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Seven Tips for Keeping Athletic Storage Rooms in Order

(Photos Courtesy of Patterson Pope)
(Photos Courtesy of Patterson Pope)

Whether it’s a rec center, arena or field house, when you run an athletic program, it’s important that all of your equipment and important information be organized and easy to access. When properly managed, the athletic storage room can be one of the most useful, specialized storage areas in your facility. It can increase security, space, productivity and convenience.

To help make the most of your athletic storage space, consider these seven tips for keeping your facility’s storage rooms in order:

1. Customize your storage to your needs.
One of the best ways to make the most of your athletic storage space is to start with your goals, and then customize your storage systems to suit them.

From lockers for athletes to wheeled carts to transport gear, the storage solutions that are best for your space will be the storage solutions that meet your needs. Ask yourself what your storage space needs to do. What are you keeping there? How are you using it, and how could it be used best? These answers will help you choose the right products and organizational tools for your space.

If you have a lot of practice tapes or DVDs on file, invest in media storage cabinets that fit in your space. These will make it easy to locate tapes when you need them while also cutting clutter and wasted space. If you have a lot of paperwork, look into smart filing cabinets that will tuck away your mountains of player data.

2. Store paperwork in mobile filing cabinets.
From files about your players to data on the competition, your storage room is likely to be packed with paperwork in no time. But because stacks of papers are hard to sift through, throwing everything on your desk isn’t going to cut it. Filing cabinets offer an effective solution, but that solution is usually one that takes up a lot of space. That’s where smarter options like mobile filing cabinets come in handy.

Sometimes called compact storage or movable storage, mobile filing cabinets save floor space by being totally movable, set on wheeled carriages. Rather than needing to arrange your cabinets in permanent aisles, you can arrange them in movable aisles that are easily moved around to create extra space for more productive purposes.

3. Think about security and safety.
Because the storage room usually holds expensive equipment and gear, it’s important to keep it properly monitored and protected. The right security techniques and products are crucial here, as they will help prevent thefts or break-ins, while also keeping confidential information about players or competitors secure. Consider keyed cabinets or drawers that prevent unauthorized access to private information. Choose storage products that are designed to be hard to tip over or tamper with.

Products with keypad control offer administrators an even greater ability to manage what’s going on in equipment storage areas. Evaluate your options and choose the ones that best suit your space and security needs.

4. Get bulky items out of sight.
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Nobody has to tell you that a lot of athletic gear is bulky — from shoulder pads and helmets to goal posts. So in order to effectively manage this equipment, you need a way to tuck things out of sight but keep them easy to access. Whether you opt for shelving or modular casework, you have storage solutions that will organize and streamline your storage space.

5. Think about small items, too.
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While a lot of athletic equipment is big and cumbersome, there’s also a lot of smaller gear. To keep these items organized, look for drawers and cabinets where you can pack away smaller things. Because there are so many different storage solutions available now, you can easily find drawer organizers and cabinet compartments suited to store everything from balls to chalk to water bottles. What’s more, there are locking drawers to protect small items that need to stay secure.

6. Make it easy to store players’ equipment.
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Lockers are the lifeblood of athletic facilities, ideal for storing player equipment and personal belonings. Today’s market includes a wide range of lockers in various sizes and styles. You can choose the make, model and number of lockers that work best for your situation, from freestyle personal storage lockers to durable steels lockers made to withstand years of use. Plus, there are all kinds of ways to lay out your lockers to suit your space, making them versatile, useful solutions to athletic storage needs.

7. Look for adaptable storage solutions.
The ideal storage equipment will be storage equipment that can evolve as you do. When your programming changes and you have different needs, you don’t want to have to purchase all new lockers, cabinetry, filing cabinets and rolling carts. You want versatile equipment that can adapt with you well into the future — equipment that you can hold up to years of use and that can serve more than one potential purpose.

RELATED: New-Generation Storage Technologies Reshape the Equipment Room

Denny Hammack is the president of Charlotte, N.C.-based Patterson Pope, a storage solutions provider for businesses and organizations across a variety of industries. This article originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Rooms For Improvement."

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