Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful..

What to do when the weather isn't cooperating?  Well for me that means cleaning out the garage.  Nothing worse than itching to get to work in the spring and not being able to find your tools, so I'm taking this time now to tidy up and prepare myself.  After all you wouldn't want to find this when you opened up the garage in the spring.

To avoid that possibly unpleasant experience I took it upon myself recently to do some clean up.  Some of the work was completed earlier on.  I spent an afternoon in October washing out all my pots and stacking them neatly.  They'll come in handy for next spring's perennial sale when the neighbourhood starts planting up donations.  Then when the frosts began the hose was emptied of water and rolled up.    I've killed a few hoses in my lifetime, as well as pipes, so I knew better than to tempt fate.  In addition to moving the hose into the house the water tap was also turned off inside the house.

The garage obviously needed some tidying up to start with.  Empty manure bags went into the garbage, empty and non smelly mulch bags were saved for further use.  Seed propagation supplies were brought into the house for easy access as I will need them in early spring.   Garden accessories, like my crows were brought in to keep from rusting and disintegrating.

The potting bench was given a general tidying up.  Dirt was swept off, items were neatly piled.  Some nails were pounded into the wall so that more tools, that have been accumulated over the season, could be hung up.

Most importantly though my tools were cleaned.  I mean, of course I always clean my tools before I put them back!  um, who put this dirty old shovel back in the garage without cleaning it!?

Okay, so there are times when I'm not terribly organized or clean and things get thrown in and forgotten about.  This is the time to make up for it so I'm able to start fresh in the spring.  I pulled out my tools for the job.

The first item is a stiff brush.  This is actually meant to clean pots, which it is good for, but I also find it useful for scraping off hardened dirt from shovels.  Some tough bits require something harder to knock the clay loose but generally the brush does the job.  After a good brushing I give it a wipe with a cloth rag.  For many tools that's enough but every once in awhile I find some rust under all that dirt.  Putting away tools wet or with wet dirt clinging to them sometimes means they get a bit rusty.  To help clean them up I use my rust erasers.  Purchased at Lee Valley (yup, here we go again.  We should play a game of 'spot the Lee Valley tool') these small blocks have a rubbery texture but act like sandpaper.  They easily scrape away at spots on your tools and help with the job of clean up.

That shovel looks much better now.  (I realize the shovel is still pretty rusty but this an old second hand shovel and I'm not willing to scour the entire thing)  This was a handy exercise because many of my tools this year were inherited with the house purchase.  Cleaning them up made me take a close look and I discovered cracks in two shovels.  It also reminded me that my pruners needed sharpening and that the snow shovel needed to come up to the house.  Now I won't spend a lot of time next spring running around trying to find the tool for the job.  I can just dive right in and get to work.


  1. Okay, so now you've been super organised and sorted your garage (well done, I'm green with envy!), fancy a trip across to my part of the world to do mine?

    I feel it's only fair to warn you though, at first sight (and second) your heart will drop into your boots at the sheer amount of things to go through.

    I keep inviting myself and declining, so I'll totally understand if you choose to decline ;o)

  2. I also like to keep my garden shed spotless going into the long Winter haul. It's so nice to visit the shed in the dead of Winter with snow all around and yet you walk into a nice organized shed on the hopes of a early Spring. It gets your hopes up to start planting seedlings indoors.
    You have done a great job of cleaning your garden tools.
    Where would we be without Lee Valley. It's on my Christmas list as always.
    I have the crokinole board which is just beautiful.

  3. You're supposed to clean your shovels? Dang. Where's my list...

  4. You put me to shame! I am amazed my tools have filed for divorce. I leave them out in the rain and cold on a regular basis. I have a whole collection of trowels, just so I can always find one to use.I should follow your fine example and clean them up for next spring. Have a great weekend!

  5. You actually buy tools to clean your tools with? Very impressive!!! My tools are... not as clean as yours! I admire your determination. I don't get the organization itch until it's almost spring and I'm dying to garden but don't have any plants that are awake yet. You are way ahead of me! :0)

  6. You have inspired me, now only if the weather will cooperate, outside garage and all. 28 degrees and windy as all get out. Today was to be my Christmas light hanging day. Think I will move inside for the decorating.:grin:

  7. Wow, it seems like a lot of work. I am amazed by you. I struggle to get my little balcony organized and it is only 2mts square. I am sure it will all go smoothly next spring because you will have everything ready.

  8. Bub - I'm not sure my cleaning would be what you have in mind. I tend to be of the 'chuck it all the garbage' mentality. I've been known to throw out perfectly good and valuable tools simply because I couldn't identify them.

    The Witch - What would Christmas be without Lee Valley! I've been told in no uncertain terms this past week to stay out of my husband's online account as there may be items for me in there. yippee.

    Liz - I know, shovels, forks, hoes. Cleaning up my tools took much longer than expected. But I figure I can manage once a year.

    Jennifer - I never used to clean my tools but as I've accumulated tools I love I've become more particular about caring for them.

    TS - seems you've picked up on my obsessive streak! yes I sure do like my tools.

    GardenWalk - I know a few people were planning on hanging lights this weekend but I'm staying inside myself. Time to start Christmas baking I think.

  9. Good for you, Marguerite! Reminds me I need to give my shovels a good scrubbing. I'll have to look for some of those rust erasers. Just wish I could be more disciplined to clean and dry them after each use.

  10. What a sense of accomplishment you must feel. I have to admit, some years I get around to cleaning up my shed but others it seems to go by the wayside. It does make a huge difference though to have everything straightened out and in its place for easy Spring access.

  11. Nicely done! I need to do a good cleaning on all my tools. In fact the garage is in serious need of a clean out too! Sadly I think none of these things will happen any time soon. My reasons? #1 I'm lazy #2 the trailer is STILL broken, so I can't haul away all the crap that's messing up the garage!


  12. fer - I suppose it was, it took a few hours of cleaning up but I'm a bit of a natural organizer. I have a hard time working when there's a mess around so I know I'll really appreciate this come spring.

    Floridagirl - I love organization but even I can't be bothered to wipe down my shovels after each use. What a huge amount of work that would be! I think the key is coated steel tools, they seem to handle the rough usage a lot better.

    Debbie - part of my cleaning up binge is that I'm already itching for it to be spring. It's like if I can't work outside I'll organize my stuff so it'll be ready for me to work outside!

    Laura - If I had 3 kids to look after I don't think I'd be in such a hurry to clean the garage either! Besides, you put me to shame creating those lovely flower beds.