As a junk removal company in Vancouver, we do a lot of clean up on people’s residences. When our clients need to get rid of rubbish around their outdoor space, we get to see junk piles transformed into hidden gardens, patios and freed-up storage areas.
So, we thought we’d give you some tips on essential outdoor clean up tools to keep in your shed. You can use the tools for your own DIY clean up, or lend them to a junk removal team, like ours, to help you out (provided the junk removal company you hire will do all these tasks for you!).
Before you use heavy outdoor clean up tools, have these handy basics ready!
You might find that even if you go to the hardware store or scrounge Craigslist for garden clean up tools, you’ll be stuck without some basics. Avoid making two trips by checking these items off your list first!
1. Gardening or work gloves, and safety wear
Choose gloves that can get dirty, get wet and protect you from pokes or sharp things! Also, a good grip will help when carrying heavy items, and prevent blisters.
It goes without saying that you should also be wearing protective footwear. Please don’t wear your flip flops if you’re going to be clearing out heavy items that could smash your toes! In fact – safety gear all around is a good idea (like helmets, if you’re going into a tall storage area to move out boxes stacked high).
If you will be on the ground a lot, try knee pads too!
2. Outdoor cleaning soap agents
While you could try to use regular household cleaners for your outdoor patio clean up, note that there are some store-bought solutions that are made for certain types of stuck-on ‘guck’ on the outside of your home. If you use a pressure washer, there are also soaps you can attach for better cleaning (more on pressure washers below).
Some cleaning products are meant for cleaning stone and tile, deck and wood, or even siding. They might give you an easier time than trying to use agents meant for your kitchen or bathroom. Plus, they may also attach to a hose nozzle of some sort, so you can just spray and wash.
3. Hose, hose nozzles and outdoor cleaning wands
Your building will likely have an outside valve for attaching a water hose. A water hose is an easy and cheap investment that can make cleaning (and lawn watering) so much easier. You can also attach two hoses together, for extra length.
When you get your hose, you can also get nozzles that increase the pressure of the water ‘spray.’ This is useful so that the power of the water alone can clean up your patio, siding, or whatever it is you’re spraying water at!
Even more useful, some cleaning wands are longer and may come with pivoting brushes on their ends. This is to help you clean outside surfaces with running water and soap more easily. Here is an example.
4. Spray bottles, cleaning towels, buckets etc.
Have your cleaning things ready! You’ll want your mop buckets and spray bottles for mixing solutions, and your towels for wiping up the soapy water if necessary!
5. Brooms and outdoor dust pans
There will be a lot of sweeping involved – leaves, rocks dirt, wood pieces – it all gets left behind. Opt for something meant for the outdoors, and that can ‘push’ a lot of debris at once. This won’t be like sweeping a kitchen floor – you need something that can handle the job. Here is an example of an outdoor sweeping bag we found online.
6. Bins and yard waste bags
You’ll need a place to put your rubbish once it’s all collected. Yard waste bags are great because they can go out in your ‘greenery’ garbage pick up service (check your local bylaws, though). Or, you can compost too!
You also need bins for carrying more ‘little things’ at once, to those yard waste bags. Or, you can use bigger trash pails to put your yard waste out for garbage day.
If you have bins with lids on them, wash them out after your yard clean up, and then use them for storage to keep things organized, and to reduce clutter.
7. Gardening tools and a handyman’s tool kit
If you plan on making your yard greenery look nice again, you will want some basic gardening tools. For example a rake for gathering leaves, and a shovel for turning dirt or lifting yard waste into your yard waste bags. You might need garden trimmers for your bushes and plants, and so on.
A hand-held garbage picker is also handy to prevent having to kneel down to pick things up.
A tool kit will be handy if you need to tighten screws on shelves in your shed, or do other minor maintenance work (like sanding off old paint on your fence, to prep for a fresh coat). A wire brush can also help with stuck-on grime – such as on a fence post, or in your grill.
Heavy duty and ‘big’ outdoor cleaning tools to make your life easier
Now, for the ‘big’ outdoor cleaning tools to help you clean your patio or garden in time for summer weather.
8. Wheelbarrow or wagon cart
A wheelbarrow is your best friend when you have a lot of garden hauling to do – especially if the material is heavy, like rocks. If you are digging up a new garden, or trimming trees with a lot of branches, a wheelbarrow can be a huge time saver.
Wheelbarrows can be an investment, costing upwards of $100 or more if you buy them new. If they are made of metal, they can rust, so keep in mind your storage needs when you do get one. You’ll need a cover, or a garage or shed to put it in, where it can be rolled out easily too.
You can also use a wagon-style cart for your garden cleanup. These typically sit on four wheels, whereas a wheelbarrow usually has one wheel, which can make it wobble if your load is too heavy. Your arms will then have to do a strong balancing act. Hence, the nice idea of a wagon or cart.
9. Leaf blower for fall clean up
If you have a lot of deciduous trees (the kind that shed leaves part of the year), your home’s outdoor space might be full of leaf debris. It can be pretty in the fall, but also annoying – especially in Vancouver, when the leaves get wet and stick to things. While the weather is dry, a leaf blower can get them off your lawn and walkways more quickly. This is an alternative to a rake, which you may still want to gather remaining leaves.
10. Leaf eater / shredder
If you keep a compost or garden, a leaf eater or shredder might be the investment for you. It can turn your leaves into mulch. They are kind of like wood chippers, only they are meant for leaves. Here is an example.
11. Lawn sweeper
This is as amazing as it sounds. It’s a tool you can use to ‘sweep’ the leaves, twigs and other unwanted debris from your lawn, without raking. You can buy these in their hand-held versions, or as attachments to a tractor, if you have one. Here is a video that shows how a hand-held lawn sweeper works.
12. Snow blower
If you want to clean your outdoor space in the winter, it will likely be for convenience (like to get out of your driveway!). For these cases, you may want to buy a snow blower for your home. Or, you can get some sort of snow plow meant for residential use (if snow really bothers you, or you have a large enough property that it’s worth the investment).
13. Pressure washer and hose
A pressure washer can save you a lot of outdoor cleaning time, not to mention the hassle of hiring someone to use this tool on your home’s outdoor ‘dirty’ spots. Pressure washers can take the grime off your house walls, pavement, brick, tile and more. They can also wash windows. They are like a water hose, but with a heavy motor that sprays water with a much stronger force than any hose nozzle attachment.
Pressure washers do require a power source and/or gas for the motor. So, if you do invest in one, remember that logistical detail. If you don’t have an outdoor plug, or some sort of generator to get the electricity, they might not be useful to you.
A pro tip: use a pressure washer after you’ve removed all junk from your outdoor space, and done a sweep for dust and debris. Pressure washers are powerful, but they splash a lot and might just get mud everywhere if you don’t do an initial clean up. Oh, and keep your windows closed too!
Pressure washers also have detergents you can ‘plug in’ to them, for extra cleaning power, or window washing.
A word of warning, however, pressure washers can be strong enough to take paint off your walls or other objects! Test them before using full force! If your concrete is weak (or still curing from a recent application), it can also dig it up and create holes.
14. Gutter cleaning tools and ladder
Gutter cleaning tools come in many varieties. Somehow, you’ll need to clear out the leaves and ‘guck’ from your gutter so that the water can flow through them more easily, and they can do the job they’re meant for.
Some gutter cleaners are on a pole, to help you reach, with a brush attachment. They can also be attached to blowers. Or they can look like a shovel meant to fit in that space.
You might also need a ladder to clean your gutter – so that’s another thing to add to your list, if you don’t have one already. The ladder can come in handy for other outside clean up tasks too. But, remember your ladder safety!
15. Shop vacuum / outdoor vacuum for easy outdoor clean up
If you really don’t like sweeping, or there are little bits of dust that a broom can’t get at, there’s a trick you can use: a shop vacuum. These heavy-duty vacuums are normally meant for things like a carpenter’s wood shop, where sawdust clean up would take forever without one. Or for renovations, where the debris is too large and heavy to suck up with a ‘regular’ household vacuum. While we wouldn’t say you should use a shop vacuum on a lot of dirt, they can be a ‘hack’ for quickly cleaning your stone walkways and such.
And, yes, there is such a thing as an outdoor vacuum which can be used on more outdoor surfaces, including your lawn! They’re not cheap though! Here is an example.
Some leaf blowers, which we mentioned above, may also be able to act as vacuums. So that may be a two-in-one investment for you. In fact, some, like this one, can also mulch, so you don’t need to get the leaf mulcher we mentioned above either!
To conclude: outdoor clean up can be a breeze with the right tools!
If you’re giddy to get your outdoor cleaning tools, we understand. Some of the cleaning tools noted above are huge time-savers, and well worth their money when you consider how long it would take you to clean up your patio or garden otherwise. And, they can also be fun! Get outside for some ‘productive exercise’ this spring, and make outdoor clean up a breeze!