The more outdoors activities you enjoy the more gear you acquire. And all that stuff can pile up and take over. Like, Annie I have a guest room that is where I store all my gear. Here is her method of organizing “the room of doom.”

I wanted to write an article about organization, sort of a “How To” but I realized that each person’s organizational needs are as different as night and day. My perspective tends to be different than most as we are a married couple with no children so our storage and organization needs are completely different than that of a family of three, four or more. I couldn’t very well sit here like some Martha Stewart wanna be and say with any definiteness this is how it’s done. All I could offer was how I found a way to meet our needs to combine sensible gear storage with everyday living.

Where to store it?

One thing you may not know about this Ambassador is that I live in a small, 900-square-foot cottage. We aren’t big “gear” people, meaning we don’t have a huge amount of gear for our outdoor activities, but as any outdoor enthusiast knows even having basic gear translates into a lot of stuff to store.

Our house has what we affectionately called “the room of doom” or the guest bedroom. During Fall hunting season it would look as if a hunter’s storage chest exploded, except we didn’t have a chest to put it all in and if we did, where we would put the chest? When guests came to visit it was an ordeal to straighten and transform the clutter into a usable guest room. Stacking and piling gear in the closet like a game of Tetris and praying to all things holy, no guest dared to open it. Outdoor storage building? Spiders, lots and lots of spiders! One of the little fun things you adjust to living with at Kentucky Lake, so lawn and garden tools only outdoors. Finally, after several years of battling gear for canoeing, camping, fishing, hiking, and hunting (my husband subsistence hunts) I hatched a plan. Pinterest wasn’t even involved!

The method

My first and only purchase was made at Dollar General. Yes, the discount store where you can find everything from toilet paper to bargain socks, As seen on T.V. items, and cold medicine. I picked up few of the large-sized vacuum storage bags, I didn’t even spring for name brand and another plastic tote. Once home I sorted through two large totes of old blankets and sheets, that were stored in the “room of doom” closet. I had kept some as spares, others for sentimental reasons and more yet still designated just for camping. Everything I decided I could live without went into trash bags to be donated, the remainder was neatly folded, divided, shoved into the storage bags and then vacuum compressed. I was left with two bags of donation bound items and 3 large yet relatively flat storage bags.

I gently shoved the storage bags under the extra bed, careful not to snag them on the metal frame and turned my attention to pulling gear out of the closet along with other nooks and crannies they had been shoved into. The totes, three total, I organized the gear into by activity.

• The canoe tote; dry boxes/bags, life vests, waterproof camera case, soft tackle box, etc.

• The camping tote; mess kit, cups, coffee pot, air mattress, pump, etc.

• The hunting tote; hunting clothes, a camouflage backpack, scent spray, calls, etc.

I still have to add a rack for the fishing poles but now finding what you need is much easier when you’re ready to head outside.

The results

Preparing for our camping trip earlier this fall was a simple as grabbing the right tote, the right vacuum storage bag, our tent and food instead of endless digging. There can still be a bit of shell game finding the tote you need but versus the frustration of searching and digging, I’ll take it! August of this year we had our first guests with our new gear “system” and it worked wonderfully. Everything had it’s place, the guest were able to use the entire room with a comfortable bed and we were able to access what we needed for outings.

Hopefully you can find some inspiration, in one form or another, to get all that gear organized!

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