The springtime or early fall are good times to undertake routine shed maintenance.
Because whether it's the winter months or the summer months behind you, sheds can become cluttered and messy. They become less organized and untidy. Equipment often gets put away higgledy-piggledy fashion and sometimes dirty. You can't find things.
The chances are that spiders and bugs may have set up home in your shed as well. They can be challenging to get rid of, cause a mess, and be a potential health hazard.
And after several years of use, the shed exterior can start to look tired and grubby as well, after the elements have taken their toll.
With a bit of TLC, you can give your shed a new lease of life. You can transform it into an asset you'll be proud to have in your backyard.
It could be time to spring clean, de-clutter, and makeover your shed.
There are three stages to the task at hand, and it is best to be prepared for them all before you start. You will need to:
You don't have to complete all these stages on the same day. I suggest you do the exterior clean first on a different day from the rest. That way, if you have any issues with water leaks, or have any other obvious repairs to do you'll have an advance warning and time to get things done.
When you clean the shed interior, aim to finish it in one day, so any wet work has a chance to dry, and you can put the shed contents back inside should the weather deteriorate.
The size and type of your shed and its general state of repair may influence how long the tasks take, so having an extra pair of hands on the day could be helpful. See what family and friends can do to help.
You shouldn't need any specialist tools or expertise. You may well have most of the tools and equipment you'll need already in your existing DIY supplies.
First Things First
Before starting the project, give your shed structure a thorough examination inside and out. Make a note of anything that needs repairing and items you may have to buy.
Make any shed repairs you deem necessary now or when the shed is empty. If you need to get any particular parts order them before you start the shed spring clean
Go through the shed contents for ideas about anything you could get rid of. And give some thought to how you want the interior re-organized. Do you need to replace shelving? Would you like to have a workbench, for example?
For details about how you can re-organize your shed interior, check out our articles on Shed Accessories and How to Organize a New Shed.
Just make sure you have everything to hand before you start the Spring-clean and that you have decided how to makeover the interior.
Tools & Equipment Needed
Do make sure you have all the cleaning equipment and supplies you'll need for the whole job before you start. You don't want to have to run off to the local DIY Center when you are partway through.
For a thorough clean of your shed, you'll need much of the following:
Plan the Day in Advance
Choose a day when you expect the weather to stay dry and warm. Ensure you are in the mood to complete the tasks and aim to achieve them in a day.
Additional help could be an advantage so arrange to have some on the day.
The central part of the whole exercise - the deep clean - starts with emptying your shed, so make sure you have all the cleaning and repair equipment and supplies you'll need for the whole job before you start.
If you have a wooden shed and have decided to paint the interior to seal it completely, you may have to arrange the project over several days to let the paint dry before fitting out the interior.
Now you need to make a start on cleaning the outside.
Spring Clean the Shed Exterior
Start the outside clean with the top of the shed. Trim back any branches overhanging the shed roof. It is best to not erect a shed beneath trees as low-hanging tree branches can cause wear or damage when rubbing against the roof, and sap can drip on the top and cause staining.
Clear any loose debris from the roof – moss, leaves, and so on - with a long-handled soft bristle brush. A coarse brush could damage the surface. If you have guttering on your shed, ensure the gutters are clear, and the downpipes are not blocked.
Clear away any debris around the shed's base, organic or otherwise. Sweep the entire perimeter. Leave nothing leaning or growing against the shed walls.
Sweep up, bag all the debris you have cleaned off, and put it to one side for disposal.
Now you need to hose down the shed roof and sides to soften any surface grime before hand washing with a soft brush, sponge, or mop. Bird poop, algae, or tree sap stains may need rubbing off more vigorously by hand using dish soap and water with a scrubbing brush, then given a final hosing down.
Be careful not to direct the hose near vents to avoid flooding the interior. And hand-wash any windows - don't use a power washer.
Check for any water damage inside when you have hosed down the outside. Make the necessary repairs or enter details in your notebook so that you remember to rectify the leaks later.
For more specific info on cleaning wood, plastic, and metal sheds, read How to Clean a Dirty Shed.
Empty the Shed
To effectively clean the shed interior, repair any damage that the shed contents might conceal, and improve its appearance, you will first need to empty the shed of all the contents. It is impractical to keep moving things out of the way on a workaround, and you will find the tasks easier if the shed shell is empty.
Remove the entire contents. Clear everything out — all of it.
Lay a cheap tarpaulin or a polythene sheet on the ground and lay everything on it. The tarp will prevent small items from getting lost, and you can fold it over and protect everything from rain if the weather deteriorates.
Group similar items together as you bring them out - gardening tools, fixings, auto spares, etc. Keep it tidy so that you can work through everything more quickly later.
After emptying the shed, you need to clean the interior and sort through the contents. If you are working on your own, it is best to work in that order. The shed will then have time to dry out from any wet work in the cleaning process before you refill it.
If you have help, you can run these two tasks simultaneously.
Sort the Shed Contents - It's De-clutter Time
Before returning the shed contents, you need to decide what to keep. Create a junk pile. If it's broken, you've never used it, or it is out-of-date - chuck it, recycle it or give it away. Be ruthless!
Having your partner at hand to help decide can be effective.
Extra help will certainly speed things up. One works through the contents to categorize items, while the other starts cleaning and repairing the shed interior.
If you are keeping back broken items for when you might have time to fix them or hoarding things because they might have some use in the future (I'm good at that!), then it's time to be realistic about the value of keeping stuff that isn't likely to be used.
Shed Interior Spring Clean
With an empty shed, you can quickly assess the physical state of the interior. Look out for water leaks that are apparent from hosing down the shed roof, and note any other damage that is obvious before you start the initial clean. Record it in your notebook, so nothing is forgotten.
Start cleaning at the top and work down. As you remove dirt and grime, look for any other additional remedial work.
Use a soft bristle, long-handled brush to sweep inside the roof and walls to clear dust, debris, spider webs, and spillages. Pay special attention to corners and any joints in the shed wall sections. Then sweep the floor clean. If you have a shop vacuum, you can use that instead to clear the inside.
Using a cloth, warm water, and dish soap, wipe the internal surfaces of any ingrained dirt. Then wipe dry with another cloth.
Wash the windows by hand and dry them inside and out. It's best not to use a power washer as the water pressure can damage the glazing.
Refer to your notes and repair any damage you have recorded.
Replace & Re-Organize Contents as a Makeover
When you are satisfied the inside of the shed is dry, it is time to makeover the interior - the exciting part of the project. You can either put the contents back where they were or make your planned changes.
If you have decided to accessorize your shed, now is the time to assemble shelving, allocate and fill up storage boxes and position any workshop area you have planned.
With the planning you've done already, you will know how your re-organized shed interior will look and how the different storage areas will fit together.
It is fair to say that notwithstanding your planning, it is probable that you will make minor adjustments to the shed interior to get it the way you want.
You will not want to do all these tasks every year, so the remedy is straightforward:
With simple disciplines like these, it should be a while before you need to overhaul your shed this way, and as a plus, you will make it possible to find items you store far more quickly.