I never appreciated summer until I moved to the Midwest. The season brings late sunsets, flip-flops, and the smell of the grill. We relish being outside, whether it’s doing yard work or lingering on the patio with friends, the sun on our skin is the vitamin that gets us through the winter.
In any space you spend time, there is a need for order. Order enhances the activities you do and the people you invite into your space. Whether it’s the front yard, back yard, (or in my case the cattle yard!), organization of outdoor spaces makes life easier, just as much as it makes life easier inside the home. A little improved function and storage can go a long way all year round.
Whether you have a big yard or a small patio, how do you contain a beast like the outdoors that seems so untamable? Here are 4 must-do tips to get you started.
4 ways to organize your outdoor space
Take inventory of everything you do and use outdoors. I recommend making a list so you can be sure you don’t miss anything. Once you have the list, categorize it with similar items being grouped together. Garden, Lawn, Pool, Sand Toys, Entertaining, etc. It will be different for everyone and it’s determined based on how YOU use the items. There are no rules, rather how it makes the most sense for you and your family.
Now that you’ve identify the categories you will have in your outdoor space, you need to designate areas for those categories to live. Ideally the items should be stored close to where they are used. If items are stored where they are used, you are more apt to maintain your organization long term. For example, pool toys should be close to the pool and easily accessible; gardening tools should be near the hose or garden. If you’re having a hard time finding a location, think of non-traditional ways to utilize all your space, from floor to roof. Even if you have a small area to work with, it is still important to identify where things are going to live (actually it’s even more important in smaller yards). If you don’t have space for everything, you may need to consider downsizing items.
It’s not worth keeping it if you can’t access it or enjoy it.
Once you know what you have and the storage location, you may need to purchase or build storage options. It may not seem necessary to invest in outside storage, but in the long run, your items will last longer if they are protected. Remember to use all the space — floor, roof, walls, etc. And think outside the box of non-traditional uses of items that you already have around the house, such as benches and hooks on walls.
-Use vertical space to hang large pool toys rather than laying them flat
-Hooks installed on the wall or siding
-XL mesh bag to hold pool toys, hang on a sturdy hook
-Large tub, laundry basket, or garbage can for sports equipment
-Plastic bucket or bin for chalk.
-“Parking spots” for bikes, large kids toys, or yard equipment. Either lines on the ground or I saw this DIY mini “garage” made of pallets on Pinterest that seemed genius and easy to assemble. Designated places for equipment help kids (and adults!) understand the expectation of where their larger toys belong.
-Laundry drying rack for towels or pool rafts.
-Multi-functional pieces such as a bench with built in storage to hold pool chemicals or gardening tools that doubles as a bench for entertaining.
-Mounted utility rack for shovels, brooms, and rakes help get them off the ground and keeps everyone safe, avoiding the domino affect of leaning tools.
-Retractable hose reel to extend the life of the hose and easier access.
-Cushions for outdoor furniture can be left out (depending on where you live) or stored in Jumbo Ziploc storage bags to keep the weather elements away. Keep them outside under a covered area or put in the garage/store room when not in use. Off season, store in tubs or airtight storage bags and keep on a high shelf, attic, basement, or area you don’t access often.
Plan to Maintain your Outdoor Space
Maintaining your space is the most important part! You’ve done all the hard work to organize it and it requires ongoing attention to continue to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
– Every time you use the items, put them away and do a quick swipe of the area to be sure things are picked up.
– Have children put their bikes and toys away at the end of each day.
– Wipe down furniture, grill, railings, and counters monthly. Dirt builds up fast. Use a wet rag to wipe areas down monthly or after each use.
– Keep towels, sunscreen, bug spray, and goodies to make s’mores handy! Have a seasonal tote or bin of outside necessities that keep the outdoor fun, safe, and manageable.
– If you don’t spend much time outside, I encourage you to start doing so! The creation we were given is healthy for the body and mind!
Cherish it, soak it in, and clink glasses to the great outdoors.
If you need help making your outdoor or indoor space functional and support making hard choices on what to keep, contact The Proper Place here. We can help you transform any space so that it functions best for your family to enjoy!