Gear Closet – Mess to Marvelous

My room is not messy; it is an obstacle course designed to keep me fit.

You know it is time to take action when you can’t find gear quickly to go on trips. Enough was enough.

Got to admit after all my day hikes and backpacks since Christmas, gear just landed and made a home on the floor. What is really bad… is I am VERY lucky to have a designated gear area with lots of storage and room, but not a single item even made it close to the shelves. Last year Dan, my husband even created a nifty outdoor magazine organizer (I save every outdoor issue) and helped me create a gear organizational system. So in desperation, I dedicated a few hours and got to work. Just to get a visual – here are the before and after pics.

Before and After - Gear Mess

Before and After - Gear MessBefore and After - Gear Closet

The results are not perfect, but good enough for this not so neat hiker. It is a relief that I can now get ready for that next adventure very quickly … so great.

The reward…

Double Rainbow - Tehachapi, CA
Double Rainbow – Tehachapi, CA

a double rainbow in full display right out my own back door!

Problem is I now have the pressure to put things back where they belong. Anyone have any helpful suggestions?


  1. consider a gear ‘hamper’- a temporary dumping spot, until things can be washed/mended sorted back into the proper shelves. Just a thought.

    • I think you may have come up with a great idea. Kind of like recycling or sorting laundry. Thanks for the tip!

    • The Beekeeper (aka Jan aka roaming angel in bright pink hat)

      That’s exactly what I implemented! It works great, I have two large bins in the my gear room where I “stage” between trips.

  2. Snakebait

    Sorry to contradict, messy rooms don’t make you fit. They make you nimble. : )

    • Hey! I love the idea of dodging around piles of gear resulting in a NIMBLE hiker. So good to hear from you Snakebait! Hope you are out there exploring and having fun in the outdoors! Always appreciate your humor and comments.

  3. The Beekeeper (aka Jan aka roaming angel in bright pink hat)

    Can’t help but laugh as my gear room is in exactly the same state. I’ve got organization systems, but it seems the room becomes a big pile at this time of year. I think it’s because winter requires such cross-over of gear. I committed to getting mine cleaned up after I prep for my first-of-the-season backpack trip. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • You are so right. One of the culprits in the winter is bringing in the gear that requires drying out after a trip. It has to be spread out, right? The challenge is moving to the next step when it is all dry and put it away.

      My last straw was when it took a lot of time digging through piles just to find essential items to go on my latest backpack in Joshua Tree National Park. Enough was enough. Wishing you a fun and rewarding day getting organized for your upcoming adventures!

      • The Beekeeper (aka Jan aka roaming angel in bright pink hat)

        At least we know we are playing a lot when our gear rooms are a mess!

  4. Everything in its place and a place for everything. It’s wonderful to have space for it all. Remember the feeling of order, and like “Chi” says, just do it. It takes me a week sometimes to put everything away, but when it’s done, it feels great and it makes the next trip easier. And what a beautiful reward you received for your efforts!

  5. Please, please come and help John do the same!!!

  6. Can you come to my house ?

  7. Nice clean-up! Now you are ready for whatever may come. And looks like you could outfit a small scout troop too!!

    • Ahhh you caught me and I didn’t even show the other side of the shelves where the sleeping bags and backpacks are stored! I have been backpacking for over 20 years with my kids, so I have accumulated much gear for different ages. And… you are right I could service a boy scout troop out of that room and have done just that on an occasion or two.:)

  8. Just do it!!!!
    A perfect strategy!

  9. I can relate to that, I can clean up and everything and after the next trip it all over the place again, I haven’t got enough discipline to keep it up 😉
    One idea so that in future it is that after every trip you go directly to that shelf and just do it?
    I know it is easier said then done.
    But the shelf looks good.

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