Has your backyard patio or deck become a dumping ground, staging area, or storage space? We find that people avoid the process of organizing because it is overwhelming and they don’t know where to start.

This can be true for our cluttered outdoor spaces, too. They afford the real estate for us to “spread things out” and all too soon they can become cluttered. Over time, these spaces accumulate displaced or overflow items. Our delayed decisions unintentionally create “staging” or “dumping” areas.

We recently helped our client, Juanita, transform her cluttered outdoor space into a backyard respite. Over the past few years, her deck had become an overflow space. With the garage and shed full, items started accumulating on the deck and even the grass.

Unused bins, pots-to-be-planted, items under consideration to be donated, and even paperwork to-be-sorted landed on her deck. Eventually, she had her husband erect a tarp over one half of the deck just to cover her staging area.

Transforming Cluttered Outdoor Space

Creeping, backlogged clutter happens to the best of us, and Juanita found herself unable to enjoy her back yard because clutter covered her living space.

Whether it’s indoor or outdoor clutter; if you can relate to Juanita’s situation, here are 4 “Cs” that will help you reclaim your space.

  1. Categorize – Get Everything Out

The first step is to get everything out of the space! Establish a large sorting area to pull all the items out.

Our professional organizer started by helping Juanita pull all the items out of the deck area and sort them by category. Categorizing first makes the decision-making process easier as you can clearly see how much you have of a particular category.

Next, they purposed the deck space – creating a potting station and a sitting area on one half of the deck. The other half of the deck became a dining area with several seating groupings for small or larger gatherings.

Assigning a purpose to different areas of the deck informed the decision of what items would go in that space. In fact, a common organizing pitfall is failing to assign a purpose to a space! Without a designated purpose, spaces become catch-alls and overflow areas. Once a space is given a purpose, clarity arises about what should live in that space.

On Juanita’s deck, the items that didn’t fit within the designated purpose were either rehomed or purged.

  1. Cull – Thin Out Your Possessions

After deciding what purpose the deck would serve, they had a lot of culling to do to deal with the volume of stuff left over. It was time to make decisions about all the items that were stashed on the deck to deal with “later”. They donated, gave away, and recycled until Juanita’s items would fit in her space.

Transforming Cluttered Outdoor Space by Hauling Donations

There are so many services out there to help you get stuff – even cumbersome items – out of your home and space. Once you know what you’re getting rid of, get on the phone and find resources! Don’t let that pile stick around and clutter your space.

For some service provider recommendations, visit our Life Simplifying Services page.

  1. Clean – For a Fresh Start

When you have determined what to keep, take the time to clean items before returning them to the space. Clean out old bins if you can, rather than buying new bins – less plastic acquisition is a good thing! Clean or dust the furniture. Even power wash or re-stain the deck or patio if needed!

After investing the time in organizing the space, cleaning gives a fresh start!  You are more likely to use (and show off) the space when items are clean!

  1. Create – the Space You’ve Always Wanted

We invite you to do more than “organize” your space – make it serve YOU!

Get creative and dream a little about how you want to use the space. Think outside the box (and possibly the floor plan!) to create a space that is unique to you.

On Juanita’s deck, we created a beautiful, shaded potting station for her. We had noticed that some of the clutter was from potting projects and determined that Juanita would benefit from, and enjoy, a place to do her potting. She even added speakers so she can enjoy her favorite music while doing one of her favorite pastimes.

We created a sitting area where Juanita and her family can actually enjoy their outdoor space.

 Transforming Cluttered Outdoor Space into Backyard Respite Sitting Area

Since Juanita had several sets of furniture, we created small groupings of chairs and tables – some high, some low – where Juanita can sit in the sun or shade as she chooses. She can also group multiple tables together for hosting larger groups.

Juanita is thrilled with her deck overhaul and said that getting rid of all that excess that she didn’t need has given her freedom to enjoy the important things. She and her family can now spend the summer enjoying their backyard respite.

 Transforming Cluttered Outdoor Space Before and After

Like Juanita, you can apply these 4 “C’s” to transformed your cluttered areas into enjoyable living spaces!

Watch our segment aired on More Good Day Oregon:



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