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In my last post I mentioned that I was going to let you in on one of our secrets for finding all our snow gear. One of the things that puts me off getting the kids out in the winter is all the layers of clothes. Finding them. Persuading small people to put them on. And when we come back home, stripping that wet gear off small shivering bodies, and then trying to hang it up and dry it while also making hot cocoa and searching out the mini marshmallows. If we are all lying around the house playing puzzles and reading books, it’s hard to give that up even when I know I (and the kids) will reap the benefits of it later. Any way I can find to make the process of getting us outside in the winter easier is a huge benefit, and I work really hard to streamline the process as much as possible so mental exhaustion doesn’t stop us getting out there. If I can get the kids involved in getting us out the door, so much the better.
This year, my friend Michelle came up with a genius level suggestion that she posted on our local parenting group Facebook page. It’s this over the door shoe organizer.
There are 36 individual shoe holders, made of a loop of wire, and just the perfect size to hold gloves, hats, and balaclavas. Yes, I can confirm the two year old’s mittens fit on there too! The U shape means everything gets airflow, allowing everything to dry. Bigger items, like snowpants can hang off the higher loops.
We hung ours over the door, but in our small laundry room it kept banging against the wall. After we had used it for a week and realized it was going to be invaluable, my husband mounted it on the wall. Bonus, it’s directly above the air vent, meaning everything gets toasty warm as soon as we hang it all up and put the heating on when we come in from rolling around outside in the snow!
We each have a row, which makes it easy to eyeball that everyone’s gear is available. Red knows which is his row, and can easily pick up his hat, gloves, and anything else we hang there that he might need for an outdoor activity. Smalls isn’t quite there yet, and probably couldn’t reach his gear, but it makes a huge time difference to me that I only need to find clothes for one kid and not two!
We used to come home from a day’s skiing and all our wet gear would be dumped across our living room and kitchen floors, some items directly on top of air vents, and others left in the cold, so to speak. It left the house looking a mess, and we don’t need any help in that department! Our laundry room is right next to our garage door, and now when we come home it is very easy to hang everything up, out of sight, and know it’s getting dried. The boys snow boots can fit on these hangers too, if they are particularly wet and need drying before their next use. Hanging them above the air vent rather than dumping them on top as we did before allows for a much better air flow in our house too, heating all of us up quicker.
We decided to mount this on the wall, not only because it’s already getting a lot of use and behind the door was too tight. I can see this being useful for us all through the year, for muddy/wet jackets and clothes in the spring and fall, and for swim gear and towels in the summer.
And if you have any clever storage solutions for your outdoor gear, let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear of more!