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Shavings storage ideas

I have a 6 stall barn (2 of those is tack/feed room and the other 4 are actual stalls) - I was using one of the stalls to keep shavings, pitchforks, shovel, broom, etc., but now I have a friend’s horse coming next month and I need that stall available. I have figured out a spot for almost everything, except the shavings. I thought about storing them out in one of the concrete compost bins I have and putting a tarp over them, but I’m nervous about them getting wet (I live in Florida). The only other spot I can think of is the space above the feed room, which is honestly perfect, except I don’t know how safe that is? I have a carpenter friend who I can ask to build a ladder into the wall, but I’m nervous with carrying shavings up there or bringing them down. Does anyone have any similar setups and do they find it unsafe? I think it’s a great idea space-wise because theres plenty of it up there, I just don’t know if that’s what it’s designed for and if I should figure something else out. I attached a photo of the space and circled where the ladder would go. I’m going to move the outlet box and I’m getting rid of the bench and will be hanging pitchforks, shovel, and broom there instead. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions to make that setup work and safe I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!

Drop-down stairs (with handrails if possible) would make it totally usable. A counterweight upstairs would make it super easy to drop and lift. I used drop-down stairs daily in an old bank barn and it was no problem even without a railing … but I would have preferred a railing.

If doing drop-down stairs, I’d put them above the door where it appears you have a bit more headroom up top. I would be concerned about having to crawl around up there though if the headroom is as low as it appears. Stairs or not, it would not be super fun.

If you buy plastic-bagged shavings, get them by the pallet and store them outside. They will be wrapped. If you carefully open the wrapping near the top cutting down only as much as you need to get the next layer off and tarping over the top, you’ll be fine. If you’re shavings come in paper bags, indoors is preferable.


You are a good friend. I had a similar idea and had a small loft added to my barn when I did the renovation. It was a 30 year old self idea. My 50 year old reality self just couldn’t get comfortable navigating getting things up and down the vertical ladder. I use the space but for seasonable storage (fans in the winter, heated buckets in the summer). And use a real 8’ ladder the carry the stuff up and down. Also, at least mine, is a dust collection site.

Thanks for your responses! I was thinking about how low the ceiling is there too, it really is more like a crawl space and that might not be as practical as I’d hoped. This might be stupid, but could I just buy shavings as needed?

My mare is clean in her stall, and my weekly routine takes me past feed stores, so I have done fine buying bagged bedding as needed for long stretches of time. I have a loft with stairs but I only have extra shavings up there if I get the feed store to deliver and then I toss them down the hay drop into the stall as needed


if doing that there will be times that no shaving will be available

We have room to store months of bagged shavings even so there have been times when we wanted to restock the best price supplier was sold out

Here locally there are shaving supply companies that will bring 20 ft shipping containers of shavings that hold 50 cubic yards of bulk or about 250 bags, dropping the container with the shavings to used as needed, bring a new one when needed. We are not allowed by zoning to have such deliveries, so will pick up a pallet or two as needed.

Yes … depending on your location and the individual year and where your shavings are sourced. If your supply is good, sure. At the moment I have storage for all of 8 bags (because I am not hauling them up a perfectly good flight of stairs - I am lazy and do not see the point of hauling a pallet of them upstairs one by one only to have to bring them back down again for not a very big savings) but I know that my bedding of choice is sourced, bagged, and distributed locally. If my local store is out, I can go to another close by. If they’re both out, I would merely have to coordinate my day to get to the manufacturer who will sell small numbers of bags retail but isn’t open on the weekends.

I can remember years ago when I relied on a different product, various winter issues were a giant problem. Even the beginning of the pandemic was a bit of a problem.

I will caution you about bulk shavings delivered by container. They can be absolutely unbearably dusty and the containers can be old and leaky. A small container to hold a few pallets of bagged shavings though? Brilliant.

Is your house on the same farm as your barn, and do you have a garage?

Mine is, and I do, and it is used for storage of a lot of barn stuff so I can have the barn uncluttered.


I used to buy as needed but then my supplier started struggling to keep them in stock. Now I buy 1-2 pallets at a time, but I have empty stalls to store them.

If you have multiple places to get shavings from, you are probably fine buying just what you need plus 1-2 extra for just in case.

I’m agreeing with @clanter re: shortages.
It hasn’t happened often, but my local (& most convenient) feedstore has run out of shavings & no date for restocking from their suppliers.
It might not be pretty, but getting a pallet (here that’s 50 40# bags) as @sascha suggests & keeping it tarped outdoors would let me sleep nights.
I’ve kept a pallet inside my barn:
36X36 pole barn with 3 12X12 stalls along one wall. Hay & shavings stored on pallets across from the stalls. This leaves me a 12X12 space for feed & tack storage. With enough space left to store my mini’s wire cart.

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You could try one of the inexpensive fabric storage ‘buildings’ - more like a tent - that are sold for lawn mowers and yard storage. Put that in your concrete compost bin? Dropping shavings from a loft is doable, carrying them up there no. It would be expensive, but could you put in a dormer with a door to access the loft? Always nice to take advantage of existing space.

Why carry stuff down when it would be really simple to rig up a pulley ?

Not recommending upper level storage of your sawdust bales if you have to carry them up there! Would you carry even light bales of straw up there? I foresee an accident of some sort because of the awkwardness of the load on a ladder or drop-down stairway. We had such a stairway to the attic and getting things up or down was a PITA.

I would think about the suggested small tent shelters for cars, mowers, etc., outside the barn for the sawdust. Anchor it well. Easy to get in and out of, able to use a wheelbarrow to move the bags instead of carrying them. You could buy a quantity of sawdust to get discount prices, still have it all fit under cover. Put bags on plastic pallets off the ground. Less trips (time spent) going to the store to restock at full price. Garage is another option if you have the space for storage.


This is a good point. In the barn I worked at with the drop-down stairs, we had drop holes to dump stuff from the loft to the aisle below and anything beyond the size/weight of something that could be carried in one hand was put up with a tractor and NOT taken up the stairs. I can’t see that working in the OP’s setup unless they’ve got a nice little loader tractor that can reach high enough to ram stuff up there.

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Just get them in plastic and keep them outside under a tarp. I’ve done that with pellets before without any trouble.


Totally agree you can buy as needed. Or more effectively (if there is delivery in your area), bank them in the stall and use them down until it is time for a refill.

Easier on you and comfier for horses.