How We Organize Our Outdoor Tools and Toys

posted by Andrea | 05/15/2017

This time of year, I often get questions regarding how we store and organize all our outdoor gear — hand tools, lawn tools, toys, lawn furniture, kiddie pools, play equipment, mowers, fertilizers, hoses, etc. etc.

Yes, we have A LOT of outdoor gear around here, and although our storage and organizational needs are always changing, I do feel we have a decent storage system right now… so I’m happy to share.

One thing I do want to note right from the start is that we have a TON of storage space outside our home:

Although we might have somewhat limited closet space inside our house, we make up for that with all the extra storage we have for items outside our house!

So as you read through this post and see how we’ve organized our outdoor gear, please keep in mind that it is much easier for us to keep things neat and organized because we have SO MUCH SPACE.

That said, if we didn’t have as much space, we would most likely not have as much stuff either. We wouldn’t need a large riding mower, we wouldn’t need as much fertilizer, hoses, sprinklers, etc. And we certainly wouldn’t have nearly as many outdoor kids’ toys if we didn’t have such a big yard and long driveway to use our toys.

Hand Tools:

We have a bunch of hand tools — and we store them in so many different places throughout our home and yard — because we use them in so many different places.

We have a small set of hand tools in a drawer in our kitchen, we also have a small set in our extra garage — but the majority of our hand tools are stored in the drawers of our garage cabinets.

We don’t have any fancy organizing system — we just dump them in the drawers and use shoe boxes to keep things somewhat neat.

Power Tools:

We actually don’t have that many power tools because we can borrow almost anything we need from my dad or my brother-in-law (who both have a VERY extensive collection!)

The power tools we do have are either in our basement or in our extra garage.


Car Tools and Equipment:

Everything for our cars is in the tall cabinets in our garage — extra fluids and oils, extra windshield wiper blades, buckets and rags to wash the car, wax, etc.

We don’t have a lot — but it obviously makes sense to keep all that stuff in the garage, right by the cars.

Lawn Tools:

ALL of our lawn tools are in our larger shed now (they used to be split between the garage and extra garage until we built our shed 2 years ago).

It is SO nice to have everything in one spot — away from all the kid’s stuff. We really love this extra storage space (plus, it looks really cute at the end of our driveway too!)

Hoses and Watering Tools:

We used to keep all of this in the garage too — until we quickly realized our kids REALLY liked playing with hoses and water sprayers 🙂

We now store all our hoses, sprinklers, spray nozzles, and watering wands in our shed during the “off season”. We have specific places around our home where we keep the hoses coiled up during the spring and summer.

Chemicals and Fertilizers:

All our oil, gas, preen, weed n’ feed, fertilizer, RoundUp, bug spray, etc. is all on shelves in our shed — far away from little hands!

It’s also really nice to have it out of our garage and/or extra garage because it keeps any smell out of those areas too.

Bikes, strollers, scooters, etc:

ALLLLLLLLLL of this is in the garage. In fact, besides our car stuff and a few basic hand tools, the only thing in the garage is kiddie toys!

I did a quick count of bikes, strollers, scooters, and other “wheeled” toys, and I’ve concluded that we have an embarrassingly large number!

  • 5 kids bikes
  • 3 adult bikes (we’re in the process of selling one)
  • a “tag-a-long” bike
  • 4 strollers (one of which is also our bike trailer)
  • 3 scooters
  • 3 plastic cars (1 cozy-coupe, and 2 with adult handles to push the child)
  • at least 3 different ride-on/push toys
  • 1 doll stroller
  • 2 shopping carts
  • 2 lawn mowers
  • possibly more!

I know that’s such a ridiculous number of outdoor toys — but our kids (and a handful of neighborhood kids) really do use everything on a very regular basis. It’s not uncommon for every single wheeled toy to be strewn about in various parts of our very long driveway while the kids are outside playing.

And thanks to a really great Monkey Bars storage system, we can hang almost every single thing and get it up off the floor (and out of our kid’s reach) when we actually want to pick up and have things neat again!

Sports Equipment and outdoor games:

We don’t have a lot of sports equipment yet — just a bunch of different types of balls, some bats, and tennis rackets. We keep them all in the garage — the balls are in a mesh bag that hangs from our Monkey Bars Organizing system, everything else is in the storage cabinets.

I suspect we will need to figure out a system for sports gear in future years — but I have a feeling some of it will end up in the mudroom. We shall see!

Kiddie pools:

Since Dave and I are both home every day during the summer, we have plenty of time to mess with getting kiddie pools out for our kids on a very regular basis.

We currently have 2 hard-sided kiddie pools (but will be selling one in the next few weeks). We also had a fun blow-up pool (see below) that got a leak part-way through the summer. We patched it up and continually refilled it with air throughout the warm weeks, but then trashed it after cold weather came.

This amazing Step 2 pool was our most recent bargain (we found it on Craigslist last September) and it’s why we’ll be selling our other dark blue pool this year.

It’s a beast — and when we’re not using the pool part, we store it behind our shed. We keep the play area and slide out year-round.

Lawn and Patio Furniture:

Since our front porch is covered, we leave all our lawn and patio furniture out year-round.

However, the patio furniture on our deck is exposed to the elements, so we pack it up and put it in our shed during the winter.

I found this entire set for $30 from our local thrift store last spring — and we absolutely LOVE it!

The chairs fold up for very easy storage, the umbrella comes apart so it stores easier, and the whole thing is very lightweight and portable.  I have no idea what brand name it is, but the folding chairs are a huge bonus in my opinion!

The potting bench stays out year-round.



I do not store many outdoor decorations — mainly because I don’t do much outdoor decorating.

I have 1 clear plastic tub of greenery I sometimes put up outside during Christmas time, and that is stored on a top shelf in the shed. I also have a wooden sled I keep in the corner of the shed during non-holiday times.

Other than that, I either use natural decor that can eventually be put into our yard waste (corn stalks, hay bales, pine cones, etc) or I leave the decorative items sitting out year-round — even if they are “in the elements”.

I guess I figure that I hardly spend any money on my outdoor decorations, so if they eventually get too faded or worn, I’ll just toss them. That’s easier and less time consuming than worrying about storing everything for the winter.


I’m sure there are things I’m missing (although I honestly did try to be very thorough)!

One thing that comes to mind are the few camping items we have (I know, we don’t camp but Dave wants to keep them!) We store those in our shed.

Also, bubbles… oh bubbles! Those are in the garage, on a shelf WAY too high for children to reach them!

Extension cords and our 1 large cooler are both in the garage.

And all our sand toys live in the sandbox year-round.


Ok, that’s everything I can think of!

If you have questions about any other type of outdoor item, ask me in the comments and I’ll do my best to offer some possible storage solutions!


Filed under: OrganizingHomeKids Stuff

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  1. 25 Useful Outdoor Toy Storage Ideas to Keep Your Family Organized!


    […] Andrea Dekker shares how she got all of their outdoor toys and tools organized once and for all. Everything is straightened out and orderly now. How she did it.  […]

  2. Marria


    Great ideas. Really clever solution for Outdoor toy. My house already over loaded with my kids messy toys. I need this outdoor toy storage. I like Outdoor garage storage ideas. It will hide messy toys. Thanks for sharing such a great and clever thought.


  3. Lee Winemiller Cockrum


    I love all the toys for the kids! Such fun for them! It’s so great to have the spacspot use them (and to store them!)


  4. Stacey


    I like the idea of the blue tarp under the pool… I bet that keeps a lot of grass from getting in there.. my kids are always getting in and out of the pool and then get a ton of grass in it!


  5. Anne Deemter


    I’d be interested in the pool you’re selling. I’ve been looking for one like that and I live in hudsonville too! I could come get it whenever you’d like!


    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Anne, Sorry for the delayed response. I actually got several emails from blog readers about the pool and it’s already sold!


  6. Janice


    You must have a terrific thrift store in your area because when you give the prices you have paid for things, they are way better than the stores in my area. For example, $30 for that patio set is beyond great!


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, it’s amazing!


  7. Alicia


    Your yard is beautiful! We would never leave the yard if ours looked like that! 🙂 Unfortunately we don’t have the space for many outdoor toys, but we are working on better organization!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Alicia!


  8. Debbie


    So many fun things to play with and check out! I’m not even a kid and feel like it would be so fun to hang out your yard.


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — Dave and I really do enjoy our yard as well! Maybe not all the “toys” but the space 🙂


  9. Kimi


    Where do you store your Christmas decorations? Do you have an attic?


    Andrea Reply:

    We have a basement!
    I did a post about that a few years ago — we really don’t keep much of anything in our basement because it gets damp down there (125 year old house problems!) We have 3 bins of Christmas decorations and a Christmas tree down there.


  10. Angela


    Two random questions I’ve been meaning to ask you.

    1. Do you blow dry your hair after you wash it at night, or do you go to bed with it wet and deal with it in the morning? My hair is also short and it has a serious party every night, especially if it’s wet. : )

    2. Now that you’re having another girl, do you think you’ll save Nora’s outgrown clothes for the new baby to use when she’s older, or will you continue to purge everything? I ask because I save all my girls’ clothes/shoes/coats to hand down to their younger sisters, but it takes a huge amount of storage space and I often wonder if it’d just be easier to get rid of it and start fresh with each child.

    Thanks!! : ) Angela


    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Angela,
    Sorry for the delay — your comment went to the “trash” and I’m just seeing it now 🙂

    1. No, I never blow dry my hair — but I do try to shower with enough time for it to air dry before I go to bed. Either way, in the morning, I always get it damp with a spray bottle, comb it straight, “fluff” it with my fingers, and then let it air dry again (this only takes about 5 minutes). Then I put hair paste in to style it and hairspray in to hold it. Whew! Sounds complicated but it takes me mere minutes a day!

    2. No probably not 🙂 There will be almost 6 years between them and I don’t want to save things for that long (especially because Nora is hard on her clothing). In my experience saving clothes for just 1 year between Simon and James, stuff goes out of style, it’s no longer as cute as I remembered, stains are pronounced, etc. etc. I’m SO happy with my decision to purge between children (to be perfectly honest, I even purge a good amount of Simon’s things that I know won’t fit James at the right time of year). The extra space is worth it for me 🙂

    Hope this helps! And sorry again for the delay!


  11. Angela


    It’s fun to get more of a glimpse into your beautiful yard! I wish we had mulch around our swing set but our barn cats kind of think mulch is a litter box. : ( I was always pretty unapologetic about the number of outdoor toys our kids had too. Most of them were from garage sales or hand me downs so they hardly cost anything, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed them! Like you, we stayed home a lot when they were little, and they were never bored! Now we’re slowly passing our things on to others, as our kids are getting bigger, and it’s bittersweet!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Angela! I’ll be sharing LOTS more pictures of our yard later this summer and fall — it’s always very “underwhelming” in the spring… but once the flowers start blooming and the annuals get bigger, it really looks very nice (if I do say so myself!)


  12. Heidi


    We’re trying out your “inside toys becoming outside toys” idea this summer on a few things that I’m ready to get rid of but my girls aren’t. I’m excited to get those out of the playroom!


    Andrea Reply:

    ah yes, we just moved a handful of inside toys outside this weekend. The kids think it’s AWESOME and so do I!


  13. Tina


    If we had a yard like that my kids would think they were in wonderland.


    Andrea Reply:

    I know! That’s why we love staying home all the time!


    Tina Reply:

    Lol-so true!


  14. Ann


    My hand is raised to buy your pool!
    I found one last summer but it has some gouges in it and they are sharp so I keep my eyes peeled for another!