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Stashing (or sometimes surrendering) all the stuff

>Problem: Not enough storage space for outdoor stuff.

Solution: Target problem areas, assess what you own.

Be it the garage, deck or other outdoor space, toys, tools and lawn equipment have a tendency to take over.

The big question: When is a shed the solution? We asked a local professional organizer.

"It's OK to get a shed if you have a garage you can park a car in. But if your garage is full of stuff, the problem isn't storage. The problem is 'stuff,'" said Jamie Shaner of Home Solutions of WNY (homesolutionswny.com).

What you need to do is first assess what you are storing -- and ask yourself whether it is part of your life right now, Shaner said.

"Are you storing your kids' sporting equipment even though the kids have grown and gone? Or is it active sporting equipment that is being used all of the time?" she said.

If it is no longer being used, sell or donate it, she said.

Or, if you hired a lawn service company two years ago and the crew does all the yard work for you, do you still need your old mower and other lawn gear?

At the same time, if you have equipment and supplies you regularly use, outdoor furniture that needs to be stored and no space to put it all, a shed is useful and convenient.

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>Other ideas

*Simple storage solutions in the garage can include installing a 2-by-4 along the wall with sturdy hooks (always keeping safety in mind, of course).

Or investing in a storage unit with adjustable shelves. An adjustable unit enables you to place the bottom shelf high enough to keep rolling bins underneath -- for kids' toys, for instance, she said.

*Add extra storage to a deck, patio or porch with a rattan-like resin trunk or some other weather-resistant material. Some pieces, often called deck boxes, double as extra seating. Look for them where outdoor furniture is sold.

*One source for finding safe and orderly garage storage solutions: Creative Storage, 634 Linden Ave., creativestoragebuffalo.com.