Organizing Our Backyard Deck Box | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Organizing Our Backyard Deck Box

Friday, May 25, 2012

Organizing Our Backyard Deck Box

We've had this deckbox in our backyard for about 5 or 6 years and in that time it has accumulated many things.  I knew it wasn't being used to it's fullest potential because we had too much stuff in it and we only ever use the items near the top (unless we're looking for something in particular but then we had to dig around to find it which often meant taking a bunch of other things out first).  Here's a look at it before:

Crazy eh?!  This is the only place where we can really store things in the backyard so everything gets dumped in there.  It was getting overwhelming so the other day I took to organizing it! 

First I took everything out, doing some purging as I went, and sorted everything into bins or piles, grouping like items with each other.  Here are some in progress shots:

This area had a whole bin with balls & another bin with other sports equipment / outdoor games, plus a box of frisbees & discs for disc golf and a few other toys.

We had put some BBQ accessories in the deckbox shortly after we bought it but they became buried on the bottom and as you can see we never even opened some of them. There were also some camping items near the bottom that really needed to be stored with the rest of our camping equipment so we would remember we had them.

Next there were some bug hunting items and gardening things.

Then there were some smaller piles: water toys, bubbles, sand toys, sidewalk chalk, skipping ropes & ball/paddle toys.

I'm embarrased to show this picture but here's what the deckbox looked like inside when it was empty...GROSS!  Dirt, sticky stuff from bubble bottles that leaked, dead bugs...yuck!  (yes those are old spider nests in the bottom...found some on several of the items in the deckbox too...luckily there were no spiders in them!)

After a severe case of the willies, here's what it looked like after I cleaned it out...MUCH better!

Here's what I purged on a first pass.  Garbage went in the red crate & consisted of anything broken or missing parts or that couldn't be used anymore (yes, there are some recycling items there too...don't worry we recycled them!).  Donate/giveaway/freecycle items went in the box & consisted of anything that was still in usable condition that we no longer needed or used or that we had too many of so we could give it to someone else to enjoy.

And here's the garbage/recycling & giveaway boxes after a 2nd pass (with help from my hubby since he is more aware of what gets played with the most).  The garbage was too much for the milk crate now so it's now in a box.  Side note:  I was able to find new homes for all the giveaway items on Freecycle...yay!

Now it was time to figure out how to organize the deckbox better.  I decided the best thing is to keep it to one purpose:  outdoor toys.  So... gardening & camping things went to the garage with the other gardening & camping things, BBQ items went into the house with other BBQ items, and the frisbees & discs went to the garage because we tend to use them mainly when we're going to a park or the beach & they will be easier to grab from the garage. 

The one thing I was concerned about was using the vertical space in a way that doesn't cause things on the bottom to get lost or forgotten.  I'm not completely happy with it yet and am open to ideas for how to use the vertical space better, but, this is MUCH better than it was before.

Here's what it looked like after:

Here's a view from above so you can see how it is organized:

In the middle is a bin with balls so they are contained rather than being all over the place in the deckbox.  And there's a small bin on top with all the little balls so they don't just fall to the bottom of the deckbox. 

On the left is a milk crate with baseball equipment & some taller things (standing up to use the vertical space better).  Unfortunately the croquet set (that orange & blue bag) doesn't fit standing up so it's on the bottom but I made sure part of it is exposed so we don't forget it's there.  A few flying things are on the left too.  Here's a close-up:

On the right are a few sand toys, a box with sidewalk chalk, the bug hunting items, a basket with skipping ropes & paddle/ball things (what are those actually called?), and a few water toys.  Under the pail & chalk box is a small bin with bubbles & bubble wands.  I don't like that it's underneath other things because that means moving items to get at it so it's less likely to be used (& less of a chance that it will go back that way when the kids are finished with it).  But, at least those bubble containers & wands are not leaking everywhere in the deckbox the way they were before.  Bubbles are popular here so I'm sure they will still be used.  Here's a closeup of the right side: 

So that's it!  I'm sure it won't stay this organized all the time but hopefully it will be easier to find, use, & put back the items that are in here.  

Anyone else have a deckbox they've organized?  How did you maximize the vertical space without burying things? 

Happy organizing!

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