How to organize a potting shed: 8 space-saving ways to tame tools

A potting shed is a dream garden addition that can quickly descend into chaos – follow these organizing tips to keep things neat

three images of potting sheds
(Image credit: Forest / Garden Trading)

When thinking about how to organize a potting shed, it's a good idea to keep in mind two golden rules of home organizing: accessibility and visibility. Because there's no way you can organize a shed effectively when tools and supplies are out of reach or buried at the bottom of a drawer.

It's also sensible to visualize just how you will be using your potting shed, and what you will need at hand. For instance, what are all the items you need when sowing seeds indoors and transplanting seedlings

Your potting shed may also double up as a growing space, so perhaps you will require a staging table as well as a potting bench as part of your backyard storage ideas. Taking some time to think about how you will use the space and investing in some storage solutions will make it a joy to use.

Organizing a potting shed

A potting shed should be a soothing space in which to pot, plan, and de-stress. To help you get started (and maintain a beautifully organized shed ideas in the long run) we have rounded up some simple organizing tips for you to try at home.

1. Install deep, sturdy shelves

shelf of upturned plant pots

(Image credit: Alamy)

Put up rows of open shelving above your potting bench, going up as high as possible. 

'Think vertical,' agrees Curvin Huber from Missouri-based shed company The Backyard and Beyond. 'The more you can use the vertical space, the more you will be able to fit in. I recommend installing a shelving unit to utilize this space,' Curvin adds.

Store regularly used items on the middle shelves as these will be the easiest to reach. Gardening supplies that are used less frequently can be stored overhead – consider picking up a foldable step ladder, available at Amazon, so everything is easy to access when necessary.

Gardening expert Ryan Farley at LawnStarter reminds us to keep safety in mind when organizing your shelves: 'After a few near-disasters of my own with pots falling from high shelves, I recommend keeping all pots on the floor or on lower shelves in your potting shed,' says Ryan. 'Lots of shelving is the best way I have found to keep things organized without overwhelming a small space, but it is best to keep things like soil and big pots lower so they're more manageable.'

Curvin Huber
Curvin Huber

Curvin Huber is the CEO of The Backyard And Beyond, a portable building manufacturer in Missouri. Curvin has years of experience in building sheds, garages, cabins, and animal shelters.

Ryan Farley
Ryan Farley

Ryan Farley is the CEO of LawnStarter, a lawn care service founded in 2013 and based in Austin, Texas. 

2. Label everything

Labels are an essential when it comes to keeping your potting shed organized – keep it simple and use masking tape and a black marker pen, or purchase a label maker, available at Amazon

Label your shelves, bins, and even tools, and you'll be much more likely to put everything back where it belongs. Group like-items together into categories and put them in labeled containers (clear bins are great for seeing what's inside, opaque ones will conceal mess).

Labels will make it much easier to create an organizing system, which, as Ryan Farley points out, can make all the difference in a small space: 'I recommend establishing a system for where everything goes and then sticking with that as much as possible. This will help keep things organized, especially if you have a very small potting shed,' he says.

3. Hang shoe organizers

Whether growing vegetables in pots or trying some springtime container gardening ideas, you need plenty of space for all of your tools. Attach a shoe organizer over the back of the door, or hang it directly onto the wall with nails for a space-saving, vertical storage solution that will keep surfaces clutter-free. 

This is a brilliant solution for all those smaller gardening tools that are easily misplaced, from scissors and twine to plant labels and dibbers. Opt for a clear shoe organizer so you can see exactly what's inside, or attach labels and clean it out periodically so nothing is forgotten at the bottom of a pouch.

Shop shoe organizers for your tools

4. Use large bins and containers that stack

ikea shelving unit and storage bins with teracotta pots

(Image credit: Ikea)

Opened bags of soil can get messy, so consider investing in some large bins with lids to keep everything contained. 'Use bins for storing soil, mulch, fertilizer or other types of loose materials. Once you open a bag, dump it into the bin,' says Curvin Huber.

Stackable containers with lids, at Amazon are another of our favorite shed storage ideas as they have a smaller footprint, helping to keep your potting bench clear. Choose containers you really like as they'll add to the overall aesthetic of the space – along with some hanging plants, a radio and so on.

5. Use drying racks for drip trays

With a bit of creative thinking, you'll find that some of your kitchen organizers can be used out in the potting shed – for instance, mug trees can store smaller pots, and drying racks can hold terracotta drip trays. 

Find ways to give everything a designated home by repurposing items you have knocking around, and it will make tidying up at the end of the day much easier.

6. Use wall-mounted baskets

potting shed with storage unit

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

It's a good idea to look at ways to use the walls of your potting shed, such as hanging wall-mounted baskets. Try adding a couple of wall-mounted wire baskets and store like-items in each one, from pots to tools to cleaning equipment.

Baskets on the walls are a particularly good option if you prefer to have all your gardening supplies visible and tend to forget about things when stored away in drawers. You could also use old fruit and vegetable crates, as long as they are strong enough.

7. Use a pegboard and S hooks

Garden shed tools and hooks

(Image credit: Sarah Hanson)

Pegboards are a great option for keeping gardening accessories organized as you can easily reconfigure the layout depending on what works for you. Combine a pegboard with a rail with hooks and a row of shelving, as pictured above, so things are always super easy to put away. 

'Hang your tools on the wall. You can buy wall organizers designed to do this; however, you can create your own with simple hooks and nails,' says Curvin Huber. If you run out of space inside, you can hang a few hooks and nails on the outside of the potting shed for more weather-resistant items, such as garden rakes, or more plants.

8. Keep essentials to hand with caddies

terracotta pots and galvanized trug in garden

(Image credit: Annabel James)

There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to find the gardening tool you need when you need it, so it's worth having a couple of caddies for your gardening essentials. 

A caddy is also useful for transporting things around, from gloves and secateurs to pots, seeds, and labels, and means you're less likely to waste time going back and forth. We love this enamel gardening trug, at Walmart for keeping everything in one place.


Does a potting shed have to face south?

If you can, position your potting shed so that the windows face south, as this will give the plants the most exposure to sunlight during the day. The key is to avoid having it face north, which will be the coldest and darkest position.

Don't forget to do some backyard decluttering at the end of each season, and try to keep on top of tidying – treating the potting shed like any other area of the home. It's the 'eat your vegetables' side of gardening, but a little bit of discipline will keep your potting shed feeling like an outdoor retreat away from the noise of the rest of the house.

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.