Here at Consummate Athlete HQ, one of our major tenets of the Consummate Athlete lifestyle is to be able to ride, run, hike, climb, camp, whatever at a moment’s notice. That means having our gear organized and easy to access. Not only does it make packing for trips a lot simpler, but it also makes it easier to get ready for a ride or run any day of the week without stressing about where the hell your helmet is. So, how do we organize our stuff? I wanted to list a few of our MVP organizers here in case you’re feeling the urge to get the garage, pantry or closet sorted out.
But… If you haven’t already, go back and READ THIS POST FIRST. Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT, buy any new storage before first paring down on your gear first, and using the organizers that you currently have lying around. Never buy organizers first and organize second!
Assuming you’ve done that, here are a few of our favorite ways to keep gear tidy:
Clear plastic drawers
13 years ago, I saw a post (couldn’t tell you where) of Georgia Gould’s perfectly organized Tupperware drawers of Clif and Luna products and I haven’t felt a sense of envy like that ever before. I loved that she had this storage tower where all of her snacks were organized into gorgeous drawers. Since then, I’ve used storage towers like this one for a lot of small storage uses, from stealing her idea and organizing my ride/run food and various packs and bottles to swim/bike/run gear and accessories (swimsuits, socks, chamois cream, sunglasses, etc.) Honestly, these drawer sets are pretty key to any organizational situation, even if they aren’t Pinterest-perfect.
I scratch the crap out of sunglasses because I am very lazy about putting them back in cases—and I hate cases when home (obviously, we use them for travel) because then I can’t see my glasses to choose between them. I love a sunglasses rack for making casual, running and cycling sunglasses just feel a little more boutique-y. From a purely aesthetic perspective, the sunglasses rack makes a gear room feel more like a fancy bike shop, and practically, it keeps your glasses much safer.
Over the door shoe organizers
But not for shoes. I love these for the small gear that always gets mixed in with other stuff, like goggles, sunglasses, bandanas or buffs, chamois cream, those obnoxious triathlon number belts… stuff that you often have crammed in the back of drawers. This is a great space saver if you’re out of room for those plastic drawers, or you have the tendency to let drawers get a little too messy.
For small bike parts (ahem, spare derailleur hanger) or even food, I love these more photogenic hardware drawers. I got super into them when we were working with Aspire Racing and the mechanics had them filled with all the spare bike accoutrements that a racer could need, and I 100 percent stole the concept and use it for all the tiny crap that usually ends up forgotten in a junk drawer, like CO2s, nameplate stickers, spare cables and little pieces that come with bikes, spare helmet pads, etc.
I will write about the amazingness of this until the day I die. A shoe dryer has saved my shoes from smelling so bad that they needed to be stored outside SO MANY TIMES, plus let me do run double days, etc. Why does this count as an organizational tool? Simple: Because it speeds the drying process, it speeds the time it takes to put shoes away, bringing it from 2 days down to 30 minutes, so you don’t end up with piles of soggy shoes in crappy weather.
In my dream home, we have a gear room, and in that gear room, I have a sweet freestanding clothing rack (with matching hangers, obviously) that has my cycling and running jackets, vests and packs all neatly hung and looking like a freaking Rapha Cycle Club. I honestly believe 90% of why a lot of us buy new gear is because we get suckered in by how it looks on the websites or in shops—forgetting that we have tons of similar stuff right at home, just not nicely displayed. If we had more space, I would absolutely add a freestanding rack for seasonal high-usage gear.
Is it attractive? Not really. But does it hold up over time, and is it reasonably decent looking compared to other options? Yep. If you don’t have a great spot to hang wall mounts for your bike, this is an easy, cheap (seriously, $56!) alternative… And bonus, it comes with extra hooks so you can hang helmets with the bikes they match. I’ve been annoyed that I have yet to find a more stylish option, but after ripping hooks out of the wall on multiple occasions, I’ve given up and accepted that this is the easiest way to roll.
We both prefer the ‘big bag with small bag’ packing system for travel to stay more organized + only have one bag when we go into houses. Now, you can use those backpacks with drawstrings that they give out at races, or you can get a full matching system. I love mesh because you can see in it and it can have your dirty laundry in it to run through a washing machine while staying separate from other people’s stuff (very stage race-specific, but still…). I also just love that they’re all uniform and it looks nicer than a bunch of random bags, but that’s just personal preference.
Bottle Drying Rack
Is your counter always half-covered by bottles and lids being dried from yesterday’s/last week’s ride? A bamboo bottle drying rack might solve your counter space / black mold issues.
Big bin for ‘extras’ (with a list on top)
We both are lucky in that there are a lot of extras in the house with some stuff — and neither of us likes to have a lot in our drawers on a normal basis. So each of us usually has a storage bin for ‘spares.’ Mine is a lot of extra cycling kits that I love, but that I don’t need easy access to. (I keep a couple of pairs of shorts/jerseys out, but I don’t need 10 of each!). I also use it for seasonal gear, since winter in Canada requires A LOT of stuff that I only need for a short period of time. HOWEVER, if you’re an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ person, this may not be a good storage option for you, since it can make you feel like you don’t have certain stuff, which can lead to buying more stuff you don’t need. The trick is a) not forgetting it exists and b) knowing what’s in it. I like a quick list typed and stored on your phone in an app like Evernote so you can check what’s in the box before buying anything new (especially if you use this method for a lot of spare bike parts!). I made the swap from Rubbermaid to these soft storage cubes since they’re easier to maneuver and if they aren’t in use, they don’t take up a ton of space. They can also be shoved into different spaces, whereas plastic bins can’t really compress.