Published: 28 May 2012
Seasonal Tool Check
We offer you some useful advice when it comes to the often overlooked task of maintaining your tools.

Throughout the gardening year we often dream up great plans for changing parts of our garden or creating new features or planting schemes. How often though do we take a careful look at the tools and equipment we have in the shed so we can actually carry out these future tasks?


It might not be a glamorous task, but maintaining your tool collection will save you money and frustration.
When you venture out to your shed, garage or garden tool store what do you see when you open the door. For many of us it is the result of years collecting and acquiring a range of tools; some of which we used regularly, others we push further to the back of the pile for future use. There will also be the endless mountain of all the odds and ends that one day ‘will’ be useful and must not be thrown out.
Now might be a good time to take a closer look at your stock pile of useful tools before the main gardening season starts.
The most difficult stage for carrying out this task is often making a start; try to choose a dry day when you know you have the time to complete it.  Some good advice is to have at least two large receptacles, one for the rubbish and one for the recycling. As you move items out place those that are definitely rubbish straight in the bin – it is then dealt with and the risk of it re entering the camp has gone! Always check carefully what can be safely recycled before putting it in the appropriate bin; some local authorities have certain restrictions on what can be taken away for recycling.
As you find each tool or piece of equipment check its condition, any showing signs of damage could lead to injury when being used. Also check for signs of woodworm activity on wooden handles, if these pests are present and allowed to spread it will cause serious damage to property.

Maximise Wall Space

Tools of course come in all shapes, sizes, materials and weights, when deciding on what to keep concentrate on those that are comfortable to use. Working with the wrong tools and equipment can lead to fatigue and strains, especially back ache; this is not good for anyone especially as gardening is supposed to be an enjoyable, healthy activity.
Having cleared and cleaned the storage area the next big issue is how to put everything back in, ideally in a tidy, organised manner allowing easy access for future use. 
Sort out some hanging points to maximise wall space, utilise shelves to keep smaller equipment safe, plastic buckets are great for containing small hand tools.
With the cost of replacing tools it is important to keep them safe and secure. Always keep them out of reach of young children to avoid risk of injury, they should also be secure and out of site to reduce the risk risk of theft – there is a ready market for second hand tools.
Any tools that are in a useable condition but no longer required could be taken to a local charity shop or car boot sale for future use by other people.
In future pages we will look at more specific tools and equipment to help you choose, use and maintain these important items. 
Reported by Chris Allen  

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