A well organized, clean gear storage space can be a source of inspiration. Your perfectly mounted skis can remind you of your best powder run. Your rack of cams assorted from smallest to largest makes you dream of splitter crack climbs. Or perhaps seeing your favorite pair of freshly waterproofed hiking boots brings back the feeling of being on top of the world. Having a dedicated, well-organized space to store your gear will assure you find what you need the next times adventure strikes. Here are six simple tips to help organize your gear collection.
Start with a clean slate:
Take everything out of your planned storage space and give your gear storage area a good scrubbing. Next, lay out all your gear. Make sure to take it ALL out. You may find that one missing quickdraw, or that stove repair kit you’ve been looking for. Based on the gear you have and the amount of space available you will have to decide what type of storage you are going to need.
Use right type of storage for your gear & space:
Now that you have a clean area to work with and you’ve seen all your gear laid out, make a plan. Depending on the types of gear you own, you can use your space in a variety of ways. Do you have lots of items that can be hung from pegboard and hooks? Or will bins work best for your items? Are you allowed to hang things from the walls in your space, or do you need something standalone? How can you make your drawers more organized? Make a plan to use your space as effectively as possible.
Donate or get rid of what you don’t use:
Since your gear is all laid out, sort through it. Are there items you don’t need? Maybe that down jacket with the sleeves that were too short, or the camp chair without a cupholder (the horror!) that was never used. Donate all you can. Find a local organization that helps people get outside and see if they need any items. Find a friend who might want it. You can also sell some items online if they’re in decent shape and clean (see next step).
Put everything away clean and dry:
Whether you’re keeping items or donating/selling them, make sure you properly clean and dry your gear. Cleaning (and occasionally re-waterproofing) your gear will keep it lasting longer and performing its best. Dirt, oils, campfire smoke, and other crud can cause your outdoor gear to lose water-repellency and degrade prematurely. By caring for your outdoor gear with the appropriate Nikwax products, every time you use your gear you know it will be performing its best. Here are some links to how to care for your various items:
Label, Label, Label:
Feel confident that when you grab the tub that says, “Cooking Gear” you will have everything you need; cook pots, camp stove, coffee maker, dishes, etc. Label everything properly. You’ll never again be blamed for forgetting the matches!
Go nuts and personalize!
Make the space your own. Put up photos of your best adventures and some places you want to see. Add a chalk or white board so you can list out what you’ll need to pack for your next trip. Put up a string of fairy lights or add some cool souvenirs from a big adventure. Put in some bookshelves for your guidebooks and a comfy chair for you own mini library. The sky’s the limit!