Cleaning and Organizing Sports Gear
Start with the Car
When your child is involved in sports, it can be easy to end up with a car filled with mud, smelly shoes, and a variety of sports gear. Before long you’ll find that your car has been taken over by the countless items needed to enjoy their sport of choice. While it can feel a bit overwhelming, your child’s love of sports doesn’t have to take over. In fact, we have a few tips for keeping the car clean as a sports parent, without feeling like you’re constantly cleaning your car.
- Bins and Bags - One of the best ways to cut down on mess is to have storage solutions in the car. Bags for smaller items can cut down on clutter and help to make cleaning up easier. It can also help to have bins or tubs in the trunk for larger items to avoid messes from those items getting on the floors of your car.
- Clothing/Gear - Try as you might, clothing and gear can get wet on a rainy game day or muddy from a messy field. Wet clothes and gear can cause messes to your car that are incredibly difficult to clean. Put a wet bag in the car that these items can all go in. It will help you to take items directly from the car to the laundry room. *Pro tip - Use a zero waste laundry detergent that is tough on stains to keep uniforms fresh!
- Floors and Seats - When getting into the car kids can track a variety of messes in. It can help to have floor mats that are easy to clean during the season. Cleanup can be easy with an all-purpose cleaner. For seats, it can help to use seat protectors to avoid stains and messes that will have to be deep cleaned later.
Shoes, Cleats, and Large Gear Oh My!
One of the biggest ways to bring messes into the home is on your shoes. This is before you add a day of athletic activities to the equation. Cleats, athletic shoes, skates, and large gear can quickly track messes into your home. This means the time you aren’t spending supporting your young sports star is spent cleaning up the after effects of practices and games. Here are a few tips to cut down on those messes so your off time can actually be down time.
- Keep a shoe bucket at the door - One of the best ways to cut down on messes is to have a shoe bucket at the door. This bucket would be specific to athletic shoes and allow you to keep the messes from ever tracking into the house. Store shoes in the bucket before heading inside. Pro tip - If you want to cut down on future messes use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down shoes before storing them.
- Setup a sports zone in the home - Another great way to keep messes at bay is to designate a specific area in the home where all of the sports items should be stored. This can include batting gear, hockey sticks, or other larger items that might lend to a great deal of clutter in your home normally. It can also be a big help to keep an all-purpose cleaner and other cleaning supplies near these items to avoid these items staying messy or losing their effectiveness.
Have a Plan for the End of the Season
Many times when you get to the end of the season, you breathe a sigh of relief. It’s time to put it all up and take a short break before the next sport or the next season starts. After a long season, it can be tempting to put off the end-of-season clean-up. While it can be tempting, it is so important to have an end-of-season plan to avoid messes and clutter building up. Here are a few things to consider:
- Don’t put it off for later - Oftentimes gear will get set somewhere in the home or in the child’s room with the promise that it will be dealt with later. Life is busy though and it never gets done. Items that are left messy are more likely to stain or degrade more quickly. Commit to doing a postseason deep clean before moving to the next thing or choosing to take a break.
- Declutter where possible - As you finish the season, you will find that some gear and clothing don’t serve the needs they once did. Take some time to remove items that are in ill repair or need to be discarded so that you have less to store. This will help you to make the most of your space while cutting down on clutter.
- Clean gear before storing it - When putting up gear for the end of the season it can be tempting to throw it in storage for future you to handle. Instead, schedule some time to work on getting your sports gear cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner before putting it away. For clothing items, it can help to run them through the laundry using a zero waste laundry detergent before storing them for later.
- Do a deep clean of the car - Take some time to wash the car inside and out. This will help you to remove any stubborn messes and clutter from the sports season. It can help to use a carpet stain cleaner on stubborn stuck-on upholstery messes. This is also a great time to wipe down seats, windows, and other high-touch areas with an all-purpose cleaner to remove dust and germs before moving into the next season.