Winter is coming! That means it’s time for fun tasks like holiday shopping, putting up the Christmas lights and planning for holiday traditions and celebrations. Unfortunately, it also brings a few not so fun tasks like putting on your winter tires, getting out the cold weather clothing and winterizing your shed.

Just a few hours of work before winter hits can do wonders for keeping your shed clean and organized and protecting everything inside throughout the harsh winter months. Follow our checklist to properly winterize your shed and make sure nothing gets left out in the cold (figuratively and literally!).

Clean Out The Inside of the Shed

The first step to take when winterizing your shed is to clean out the inside! If possible, you should take everything out of the shed so you can give it a more thorough cleaning.

Once the shed is empty, or as much as it can be, wipe down shelves and storage areas, sweep the floor and clear cobwebs from the walls and ceiling. While everything’s out of the shed, it’s a great time to throw out old or broken tools and equipment that you no longer need.

While you’re cleaning and organizing, you should also make sure that everything you’ll need for winter is readily accessible. The last thing you need is to be climbing over the lawnmower to get to the shovel in a snowstorm or be unable to find the toboggans on a snow day for the kids. Put the winter stuff as close to the front of the shed as possible and tuck away the summer things until the warm weather returns.

Inspect the Roof, Doors and Windows

Nobody likes a leaky or drafty shed, so take the time now to check for any problem spots. Make sure there are no leaks in the roof, that all windows and doors close securely and that everything is sealed tight to prevent water, snow and wind from getting inside. Properly sealing any openings also prevent animals from entering and causing damage.

Make any necessary preparations now to prevent damage to the shed and equipment inside. Plus, it’s better to do repairs now than when it’s cold and snowy outside!

Drain Water From Hoses and Tanks

When water freezes and turns into ice, it expands. When water left inside hoses, pipes and tanks freezes, the expansion can cause cracks and damage.

To prevent this from happening, thoroughly drain and dry out your hose or anything that uses or holds water. In some instances, you may want to consider adding a non-toxic antifreeze solution as an extra safeguard for when the temperatures drop. 

Winterize Any Engines Stored in the Shed

Gas and diesel-powered engines require winterization to prevent damage to the fuel systems when the temperatures drop. To do this, you should either drain as much fuel out of the tank and fuel lines as possible or add a fuel stabilizer. This is also an ideal time for an oil change and to clean or replace any fuel and air filters.

For batteries, you should disconnect it and bring it into your house or garage for winter storage. Batteries can freeze if left in an unheated space for the winter, which can shorten their lifespan or damage them to the point of needing replacement.

Protect Seeds, Soil and Textiles from Rodents

Pretty much every homeowner has had the unfortunate experience of opening the shed and discovering some damage done by rodents or other animals in their absence. While the best defence is to keep them out of your shed altogether, that can be a difficult feat as they try to find an escape from the cold.

Store materials such as soil and seeds, as well as textiles like patio furniture cushions, inside sealed plastic bags or containers. This will prevent rodents from getting inside and can also protect the contents from moisture.

You may not be ready to say goodbye to the wonderful days of fall quite yet, but leaving your shed winterization too late can be costly in the long run. By properly winterizing both the shed itself and everything inside, you’re setting yourself up for a well-protected winter season and fewer headaches in the spring when it’s time to emerge from the snow and get back to gardening.


Before you snuggle up to the fireplace for the winter…have you checked up on your insurance coverage lately? Give Cayuga Mutual a call and we’ll make sure that your home, shed and any other detached structures are fully insured and protected both inside and out.