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Organize your stuff

camping gear on a mountain

Q. I have a lot of gear at my house. But all of it is just shoved into a box in my closet. I wind up losing a lot of stuff and it looks horrible. Is there any cheap, easy and effective way I could organize it?

—Disorganized Dude, Virginia Beach, Virginia

A. I think a lot of other readers suffer from this very same problem. I used to have it myself. Now I’m not saying I’m the vision of outdoor gear organization, but after enough years of not being able to find what I needed when I needed it, I decided to get organized.

First, I got a hold of some of those big Rubbermade-type plastic tubs (You can find them cheap—I waited until I saw them on sale at Wal-Mart for like $5 a piece). Then I started dividing my gear into groups. I filled one tub with anything that has anything to do with eating and cooking. So I put my camp stove in there, some dehydrated meals, my bowl, a pot, a pan, spork, salt and pepper shakers, etc. Then, on the outside of the tub, I labeled it: Cooking/Eating. Next, I put my sleeping bag, camp pillow, and air mattress in another. That’s my Sleep Gear tub. Another tub was filled with my tent and my hammock. When I ran out of tubs, I used a few milk crates and cardboard boxes to organize the rest of my stuff. Finally, I stacked all the tubs, crates and boxes together.

Now, anytime I need to pack for an outing, I take my packing list and just go to that closet and start shopping. I pull exactly what I need from each of the boxes and put it in my pack. It works really well and saves time. The only trick is making sure you stay organized by returning all your gear to the appropriate boxes when you come home. Good luck!

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16 Comments on Organize your stuff

  1. pro tip: if you like tic-tacs use the small containers as shakers if you save 10 or so of those duct tape them together and fill them with various seasonings

  2. Another option is to put peg board in your garage and hang the items; it’s a lot easier to find them this way. I do use tubs for some items but prefer the peg board way, its relatively cheep too.

  3. i use the top bunk of my bunk bed

  4. it sounds great

  5. spacecadet123 // July 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm // Reply

    use your trunk from summer camp

  6. mom in need // May 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm // Reply

    I am looking for the wooden camp boxes that boys take to resident camp. Any help would be appreciated

  7. use an appropriatly sized tub for your gear

  8. The Scout Lady // April 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm // Reply

    Great advice. We’re going to try this idea this weekend. Thank you!

  9. wildside126 // April 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm // Reply

    u can get a bin from walmart

  10. Perhaps clear tubs might be of an additional value.

  11. Nice organizer. Me too If you were in my house you would see our family fight.

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