Getting out the door can be quite an ordeal with kids! You may often find yourself scrambling to find a lost shoe, shoulder pads, cleats, or a tennis racket. What about when you return? Is there a great big pile of shoes that greets you and just keeps growing? A launch pad is a simple and efficient space that helps maintain and contain all that comes in or goes out of your home. It is also the perfect place to keep sports equipment for those young athletes. Every item and piece of sports equipment needs to be given a home so that items do not collect into piles and are always ready for the big game. Here are some tips for organizing sports equipment in the launch pad with your kids:
Setting up home base:
A launch pad will be well placed wherever items seem to collect from their comings and goings and can be a simple piece of furniture that has drawers, an entryway closet, a mudroom, a garage, or even a kitchen desk. Think through where you and your kids usually find yourselves going in and out of the house. Also, think about the area that may continually have a pile of items. If your child always enters the house through the front door, but leaves for football practice through the back door, then shoes will find their resting spot at the front door while the sporting equipment bag will find its hook by the back door. Build your launch pad around your family and in a way that will help you and your kids.
Selecting the right equipment for the game:
- HOOKS: Use hooks to hang bags, long equipment, and anything that needs to dry. Whether using metal or plastic hooks, here are some great options.
- CLEAR BINS: We love large clear bins and just cannot say enough good things about them. They keep items containerized, yet visible, and easily accessible. This clear bin is one of our favorites!
- OVER-THE-DOOR SHOE ORGANIZERS: If you are using the entryway closet as your launch pad, then we recommend an over-the-door shoe organizer. Everything from cold weather gear to small umbrellas and sunscreen work well in this organizing product. Kids are able to see the items for an easy grab, and they can definitely catch on fast to putting items back into the pockets.
- BASKETS: Baskets are a great way to quickly store shoes, larger pieces of equipment, heavier bags paper, and other launch pad items. These baskets are at the top of our list. They are sturdy and pretty.
Designate a dugout for each kid:
How much help do your kids presently need to get out the door? Some find it helpful to set their kids up with their own vertical space so that they can quickly grab their shoes, coat, backpack, and equipment bags on their way out the door. On the way back in, it is an easy unload for the day when kids have one designated area to unload and put all items away. Giving kids their own space and helping them to build a routine around entering and exiting the home helps them to learn how to be responsible for keeping up with their own items and how to put away their items at the end of each use.
Be prepared for hit and run scenarios:
Assign an item to a hook, a category or items to a bin, a type of item to a basket and so forth. Give every item a home. It may take a little bit to build a routine, but kids can get used to putting their uniforms in a laundry basket that is kept in the launch pad, or hanging up their tennis racket. Guess what?! This makes it much easier to leave the home for practice because the items can easily be found where they were left. You will also better remember to wash those uniforms before the next game because you will see them – or smell them – in the launch pad. Anyone else forget until Monday morning rush to wash that uniform? A designated place will make it easier to remember to get ready for the next day.
Use labels for the win:
Labels, whether they are pictures or letters, work wonders for helping keep items organized and in their proper place. Especially when it comes to really young kids, picture labels can work better than words because even when they cannot read, they can recognize the items in the pictures. Once they are more comfortable with reading, then you can move onto words. Using labels is helpful for all ages because it helps kids remember where to find items and where to put items away. Whether you put a picture label of a towel and goggles, or the word “swim gear” by the hook for swim gear, this will help kids to start building the habit of hanging up their swim items on the specific hook.
Practice makes perfect:
Start with small steps that ultimately create the flow of items going in and coming out of your home. For example, if your child plays lacrosse, a uniform, protective eyewear, and a mouthguard will most likely return home in need of cleaning. All these items can easily be forgotten. You may find that a shelf with a hook nearby or a giant bin works best as features to your launch pad for all the equipment. Involve your kids in hanging the stick on the hook, throwing their uniform in a laundry basket, and then use the shelf or bin to have a clear visual of the protective eyewear and goggles to ensure they are cleaned and returned to the bag for the next game. Involve your kids in these small steps and you will soon see that building a routine around sporting equipment is the key to maintaining all those items and keeping them organized.
Which part of your home is that needed in-between place to house items, especially sports equipment, for when you leave and when you return home? Is there a routine you want to build to help your family with organizing kids’ sports equipment? To share a tip or ask a question, make sure to check out our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook!