutions
Keeping any storage area in tip-top shape starts by coming up with workable storage solutions. The term ‘workable’ is key here. There are plenty of storage options that might work well in the basement or garage but simply are not doable in a shed. There is no point in implementing them because they will just drive you crazy.
This post will cover 20 tool storage ideas for your shed, ideas that will help you store like a champ. Every idea you can implement is another step toward preventing your shed from becoming a victim of disorganized chaos. Along the way, you might even come up with storage ideas I haven’t thought of.
Make Strategic Use of Shelves
You are going to want to make maximum use of empty wall space. However, a lot of what you need to store will require shelves. So this is where you have to start. The goal is to make strategic use of shelves in such a way as to accommodate storage bins, jars, etc. – while using the available space judiciously enough to leave room for hanging things.
With that said, the first few tool storage ideas for your shed revolve around different types of shelving:
1. Repurposed Shelves
If you are like most homeowners, you probably have a wood or metal bookshelf you no longer use. It is just taking up space in the attic. Well, take it out to the shed. It doesn’t have to be beautiful; it just has to be functional. Repurposing an old shelf frees up room in the house and gives you a starting place for storage without costing you a dime.
The thing to remember is this: attach the shelf to the wall. Anchor it with a couple of screws or bolts. Whatever you do, don’t let it remain unsecured. Otherwise it could fall on you at some point down the road.
2. Floating Shelves
If you’re into building your own, try your hand at floating shelves. You can make them as large or small as you need them to be. Floating shelves are an excellent option for capturing dead space over windows and doors. They are also a good option for storing tools and other materials above a workbench. You can make floating shelves with fairly inexpensive pine or particle board. You don’t have to spend a fortune buying oak or cedar. Alternatively, you could purchase them inexpensively from somewhere such as Amazon (click here for a great selection).
3. Adjustable Shelving
Adjustable shelving could be the ticket if you are the kind of person who changes things up on a regular basis. A typical adjustable package consists of several vertical tongue-and-groove pieces that attach directly to the wall. Along the length of each piece there are slots into which you can insert the horizontal pieces. This arrangement lets you determine the height of each individual shelf.
4. Rolling Shelves
Another option is to get your hands on a rolling shelf or two (here at Amazon). Look for a standalone shelf with heavy-duty casters and wheel locks. Made from metal, a rolling shelf can be a handy piece of kit for potted plants, your watering can, unused bags of potting soil, etc. The wheels make it easy enough to roll the shelf out and directly to wherever you are working that day.
Maximizing Shelf Space
Once you have your shelving options in place it is time to maximize the storage space they offer. Indeed, there isn’t much point in coming up with great tool storage ideas for your shed if you’re not going to make the most of limited space. When it comes to shelving, it’s all about finding the best ways to store whatever it is you are storing.
5. Plastic Tubs and Baskets
Plastic tubs and baskets are ideal for small hand tools, fasteners, garden hose parts, spray cans, and the like. They are also cheap. Go to any DIY home improvement store and you will find just what you’re looking for. You can also find them at online at places such as Amazon (click here), big-box department stores, dollar stores, and even lawn and garden centers.
You might want to look for stackable tubs or baskets when you shop. Stacking makes it easier to maximize all of the space on a given shelf. Stack a couple of baskets on top of one another and you eliminate that dead space between shelves.
6. Old Wooden Crates
Maybe plastic isn’t your thing. Perhaps you would prefer something older, something a bit more classic. For that I suggest old wooden crates. You can find them at thrift shops and flea markets. Wooden crates are sturdy storage receptacles that provide a uniform option for maximizing shelves.
With any luck, you’ll be able to find crates with the original printing still intact. You will not only have a storage option, but you’ll also have a piece of Americana. You can turn your shed into your own private museum with the right crates.
7. Jars from the Kitchen
How many jars does your family throw in the recycling bin every week? If you’re looking to maximize storage space in your shed, stop doing it. The companies that supply you with peanut butter, jelly, relish, and pickles are also giving you free storage receptacles. Use them.
Glass and plastic jars are perfect for storing all of your fasteners. Use one jar for each size of nail and screw you keep. Use the jars for plastic ties, wire caps, staples, hinges, and anything else you can think of. The nice thing about this storage solution is that most jars are transparent. This means no labels are required.
Along the same lines, used mason jars work well for storing paintbrushes and rollers. Mason jars tend to be bigger, so you can get paintbrush handles in them easier.
8. Metal and Plastic Buckets
That last time you did a drywall job at home, did you throw the mud bucket away? If so, that’s a shame. Buckets can be used as storage receptacles in your shed. A plastic bucket is perfect for your garden hose. Just put one end of the hose in and start winding it around. It only takes seconds to get your hose put away completely. And when it’s time to take it back out, you won’t have to fight with it.
Plastic and metal buckets make great receptacles for brooms and larger hand tools as well. Your garden shears and manual hedge trimmers will slide right in without issue. And if you got extra potting soil and no bag to put it in, a bucket does the job.
Utilizing Wall Space
Not everything you need to store in your shed will fit on shelves or in buckets. You are going to have to utilize wall space at some point. That is not a problem because there are a lot of creative ways to hang things from the wall. You just have to be comfortable with hooks, screws, etc.
9. Install a Pegboard
Pegboard has been around for decades. It is a very versatile product that works equally well in any storage environment. If you are looking for creative tool storage ideas for your shed, it is really difficult to ignore pegboard. When you buy your pegboard, be sure to buy the hooks too.
The best thing about pegboard is its versatility. Every hole in the board represents a place to hang a hook. As such, there are an unlimited number of configurations. You can use pegboard to hang just about anything. Hang your edge trimmer, your rakes, your handsaw, and so on. Different size hooks can accommodate virtually anything.
(Click here for a selection of pegboards and pegboard hooks at Amazon.)
10. Install a Slat Wall
A slat wall is similar to pegboard in principle. The difference is that it utilizes slats and specialized hooks rather than holes. Some people prefer slat walls because they can handle a bit more weight than pegboard. Others prefer them because they like the look. It doesn’t matter either way.
11. Hang Magnetic Strips
It is a safe bet that a lot of the tools in your toolbox are metal. Think screwdrivers, files, etc. You can get these tools out of the box for easier access by installing magnetic strips on the wall. Just find some open space and attach a wood block between two studs. Then screw the magnetic strip to the block. Now you can hang your tools with the power of magnetization.
Magnetic strips go a long way toward organizing tools by size. Imagine being able to find just the right screwdriver at a glance. Imagine not having to dig through your entire toolbox looking for one file. Anything metal – from wrenches to knives – is a candidate for magnetic strips.
12. Install a Screwdriver Rack
Whoever thought of the screwdriver rack deserves a trophy. This handy little tool is nothing more than a block of wood with large holes drilled through. Different sized holes accommodate different sizes of screwdrivers. You can install one for your flat heads and another for your Phillips head screwdrivers. Or use one for both. It is entirely up to you.
13. Get a Few Tool Hangers
Few things are as frustrating as long-handled yard tools leaning against the wall. They get in the way; they fall down; they attract spiders. What’s the solution? Specialized tool hangers designed for long-handled items. You can find them at virtually any DIY store.
The hangers generally consist of two arms to support a shovel, rake, hoe, etc. Some are attached to the wall independently while others are part of a multi-hanger system supported by a rail. Either way, you can install one in minutes.
14. Hang Your Wheelbarrow
The wheelbarrow is one of the most awkward pieces of garden equipment – at least from a storage standpoint. It also takes up a tremendous amount of valuable space if you leave it on the floor. So what to do? Hang it on the wall.
You can buy a ready-made hook you screw to the wall on two sides. You can also buy a hook and rail system that is fairly easy to use. Yet none of those expensive options are required. There are plenty of ways to hang up your wheelbarrow with a fastener you already own.
Do you have a few plumbing hooks lying around? Screw them into a couple of studs at a level that is approximately waist high. Now you can hang up your wheelbarrow – wheel down and facing in – by resting the edge of the bucket on the plumbing hooks. Done and done.
Another idea is to install two wooden cleats. One cleat for the top, the other for the bottom. Then just slide the upper and lower rims of the wheelbarrow into the cleats and you’re done.
15. Hang Your Bicycles
If the shed is where you store your bicycles, save space by getting the bikes off the floor. Utility hooks will do the trick. You can hang the hooks from a metal or wooden rail attached to the wall. You hang a bike by raising it vertically and then attaching the hook to the front wheel. Let gravity hold the bike against the wall and you’ll discover that the wheel won’t rotate.
Some people like to preserve wall space by hanging bikes from the ceiling. That works too. All you need is some rope and hooks. Cut the rope to length, tie a hook to the end of it, and now you can hang your bicycles by the wheels or frames.
Think Outside the Box
All of the ideas you have read thus far are pretty standard for tool storage. Now it’s time to think outside the box. This last section of great tool storage ideas for your shed involves doing things that might be a bit unusual. Some might even be unorthodox. But guess what? They all work.
16. A Pallet for Garden Tools
Earlier you read about addressing those long-handled yard tools by installing specialized hooks. If you can get your hands on an old wooden pallet, you can create a different kind of storage solution that doesn’t cost a dime. Best of all, it is one of the simplest ideas ever.
Just turn the pallet on its side and attach it to the wall. You instantly have storage slots for your rakes, shovels, brooms, and more. For shorter tools like pickaxes and awls, just cut away the top section of the pallet. For those smaller hand tools, use screws or hooks mounted to the front face of the pallet.
17. A DVD Spool for Your Extension Cords
Do you burn a lot of DVDs or CDs? If so, what do you do with your empty spools? Well, they make a great storage solution in the shed. Mount a spool to the wall and you have an instant hook for your extension cords. All you need is a spool and a screw.
The DVD spool offers a secret benefit a lot of people don’t know about. Rather than winding an extension cord around your arm – which only serves to create a twisted and jumbled mess – lay it on the floor to start with. Now, grab one end and hold it on the spool. With your other hand, loop the cord around and over the spool. Keep looping until the whole thing is hung. You’ll find that it doesn’t twist or kink.
A DVD spool can also accommodate your garden hose. You get the same benefit of an out-of-the-way storage space that keeps your hose from twisting and tangling.
18. Pie Tins and Paper Plates
Sometimes you have to store things that just don’t fit any of your other solutions. We are thinking circular saw blades, sanding discs, and the like. Rather than just throwing them on a shelf and hoping for the best, make yourself a customized storage solution with old pie tins or paper plates.
You can cut either one in half and mount it to a piece of plywood. This creates a nice pocket perfect for your saw blades and sanding pads. Pie tins will last a bit longer than paper plates, but thick, corrugated paper still works in a pinch.
19. Meat Packages for Your Seeds
Supermarkets are in the habit of packaging meat in rectangular plastic tubs. Those tubs make great storage receptacles after you clean them out. They are perfect for packets of seeds. Place the packets in as if you were putting files in a file cabinet. The plastic storage tub makes it easy for you to browse through your collection to find just the right seed.
As a side note, photo albums are another good idea for seed storage. You slide the seed packets into the plastic inserts. This keeps the packets separate but visible. The only downside is that you now have to find a suitable way to store the photo albums.
20. Don’t Forget the Doors
Your typical backyard shed offers limited storage space by design. Thus, your goal is to take advantage of every inch you have. Knowing that, don’t forget the doors. They offer you plenty of untapped space just waiting to be used.
Any of the storage solutions discussed for interior walls can also be applied to the doors. But here’s the thing: you don’t want to put too much weight on the doors or you could pull them right off their hinges. You could also mess up the alignment, which could make them more difficult to open and close.
Your best bet is to limit door-based storage to light hand tools. Handheld spades, small pruning shears, brushes, and garden hose spray heads are all good candidates.
Use Your Imagination
This post has presented you with 20 great tool storage ideas for your shed. Perhaps you thought of others as you were reading. If so, that’s great. Just remember that you are limited only by your imagination. Your shed is open to all sorts of creative ways to store your tools.