Balls and bats, cleats and uniforms — athletic equipment can quickly clutter up the garage if not properly organized. The first way to combat clutter is to categorize your gear, says Barry Izsak, author of Organize Your Garage in No Time and owner of Arranging It All in Austin, Texas. “If everything for one sport is stored in one place, you can just grab it and go rather than wasting time looking for it,” Izsak says. Once items are sorted, plan your space and purchase — or repurpose — various storage solutions to keep your gear ready for game day. Consider these ideas.
If space allows, anchor your garage’s sports zone with a dedicated unit containing separate shelves for gear such as helmets, kneepads, and roller blades. Small items can be placed in plastic or wire baskets for easy access.
These space-saving panels easily attach to the wall and can be customized with hooks, shelves, and baskets. Slatwall is a great choice because it accommodates a variety of sports equipment, says Kevin Hall, co-owner, Clutter No More, Inc., and member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. “A slatwall system alleviates the cost of purchasing sport-specific storage items,” he says. For instance, depending on your needs, you could add a hook for a golf bag or mesh ball bag, baskets for tennis rackets and bike helmets, and a wire shelf for swim gear.
Preserve valuable floor space by storing tall items — including baseball bats, hockey and lacrosse sticks, and oars — upright in tall barrel-style containers. “Clean garbage pails work great for storing long and narrow items, and they are waterproof,” Izsak says. Be sure buckets are tall enough that they won’t tip when long-handled equipment is placed in them.
Free up floor space by mounting bikes on designated racks for the wall or ceiling, depending on how often you ride.
Ceiling Hooks and Racks
Suspend large items such as kayaks and canoes from the ceiling with specially designed hooks. You can even install a pulley system for easier access. Keep sleds and toboggans out of the way during warmer months by placing them in ceiling racks. (More delicate — and pricier — equipment such as skis and snowboards is generally best stored indoors the back of a closet, as they can be damaged by temperature fluctuation.)
For easy transport, stash basketballs, soccer balls, and volleyballs in mesh bags, rolling bins, or inexpensive wheeled laundry hampers. If balls mainly stay at home, you can string up a hammock in the corner to corral them.
Izsak suggests stowing baseball mitts, balls, and other gear in plastic baskets or milk crates on a low shelf. “Kids love rummaging through them,” he says, “and it’s easy for them to put their own sporting gear away. Plus, these portable containers can easily be carried outside.”