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!