How to keep your stuff organized.
There's never a bad time to get your gear organized. You’ll know immediately what you have and be able to access it quickly and easily… not to mention the money you'll save on not repurchasing what you already have. So here are some easy steps toward getting things in order and making more time for you to be outdoors.
Dust off the Cobwebs
Clean the debris off all of your gear, from clothes to equipment. You should always clean any kind of sports equipment at the end of each season’s use.
Hunt and Gather
Pull together all the sports equipment your family has—gather it from the basement, the man cave, the garage. Don’t forget the accessories, such as clothing, tools, tackle boxes, tents, bullets, etc.
Group Like Items
Put everything in piles according to what sport they relate to. Toss the broken and unusable items; donate stuff you no longer want, use, or fit into. The remaining items are what you’ll be organizing.
Size up Your Storage Options
Think shelving, pegboard, slatwall systems (either entire walls or by the individual line), ceiling-anchored storage units, baskets, cupboards, and even J-hooks. And think vertical when looking for space to store equipment—garage and basement walls work well. Pegboard is the cheapest material to hang. Slatwalls tend to be a little more expensive. Both allow for multiple accessories such as specialty hooks, baskets, and even special fishing-pole holders—very versatile.
• Shelving is great for long-term storage, especially combined with clear, labeled bins that show what's inside while keeping bugs and mice out. Rotate the current-season bins to the lower shelves and the off-season bins to the upper shelves. This ensures easy access. Clear bins are also good for small equipment like helmets, gloves, hats, shoes/boots, mitts, balls, reels, flies (sorted in multisectioned plastic boxes of their own), etc.
• A yard-tool tower can hang on the wall to keep delicate fishing poles away from little hands; it can also rest on the ground to hold bats, hockey sticks, golf clubs, etc.
• Bulky items like tents, sleeping bags, and ice chests store well on shelves that hang from the rafters in garages and basements. They’re up and out of the way but handy when you need them. For around $40, they’re a great deal.
• Golf club bags and carts tend to be difficult to store, but they can stay clean and available at the same time by storing them in storage cabinets in the garage or basement or kept in a closet.
• Think safety when storing guns. They should always be stored in locked cabinets or gun safes; bullets should be stored separately.
Keeping your equipment in good working condition and easily accessible are the best reasons to getting your gear organized. And watch out: you might be able to fit a car or two into that garage!
Katherine is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and owner of Mind Over Matter (MOM).