One of the things I was really excited about when we moved to the suburbs was having a shed. I imagined something pretty with flower-filled window boxes, organized shelves of potting tools, and rakes and brooms hung neatly in size order. However, since I failed to bring Martha Stewart along with us to help create this garden tool utopia, the shed looked less like an image from Shed Beautiful magazine, and more like a tornado had gone through Home Depot.

Eventually, of course, there comes a day where you either have to clean out the shed, or have it condemned. And since we needed the space to store our stuff, as well as have a place where I could banish my husband when he snored, I had to bite the bullet and clean the shed.

With unseasonably warm weather in the forecast, I decided to get a jump on spring and get the shed cleaning done for the season. Having done this dirty deed several times before, I had developed a step-by-step series of instructions to help me get the job done as quickly and painlessly as possible. Feel free to use my helpful list for yourself or pass it on to someone you love:

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1. Open shed doors quickly

2. Scream as raccoon comes flying out of shed

3. Slam shed doors close

4. Open shed doors slowly; glance around to make sure there are no more live wild animals in shed

5. Enter shed

6. Forget to check for dead wild animals

7. Find dead animal

8. Scream and run out of shed

9. Get garbage bag, rubber gloves, face mask, hazmat suit and NASA-certified decontamination chamber

10. Dispose of dead animal

11. Begin emptying shed

12. Go to pull rake out of corner; discover it is woven into large spider web

13. See spider the size of Godzilla in the corner of the web

14. Decided rake looks really good in corner and leave it

15. Remove pile of hoses; find another pile beneath first pile; find third pile under second pile; keep finding more hoses; wonder if Jimmy Hoffa is buried under final pile

16. Remove shovels, spades and brooms; keep one broom and use it to swat down dirt clump in corner of shed ceiling

17. Dirt clump turns into bat which flies around inside of shed looking for exit

18. Scream and run out of shed

19. Return to shed with Bat Spray, which is really aerosol deodorant because there is no such thing as Bat Spray

20. Spray deodorant in corners of shed; shed now smells powder fresh

21. Remove half used bags of potting soil, fertilizer and mulch

22. Find hammock in corner

23. Discover mice made hammock into mouse mulch.

24. Find mice

25. Scream and run out of shed

26. Return in hazmat suit; sweep mice out of shed; dispose of hammock mulch; spray more deodorant

27. Assess remaining work to be done

28. Go back in house

29. Call husband

30. Tell him it’s his turn to clean out the shed

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