Three steps to organizing outdoors: Create a streamlined porch, patio, or deck

Have you put so much effort into fixing up the inside of the house that the outdoor area became an afterthought? Well, the porch, patio, deck is also important, because you and your neighbors can see it. My three easy steps for getting organized outdoors are to de-clutter, store, and decorate.

Step 1: De-clutter
Start by going through everything, separating unwanted items, and categorizing the remainders by use, such as all pool or beach items together, and so on. Unless you are using it now or sometime soon, say goodbye to the extras. Damaged articles can go straight to the trash and the nicer things can be donated or sold.

Protect the “keep” items in plastic air-tight boxes or at some type of bags or covers. You may also want to cover the BBQ and any electronics like TVs when not in use. Also note that anything in cardboard moving boxes is susceptible to water damage and pests. The same goes for books or bags of clothing that are not correctly sealed.

Step 2: Store
Keep the floor clear by using vertical shelving. Hanging shelves can be difficult when you are drilling into concrete exterior walls, so I prefer to go with free-standing options like an enclosed plastic cabinet. Sometimes called a “utility storage cabinet” or a “vertical storage shed,” this solution instantly adds shelving space while hiding items behind the closed doors.

Most outdoor shelving models hold to up to rust, have multiple shelves, two doors, and are easily lockable for security or child safety. I found one from Suncast on and another from Keter that are both great ($75-180 depending on size).

Step 3: Decorate
Once you have stored items, use the rest of the available space for comfortable and functional furniture that is especially made for outdoor use. Light colored outdoor fabric gets dirty quickly and is hard to clean, so you may want to choose darker colors. Also consider protecting seat cushions and pillows when they are not in use with The Container Store’s “outdoor cushion bags” ($10 each).

Furniture pieces with dual purposes, such as garden stools can function either as seats or tables. I also recommend benches and tables that are hollowed out for hidden storage. sells a “wicker storage accent table” ($49) and the “50 Gallon Patio Storage Bench” by Suncast ($81) with additional space inside.

In the end, an outdoor space is an extension of your home with valuable storage opportunities and space to relax so the key to creating an organized outdoor oasis is to have only what you need, good shelving, and furniture that stands up to the elements. Happy Organizing!

Tatiana Knight Casas is a Professional Organizer who appears on Lifetime’s Designing Spaces. Call 305-502-6391 or send an email to to schedule an assessment in the South Florida area or for closet design services from The Container Store.

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