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Do It Better: Tips for Storing Sports Equipment

By Joyce Venezia Suss

If anyone in your household participates in sports, you probably have an end zone where athletic gear accumulates. If seasons overlap, it can become chaotic trying to keep things organized. Here are some tips to tackle all that equipment.

First, sort everything, then determine what to keep, discard or donate. Ask local charities if they accept gently used sports equipment, or perhaps your town has sports swap events.

Determine the best place/s in your home to store sports equipment. Bulky items may be best in a garage or shed. Put off-season items in a time out in the basement or attic, but first launder all athletic clothing and hand clean items like ice skates, baseball mitts, swim goggles and the like.

Smaller items used frequently (yoga mats, tennis racquets, etc.) may fit in the mudroom, hall closet or storage piece near the front or back door. Baskets work well to disguise sports items that need ventilation.

Anything dirty or fragrant from sweat needs a dedicated, ventilated area like the garage or a dry shed. Get a shoe rack for shoes that have muddy cleats or are damp (remove the sole pads to dry them out). Use hooks or a rack for uniform gear like football shoulder pads, padded ice hockey pants and gloves, etc. Use deodorizers and replace as needed.

The goal is to keep as much equipment as possible off the floor. In the garage or basement, store equipment on shelves using wire baskets, laundry baskets, or anything with open sides. Clear plastic boxes are OK if used without a lid; if you want to use the lid, drill a few holes around the box for ventilation, to prevent mildew. Use bins to sort by sport or season. Mesh laundry bags also work well and can be hung on hooks.

If space is limited, look for a sports equipment organizer on wheels that holds a variety of items and keeps them off the floor. Also consider wall-mounted organizers made for specific items like baseball bats, bicycles, and racquets for tennis, pickleball, and ping-pong.

For balls, look for ball claws, storage nets, and/or bins with elastic sides that allow easy access to balls on the bottom. Keep a ball pump nearby with a variety of needles to keep balls inflated.

Group items by sport or by type. Long items like lacrosse sticks, baseball bats and ski poles can be stored in a tall can. Hang helmets on sturdy hangers. Large duffel bags work well for bulky equipment but store them in a location where critters can’t find a warm winter home.

Do-it-yourself storage ideas include a wall pegboard with hooks and small sections of gutter to hold small items; bungee cords to corral things together; and PVC pipe to create custom equipment holders.

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