Tips for Storing Outerwear and Sports Equipment

Keep your sports equipment at the ready by placing in-season items in more accessible storage, and out-of-season ones in areas that are more out of the way. Racks or perforated hardboard provide handy places for baseball bats and tennis rackets. Camping and fishing gear are made easily accessible by storing items in deep cubbyhole shelves near the garage door. Metal school lockers – either new or recycled – also make smart storage units. Basketballs, footballs, and sleeping bags can rest in a simple nylon hammock, hung overhead.

Hang bikes overhead on hooks to save space, or suspend men’s bikes from the crossbar. Consider floor racks for parking, but for winter storage, it’s a good idea to keep the tires off the ground.

Skis are easily propped up by the pair or grouped in a rack. Snowshoes, skates, and small sleds are best hung on nails, spikes, pegs, or hooks. Toboggans and bigger sleds can rest atop raised platforms or on ceiling joists or collar beams in the garage.

A mudroom provides space for donning and doffing outerwear without tracking dirt into the house. Furnish it with a long bench for removing wet boots and rain pants, and pegs or hooks and a long shelf for parkas, gloves, and hats. Equip the area beneath the bench with drawers or a storage chest for dry socks and shoes. A source of heat – an adjacent water heater or heating duct – can help clothes dry quickly. Make sure the floor can withstand moisture.

Dry items, like skates and mitts, on shelves. Make the shelves with wire screen or hardware cloth sandwiched in a frame of 1x3s; stagger the joints between the upper and lower frame pieces. To install the shelves in a corner, attach ledger strips to the adjoining walls and a 2×4 post flush against the unsupported corner of the shelves. To dry shoes and boots, drill angled holes into a 2×10 board and glue in dowels. Fasten the board to the wall.

Provided there is sufficient clearance, a carport is a handy spot for ski equipment. Skis, poles, and a car ski rack can rest on dowels in a long, shallow closet. Boots can go on the floor – or inside your house in very cold climates. For security, choose hinges with fixed pins, attach the hinges to the inside edges of the door and frame, and install a security hasp and padlock on each door.

Boots and skis for a large family are easy to keep in order in the shallow compartments built on the stairway landing. Skis are propped up against the back of the closet wall with pegs to keep them from sliding sideways.

Poles are hung from dowels glued into a strip of wood which is then attached to the side of the cupboard.

To hang a bike along a stud wall, fasten closet rod brackets to two adjacent studs, then s\set the bike’s crossbar in the notches. To hang bikes from a ceiling joist, build a T-shaped rack. Cut the vertical supports and brace from 2×4 stock and the crossbar holders from 1x3s. Notch the top ends of the supports to hug a joist and saw half laps at the bottom ends. Cut round notches into the top edges of the holders, then bolt the supports to the joist and holders. Nail the brace between the supports and place the bike in the crossbar notches. In a garage, size the racks so the bikes won’t obstruct parked cars.

Very light boats such as kayaks can be hung from an inside or outside wall in loops of rope. For heavier boats, build a simple rack fastened to garage wall studs. Use lag screws to attach a 2×4 to the side of a stud and then brace it with another 2×4 installed diagonally. Boats can also be hung from joists or collar beams – providing they can handle the weight. If you’re unsure, check with a professional. You can also build a cradle with a pulley system.

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