Living in the Windy City of Chicago, where the winters are long, hasn’t stopped me from planting a garden on my balcony for nearly 19 years straight. And just because I live in a big city, in an apartment with no backyard doesn’t mean I have to go without the pleasure of freshly grown greenery, but it does mean I can’t benefit from storing equipment and other gardening related items in storage sheds, so I have to get a little creative.
Making a salad with all of the goodies from my garden is something I dream about during all of the frigid Midwestern months. Heck, I even dry my herbs so that I can enjoy the fruits of my labor throughout the entire year!
Year after year, I take out all of my garden supplies and get to work filling my colorful pots with fresh herbs, vegetables and flowers. Each year as I collect things to help me plant all these greens, I am forced to consider how to keep everything organized in my small outdoor space.
Between the soil, fertilizer, pots and tools, you may think that it would impossible to store everything you need to bring life to your balcony. I have combined my own tricks with those we have used for our organizing clients to share with you 6 tips to make it happen. See if one (or more) of these ideas inspires you to realize that you, too, can start a new tradition of urban gardening in your small space. Conversely, if you are lucky enough to have more space than me, then you could always look into getting yourself a shed, and you can get sheds built on site here.
I have been using an old chest to store my gardening supplies on my balcony since I found it in the alley over 6 years ago. The most brilliant part about it being “old” is that I don’t mind putting dirt inside of it and keeping it out in the elements.
During the summer season, it fits pretty much all of my excess supplies so I don’t have to have anything piled up under my lounge chairs. This really helps make the balcony look less cluttered and more organized which, you have to know, makes me extremely delighted.
Multi-functional furniture is one of our favorite organizing tips for folks living in small spaces and outdoor spaces are no exception. When you’ve taken the time to create a beautiful garden for yourself, it’s likely that you will want to spend time there enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Having a bench chest is the perfect solution for both relaxing in your outdoor space and storing your gardening supplies. Depending on the size of your bench, you could potentially fit all of your extra green materials under your seating. Just lift up the seat and pop in your unused pots, excess dirt, fertilizer and the whole shebang!
Similarly to the way you would store bowls, you will stack pots. The largest, widest one goes at the bottom. Then place the next smaller one inside of it, continuing until you come to the smallest pot.
In the bowl example above, you’re probably thinking of a typical round pot. Keep in mind, though, that this process will work for a stack of square or rectangular pots too! If you have a bunch of pots, make multiple stacks of pots instead of letting the stack get too high. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
We frequently suggest that our clients hang things. Examples of this are hats in the closet, brooms in the cleaning closet and umbrellas on the back of the coat closet door. Tools (including gardening tools) are ideal for hanging.
By hanging your garden shears, trowels, cultivators and weeders you will have fast access to them in case of a gardening “emergency”. Plus you can use a space which is likely underutilized anyway. Use a magnetic board, plywood or pegboard to hang your green goodies. Embellish it a little to make it a cute part of your outdoor decor!
If your outdoor space is super limited (like not even room for a bench or chest), you still have options. Consider using storage locations inside. Maybe you have an extra cabinet in your kitchen or some space at the bottom of your coat closet. Why not use it to store your gardening goodies?
Many of our clients have storage units in their condo and apartment buildings. This could be an ideal place to keep things that you may not necessarily want inside your home. One obvious down-fall of this option is that you may not have as immediate access to your items but, nonetheless, this may be the right solution for you.
Considering that you have a small space and therefore a small garden, you won’t need as many supplies. Go through all of your supplies and decide which of them are unnecessary. How do you decide that, you ask?
Start by laying out ALL of your gardening supplies. Consider donating items that are:
Our hope is that, after reading this, you see that even though you may have minimal outdoor storage space, you too can enjoy the unique pleasure of having your very own garden. We have found that planting herbs, vegetables and flowers has enriched our lives and we want that joy for you as well.
Share your small space gardening tips with us by commenting below. We are always open to more green thumb insights that we can use for ourselves and share with our awesome readers.
This article was written by Mission 2 Organize