Keep the garage organised through winter

As we herald the start of winter with cold and rain becoming the norm here in New Zealand, it's tempting for everyone in the household to come in from the dark, dump their gear in the garage and head to their slippers. The sopping, clod-covered boots, uniforms, balls, sticks and mouthguards piled amongst water bottles, bibs and snack wrappers are enough to turn anyone off sports. Especially after you've watched a match drenched and shivering from the sidelines. But fear not, we're here with some simple ways to beat the crud and ban the mud from entering the hallowed ground of your hallway, read on for our 3-step method to keeping the garage organised through winter.

Initial tidy

For this to work in your favour, starting with a clean slate is mandatory. The garage should be tidy and organised, all summer gear should be returned to its storage spot and all of the winter gear brought forward for easy access. Check out this article on cleaning your garage and this one about organisation in the garage. The next step in keeping your garage tidy through winter is to enlist systems.

Create Systems

A place for everything and everything in its place - whether in the garage, the car or the laundry, if systems are in place, there's no excuse for anyone not to follow them, right?

Organizing sports gear

Keep the gear in a storage bin, basket or banana box to transfer from the car to the garage. This keeps the gear from rolling into never-never land or from getting lost in the transition to the boot and it's so easy when you get home to lift out the bin and sort the gear into washing or storing for next week's game.


Storage systems for the garage are available from all large hardware stores, but they're also something you can DIY with a little effort and ingenuity.

If you have children that play more than one sport, have tote bags in different colours for each sport — hockey gets green, rugby gets red and karate gets blue. Now when you’re rushing from one activity to the next or from the garage to the car, it’s easy to grab the correct gear and head to training.

Keeping track of oddly-shaped gear can be a nightmare. Rather than leaning hockey sticks against the garage wall where they can become a trip hazard, or shunting balls into a corner that they might roll out from, create simple, practical storage for them and you'll be forever grateful to yourself! Keep a plastic rubbish bin in the garage as a perfect corral for sticks, bats and racquets; use elastic tiebacks to fashion a ball holder on the garage wall; invest in a clear plastic tub for pads and mitts.

Make each person responsible for their gear by assigning individual storage spaces in the garage. Add each family member's name to a coat hook; give each child a cubby, locker or drawer so that they can be responsible for putting their gear away and they also know where to grab it from come game day.


Tips on cleaning sports gear

For heavily soiled items such as muddy shorts, let the mud dry before shaking it or vacuuming it off. Use straight liquid laundry detergent as a pretreatment on the underarms of jerseys and on other stains and let it sit. This gives the cleaning agents time to work. Make sure you don’t jam too much into the washing machine or the clothes won't rinse well enough to become clean, the yuck and smell will just work its way further into the fibres.

Note that it might not be necessary to wash sports jerseys after every practice. Instead, turn them inside out and (weather permitting) hang them outside, along with shorts and pants. Don’t let children stuff the clothing away in their bags. 

If you want to keep a special sports jersey after a season is over, be sure to clean it before putting it away. Never store dirty sportswear.

Most items — shin guards, pads and gloves — can go in the washing machine. Include a towel to encourage extra rubbing action and to provide protection. Use cold or warm water, not hot, and always air-dry. For padded items with plastic (shin guards for example) put them in a mesh laundry washing bag or a pillowcase. This protects the machine and the equipment from scratches. It’s also good to check the care tag for cleaning instructions.

Gym bags

Bacteria from body odour on gym gear makes bags stinky. Help to prevent odour from building up by spraying the inside of the bag with aerosol deodorant. This also works well for padded helmets where perspiration gathers.


If the mud on sports boots is still wet, let it dry for easier removal. Bang the boots together to remove loose gunk then use a brush to clear away dirt. 


The easiest way to clean a cap is with the dishwasher! Use a clothes peg to secure it to the top rack before starting a cycle. Air-dry the cap over a can or a blown-up balloon to help keep its shape. Another option is to use shampoo, which is designed to break down body oil. For particularly dirty spots, use a toothbrush to scrub with shampoo and water.


Far from squelching your child’s spirit, rules are needed for kids to flourish & bloom.


It's kind of a no-brainer, but how many times do you find yourself picking up or cleaning up just because that's the simpler option to getting mess and clutter out of your line of sight? 

Family rules enable parents and children to establish consistent guidelines that will help everyone know what is and what isn’t expected of them. Break large tasks into small pieces for younger children and keep expectations simple for habit-forming results. For instance, you could make it a rule that everyone sorts out their gear immediately after getting out of the car, putting equipment in its assigned box or bin, placing dirty uniforms in a wash basket and hanging bags on designated hooks.

State your rules in the positive, such as "We look after our gear so we can play with it again and again" rather than "Put your stuff away or it'll get thrown in the bin".


Painful though it might be to start, consistency is the key to making good habits become second nature.

We hope this article has been helpful in providing tips to help you keep your garage tidy and organised during the muddy season! If you're considering a new garage door and want the best advice along with the best protection for your home and family, talk to Dominator.

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