5 sports equipment organization tips you need in your life
It's spring and I don't know about you, but the boys and I are dusting off the old baseball mitts, bicycles and more. And to be honest, you pull one piece and the leaning tower of sports equipment teeters unsteadily. We need some major sports equipment organization and we need it now! Let me talk you though my plan.
Sports equipment organization step 1: de-clutter
Half the time clean up is so hurried when it comes to sporting stuff that things are jammed any old place and that starts to show! There's no point to organizing junk, so get it out of there!
- Go through and pull out anything that's broken, missing a mate, otherwise not optimal to play with.
- The kids won't be excited about these and they won't feel obligated to treat them well.
Okay, now that you're down to the good stuff, let's move on.
Sports equipment organization step 2: what do you need?
Check out the stuff you threw out. Were they dearly beloved cleats that they've outgrown? They'll most likely need replacing. That flimsy jai alai set from the Dollar Store? Not so much. I'm not saying you need to go out immediately and restock. Although if that option is there, what a fun trip!
Mostly you need to have in your mind (or, as I like to do, in a memo on your phone) what you're looking for.
- Get specific!
- Take measurements. It sounds weird, but I could totally get to the organization store looking for baseball bat storage and blank on how big bats were in person. Write that down in your notes too.
Speaking of storage....
Sports equipment organization step 3: get your containers
For this you definitely either need to have all your sporty gear or know how much/how big your stuff will be when finished. Me being me, I take those dimensions and hop online. You can do a lot of "shopping" online rather than schlepping all over and THEN not even finding what you're looking for.
A few thoughts on containers:
- I'm not normally an advocate of "matchy matchy" anything. Organization is a whole other animal though. Get all your containers from the same company, if possible the same line. Go bigger on size if you need to, but these pieces will guaranteed lock/stack/work the same for you. And that's key to functional organization.
- Get lids! Per above, most of us will be stacking these containers. To keep them from falling into each other make sure to get well fitting lids. If they lock/clasp into place the better.
- Don't skimp. Make no mistake, this will be an investment. But it's also an investment in your clutter-free home and sanity. Plus your equipment will hold up longer if stored properly and the kids will see the model of taking care of their things. All of these things are fantastic and add to your investment!
- When buying your containers, keep in mind where you're using them. If they're for outdoor use they'll need to be sturdier than their garage counterparts.
Sports equipment organization step 4: you just had to be special, didn't you?
It would be nice if everything fit neatly in a box that you could then stack and be done, no? Ah, but it's not that easy. For every bunch of tennis balls that can be corralled into a container there's a pair of skis. Or a bicycle. Or a unicycle (hey, you're pretty cool if you've got one of those!). So what do you do then? Then you get a little crafty.
A lot of it depends on the size of what you're storing.
- Bats in the end are pretty easy. Store them umbrella-style in an upturned box.
- The rest....think vertically.
- Hang as many things as you can from hooks or add shelves, use all of any wall space you've got.
- Make sure to keep safety in mind. Have a lip on a shelf or a good hook around your tire just in case you have small investigative youngsters (or you're in earthquake land like me).
Sports equipment organization step 5: practice, practice, practice!
Okay! You've got your containers, you have your gear that's in good shape, you're ready to go! Yeah, go "train". Unfortunately, this sports equipment organization plan of yours doesn't organize itself. You and the kids will need to get in the swing of end-of-outside-time-cleanup.
- Put the organization system together with your kids so that they can see what goes where.
- Labels are also a great idea for indoor use.
- The point is that the kids need to see the effort you put into organizing. Otherwise they'll think there's just an organization fairy flying around rather than seeing it as a process.
- And hey, if there is? Send me her number!!!
- If the kiddos are old enough it's also a good time to reinforce how nice those new cleats look as opposed to the ones left out in the rain (swear, never happened over here!) and how this will keep them looking and working that way longer.
The first couple of times you'll need to pitch in with the kids to make sure they're being thoughtful about putting things where they need to be. This won't necessarily be a thrilling experience for your family, so think of a nice (small) reward after a successful cleanup. We're big fans of hot cocoa at our house. It's funny that a family hot cocoa is always fun even in the summer. Do what works for you!