It’s time to pack up and put away all your tools that you’ve used to keep your garden looking beautiful all summer long.
While you wait for the days to get longer, and the mornings to be brighter, you’ll need to ensure your garden equipment is stored properly so it will last you many summers to come.
Here are 10 tips on how to store your garden tools in the colder weather.
1. Stow your items away
The most important thing to do is to make sure you have sufficient storage space for anything that can’t remain outside during winter – including mowers, furniture and tools. Adding pegboards and shelving to your garage can free up some floor space for larger items if necessary – and be sure to throw away any clutter before you start storing things away.
Ensure existing sheds and outbuildings are in good condition and repair any damage. If you have a lot of items, invest in a metal storage building such as these. These are more durable and weatherproof than a standard shed.
2. Put winter equipment front and centre
Make sure anything you might still need to use outdoors during bad weather – such as shovels, brushes, or snow blowers – is kept within easy reach.
3. Keep tools squeaky clean
Give all the tools you’ll be storing a good wash with soap and water, using a stiff brush to get any dirt and grime off them. You might need to soak tools such as spades and forks if dirt is caked on – and you can use steel wool to shift stubborn mud. Clear blades and motors on your outdoor tools too. Otherwise you’re storing up a problem for the spring.
4. Sharpen up
Now is also the time to sharpen up the blades on your equipment, so that it’s all in perfect shape for those all-important first cuts in the spring. You can use a file or a shaping stone to get crisp edges on your shovels, prunes, shears, and secateurs.
5. Oil them up
Once your tools are clean and sharp, apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the surface. This will keep any moisture out when the cold and damp creeps into your shed, and will make your tools last longer.
6. Don’t forget machine oil
If you have larger equipment that requires fuel or oils, let the engine run for 15 minutes to heat up any remains before you drain it. If you leave any blockages like this untouched, it can be more difficult for your equipment to start come spring. Either run the engine dry or use a fuel-stabilizer for any remaining fuel left in the tank.
7. Greased lightning
Once your machinery is all cleaned out, grease the joints before storing it to prevent rusting.
8. Remember the ever-handy jar
There are hundreds of uses for a spare mason jar – use one to tidy up any little bits you won’t need for a while. The likes of plant ties, twine, nails, screws, nuts and bolts can all fit nicely in here. Again, make the jars you might need more accessible, just in case.
9. Consider your security
If you have a lot of machinery, or particularly expensive items of equipment, it’s best to make sure your storage is securely locked and insured, as it might be left unchecked for months.
10. Recharge – literally and figuratively!
Make sure to recharge any batteries in machinery, such as drive along mowers or garden tractors. Just like you, your machinery needs to recharge ready for an assault on a busy list of tasks in the spring.