Fall sports are starting to wrap up. My son just played his last fall football game, and his friends are finishing their fall soccer and volleyball seasons. I realized many years ago that gear is usually good for more than one season if properly cleaned and stored. If it’s just tossed in the corner of the garage somewhere, you might find it in unusable condition at the beginning of the next season. Here are some tips on how to store sports equipment.
Getting it Ready
The first thing you must do when you’re storing sports equipment is to make sure that everything is as clean as you can get it. If you’re storing uniforms or other clothing, launder it well so that organic substances like dirt, grass and oils don’t break down the material while it’s being stored. I like to put the uniforms into a separate bag from other equipment that is not as easy to clean, like helmets and shoulder pads, for storage. Space bags are the perfect solution for uniforms and clothing, especially when you’re short on storage space. Add a dryer sheet to that space bag and they’ll smell great when it’s time to wear them again!
Helmets, shoulder pads, shin guards, knee pads, and other equipment that gets sweaty but can’t be thrown in the washing machine, still needs to be cleaned before storing. Wipe everything down with plain water, or water with a little bit of mild dish soap. Next, de-stink it.
My favorite de-stink weapon is Baking Soda! Get the largest box you can find, you will need it! Put all of the equipment in a garbage bag, and place it in a spot in the garage or laundry room where it won’t be disturbed. Place a large bowl inside the bag with the equipment, and then dump baking soda into the bowl. The baking soda shouldn’t touch the equipment; it will just be in the bag with it. Then, close the bag, creating as much of a seal as you can. Leave it that way for at least a week, if not more. The baking soda will absorb the stink right out of the gear. It’s amazing!
Keeping the stink away
You can help keep your sports equipment stink-free during storage by wrapping each item in an individual bag with a small box of baking soda, a charcoal briquette (not the quick-start kind), or a commercial odor absorber. You can stuff things like helmets, gloves, and knee pads with newspaper. This will further absorb odors, and in some cases help keep the shape of the item. (This works really well with football shoulder pads, which are almost impossible to completely de-stink!)
Store that Stuff!
Now that everything is clean, the hard part is over! Select a box or storage container that fits in the space you have available and fill it with your gear. I use large plastic stackable storage bins that I bought at the local hardware store. I recommend those over cardboard boxes, as they hold up better in a garage or in a storage unit that is not climate controlled. Be sure and label the container with the sport and with what equipment is inside, especially if the container is opaque.
If you have equipment for several different sports, you should consider organizing the equipment into color coded containers. For instance, buy red containers for all of your baseball gear, and blue containers for all of your hockey equipment. During that sport’s season, rotate the containers with the equipment you need to a closer shelf in the garage. The color coding will make it really easy to make sure that everything you need is at your fingertips!
Were these tips helpful? Do you have any tips for storing sports equipment? Please Share!