Chores & Cleaning Up

Sports Equipment Blues

How to organize your family’s sports equipment in a fun, practical way.

A good cleaning tip is to keep all related items together and in their own specific location.
A good cleaning tip is to keep all related items together and in their own specific location.

This elegant home has everything a family could wish for: five bedrooms, five bathrooms, heirloom furniture, a swimming pool, and a guesthouse. But walk through the front door, and elegance is the last thing that comes to mind.

The first thing you see is the living room – strewn with fencing equipment, basketballs, baseball gloves, hockey sticks, and the like. To add insult to injury, the 11- and 15-year-old boys responsible for this mess can never find what they need when it’s time to leave for practice.

In this house, the boys’ rooms are up a steep flight of stairs, not exactly conducive to carrying heavy equipment up and down every day. And there is no front hall closet or mud room for stowing equipment.

Holly Uverity, ADDitude‘s organizing expert, to the rescue! When I saw the situation, the solution became immediately clear: the 3-Compartment Chrome Laundry Sorter ($39.99 at Target). It’s made with a heavy-duty chrome steel frame from which hangs a sturdy cotton bag that’s divided into three sections – one section for one boy, one for the other, and a third for overflow. The vertical steel supports are long enough to accommodate the fencing equipment, tennis racquets, and bats. There’s also two inches of hanging space on top for backpacks, helmets, sweatshirts, caps, even pocketbooks and totes. One tote is reserved exclusively for balls – baseballs, basketballs, and volleyballs. The other is for UFOs.

Best of all, the sorter comes on wheels so you can keep it in the hallway where the kids drop their stuff (heading them off at the living room entry), roll it into a hidden corner of the living room if company is coming, or roll it into the kitchen if the President is expected for tea.

Containers are designed to meet certain organizational needs. But you can be creative about what you need to hold which items. This laundry sorter-cum-sports solution is a perfect example of how you should assess the mess first, then buy the right stuff for your stuff.