If you have a family that’s active year-round, by this time of year your garage is likely overflowing with a clash of seasonal sports equipment. Tennis gear, swim noodles, bicycles, softball equipment, snow sleds and hockey equipment may all be vying for space in your garage—leaving very little room to safely park your vehicle(s). However, with a little planning and preparation, you can create order and eliminate chaos.
Let’s examine five quick tips for storing hockey and other winter sports equipment while still making room to park your car inside the garage.
Tip #1: Assess Your Family’s Storage Needs
Carefully determine your family’s unique storage needs. Take inventory of the sporting goods stored in your garage and plan for any items you’d like to store in your garage. Then consider the following questions:
- What activities do we participate in?
- What kind of equipment do we need to store?
- How much equipment must be stored in the garage?
- Who needs to access the equipment?
- Does storage space need to be sectioned off by sport or individual?
- Does open storage or hidden storage best suit our aesthetic preference?
Once you’ve answered the questions above, you’ll be in a better position to choose the organization system that will form the foundation of your organized storage space.
Tip #2: Purge
As part of the previous step, you likely encountered forgotten items. Equipment for sports you or your child have lost interest in, sporting goods your children have outgrown, duplicate equipment and broken items hijack valuable real estate in your garage. Reduce clutter by eliminating these items.
Items that are still usable and in good condition can be gifted to another family or donated to a local charity. Items that are damaged or in poor condition should be tossed. Once you’ve condensed your sporting goods down to what you plan to keep, it’s time for the next step.
Tip #3: Establish a Storage Organization System
Organization doesn’t just happen. Without a storage organization system in place, disorder will ensue. Garage storage systems range from basic, do-it-yourself options and store-bought storage racks to specialized, professionally-installed garage storage systems.
Simple hooks or nails can provide a basic system for hanging hockey sticks, jerseys and pads. However, nails can damage the walls and/or sports gear. Stationary hooks provide a more stable way to hang equipment, but don’t offer flexibility.
Repurposed bookshelves or purchased shelving provide off-the-ground storage for skates and other gear. However, these items can quickly crowd your garage, making parking tricky, if not impossible.
On the other hand, a garage wall organization system provides sturdy, attractive storage space that is highly flexible—allowing you to rearrange the configuration as often as needed. The storage system is comprised of durable PVC wall panels that come in a variety of appealing, neutral colours. Corresponding shelves, hooks and baskets allow for countless storage configurations which can easily support any sport or activity.
A wall organization system provides an attractive way to organize hockey equipment and other sporting goods. However, not everyone wants the items stored in their garage to be readily seen. Garage storage cabinetry comes in a variety of price points and configurations, including locker-style cabinets ideal for storing hockey sticks, pads and other equipment.
Tip #4: Group Similar Sports Equipment
Whether you choose the open storage of a wall organization system or locker-style cabinetry, a storage organization system serves as a framework for an organized, clutter-free garage. Maximize garage organization by grouping similar sports equipment. For instance, create one section for hockey equipment and another for sleds, skis and other winter sports gear.
Another way to group items is by individual. Create a storage section for each member of the family. Within that section, equipment for various sports may be grouped separately. This will create an aesthetically pleasing space in which it is easy to find hockey equipment and other sporting goods.
Tip #5: Keep Hockey Gear Clean and Dry
It may be tempting to toss hockey gear in a bag and store the bag in the garage until the next game or practice. However, keeping damp, sweaty hockey gear in a closed bag—even in a cold garage—encourages odor and promotes the growth of dangerous germs and bacteria. If bacteria get into cuts or abrasions, it could result in a nasty staph infection. Reduce the risk of infection by at least thoroughly drying hockey equipment between uses. Whenever possible, thoroughly clean hockey gear and allow it to completely dry.
Even with limited space in your garage, you can maximize available storage for hockey equipment and other winter sports equipment. First, assess your family’s storage needs for sporting gear. Purge unwanted, unused and broken items. Establish an organized storage system. Group similar items by sport, individual or both. Lastly, reduce the risk of staph infection and foul odors by cleaning and thoroughly drying hockey equipment.
Need help creating a system and layout which maximizes storage in your garage while still allowing you to park your vehicles inside during the brutal Canadian winter? Request a complimentary consultation with a local garage renovation expert.