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Storing Toys & Equipment

Q) The kids and grandkids visit often and we love that. We still have the kids sports equipment (basketballs, skateboards, footballs, etc.) for when they come over. But they sure take up a lot of room and aren't a "neat" shape or size to store. Any advice? Thank you.

Reply: Indeed, there are many options for you. Clear or colored plastic storage containers come in every imaginable size and shape, and some even have wheels and carrying handles.

Your first task is to take inventory of your collectibles, and sort them into categories. For example, sports equipment in this pile, cold weather clothing over there, games in this spot, etc. Once you have a good perspective on the scope of your stuff, make a list of categories so you know what you have.

Then, with list in hand, take a trip to your local home improvement or discount store, and ask where the plastic storage containers are kept; usually it's hardware, domestics or housewares. Look over your options, and mentally put your equipment into the containers, thinking about how many you need of which sizes.

Also consider the amenities: handled containers are easier to carry than those without. Large units with wheels are nice too, though some products have neither.

When you get home, put away your stuff, and label all the boxes with a dark heavy marker and masking tape. You want clean up to be easy to manage; no guessing what goes where.

Lastly, find a good spot to keep your organizers, out of the way but accessible to the kids, and teach everyone good habits, like putting things away instead of throwing on the floor, so that your system remains effective.

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Jill Ellen Shankar
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