How to Store Gardening Tools

Gardening Tools
How To Store Gardening Tools

Proper cleaning and storing of your garden tools is very important, especially in winter or whenever you plan on not using them for a long time. In fact, it's best to clean your tools properly after each use.

You should brush the dirt and soil off the spades, shovels, forks, planters and other tools. Do this as soon as possible. A bucket of water with biodegradable soap can do wonders. If there is some persistent dirt and soil, place the tools in the soapy water to soften the dirt before washing it off. After cleaning, leave them to dry.

You should also sharpen your tools if necessary. Once the tools are sharpened, you should also remove any residual rust using steel wool. See if any of your tools need some extra cleaning. Apply some oil to lubricate them. Be generous with oil, especially if you're storing your tools for a longer period of time, such as winter months. Apply oil to the hinges of the tool and see if it opens and closes smoothly.

Don't forget to gather and drain hoses, watering wands and sprinkles. You should stretch hoses out so they can drain easily. It's best to always coil hoses into rings for easy storage. Tie together in three places. It's also good to connect hose ends in order to keep bugs and debris out. If you're not planning on using your sprinkles and watering wands for some time, make sure to store them properly in a crate.

You should also clean wooden handles before storing your tools. It's good to clean them off with medium grit sand paper. It's good to wipe them down with linseed oil. To protect the wooden handles and to make it easier to identify a tool when you drop it in the grass, paint the handle with outdoor oil based paint. Choose bright, contrasting colors (such as red) so it's easy to always locate your tool.

How to Store Your Garden Tools

To store your gardening tools properly, you should choose an appropriate location. Dry places work best. Smaller tools can be kept in a box. Pruning tools are best kept in a crate for easy access. It's always good to keep pruning tools at hand because pruning needs to be done year long. Don't forget to store a pair of gloves in a zippy bag next to your pruning tools so they are ready when you need them. You can lay hoses flat or hang them using a double peg system (to prevent kinking).

It's important to ensure the working end of your garden tools (such as hand held, long handled and pruning tools). One good way to ensure this is to prepare a mixture of sand and small amount of motor oil. Shove the working end of garden tools into the mix and move them about a little. Don't forge to open cutting tools before you insert them into the sand. Be careful with saws and other sharp tools and always wear gloves when working with these tools. The sand will rub off any potential residual rust and will coat the tools to protect them.

These preparations are somewhat time consuming, but they are important, especially during winter or whenever you don't plan on using your tools for a long time. If stored properly, your garden tools will be durable and always ready when you need them.

Photo credit: Paul Albertella

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