In the past, we’ve provided what we think is a great quantity of useful information on de-cluttering your entire life (including of course your living spaces). But we generally haven’t focused on specific tips for types of clutter. After all, that list could get long quickly when you think about kitchens, crafting areas, storage closets and even children’s rooms. But since we’re giving advice specific to consumerism, “stuff” and sports this month on Postconsumers.com, we thought we’d take some time to break down de-cluttering advice specifically for sports gear. So take the plate, here are our five best tips for getting rid of sports gear related clutter.
The “Do I Use It?” Rule Still Applies
You’re surely thinking right now that every time we post an article about clutter we ask you to think about whether you’ve actually used an item in the last year – and you are tired of hearing that advice! But the advice still holds true when we’re talking about sports equipment, and perhaps even more so because there are plenty of ways to justify needing sports equipment that you don’t use. Bear in mind that every sport has a season it is played in, so if you have gone twelve months and not used a piece of sporting equipment, chances are high that it’s really of no value to you. We know the excuses for not getting rid of it. “But what if one day we suddenly feel like hitting some baseballs and we don’t have bats or balls?” or “What if my kid changes his/her mind about this sport?” Some of those may even make sense. However, your goal here is to stop holding on to clutter. So let the excuses go. The percentage chance that you’re just going to “feel” like playing a sport you haven’t played in over a year is pretty slim. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in twelve months as much as possible, no matter how easy it is to talk yourself out of that choice.
Get Organized by Sport
It’s possible that you only store gear for one sport – perhaps you are just that in love with soccer! However, in most households where sports equipment finds a home, you’ll quickly notice that it’s usually for a variety of sports and athletic endeavors. Part of the path to reducing and controlling clutter is knowing exactly what you have and how to easily find it so that you don’t end up just purchasing new items in order to replace things that you own and just can’t locate. Don’t roll your eyes, almost everybody has done that at one time! For sports equipment, the most effective way to do that is going to be to organize everything by sport. That way, when you’re looking for the tennis rackets and balls, you know exactly where to go. And if what you want isn’t there, you know that you do need to replace it and it’s not a matter of the tennis rackets just being stuffed behind the hockey sticks. Of course, for this to be effective, you have to be responsible about making sure things get put back regularly. That’s why tip three is so important.
Check and Organize Things At the End of Sports Seasons
Where de-cluttering often goes wrong is that, after the initial de-cluttering is done, there’s no regular maintenance to keep things orderly and tidy. In general, we always recommend a schedule for updating your de-cluttered area, and with areas dedicated to storing sports gear setting up a schedule is pretty logical and easy. Remember how earlier we mentioned that every sport has a season? (Yes, we know, there are a few exceptions with sports you can play indoors and outdoors). Well, simply determine that you will clean out your clutter-risk area at the end of each sports season and only clean out the areas dedicated to that sport. That way, everything is getting regular maintenance and you are never overwhelmed with having to clean out the entire area at once.
Quick Tip: Check for Sizes
This one is fast and easy and a good way to clear some things before going through the mental battle of getting rid of things based on deciding if not using them for a year is a good enough reason. If you have kids who play sports, chances are extremely high that you have stored sports gear that just isn’t the right size for them anymore. Make this one of your first steps and you’ll be able to eliminate tons of gear just based on picking up things that are too small or too junior for your athlete in training to use any longer!
Feel Good About Where Your De-Cluttered Sports Gear Goes
These days, de-cluttering your sports equipment can be an exercise in doing good. There are so many after school programs, community centers, church programs and even (believe it or not) schools that could really use your gently loved sports gear to keep their underfunded athletic programs up and running. That gear is doing less good being hoarded in your closet than it would helping a kid to stay occupied, out of trouble and involved in his or her local community. If nothing else motivates you to get rid of gear, think of the good you’ll be doing for a kid or program that really needs the help.
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