Barn Hacks

Tack box by Top Jock.

Inspired by the overwhelming success of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which has taken the Home and Lifestyle world by storm this summer, let’s take a look at how this advice can be applied to our equestrian lives. There is nothing more annoying than wasting 10 minutes of precious riding time rummaging through your bombsite of a tack box for that illusive missing glove. Using the simple process below, wrestle your mess back under control once and for all to welcome a new space that is organized and easy to use.

1. Decide what is really useful

In Marie Kondo’s book she suggests pondering whether each object “sparks joy”. I don’t think there’s enough room in a tack box for that kind of sentimentality so I suggest holding up each object and questioning whether it serves a purpose.

2. Dispose of all useless Freebies

By this, I mean free samples, things you have won, bits and pieces people give you swearing they work wonders but you just took to be polite. Chuck them, hand them back, re-donate them or at the very least put them all in a box for storage elsewhere.

3. Sort everything into categories

Think beyond the obvious task of putting all the numnahs, bandages and bits together and create a system of grouping things that will be used together alongside each other. This makes it easier to grab and go and less likely you will forget something.

4. Compartmentalize the space

Instead of just piling stuff alongside each other where it can easily get mixed up after a rummage, put each group into its own box. Try using Really Useful Boxes. The fact they are see through makes it easier to locate items without digging. Shoeboxes are a good free option and cutlery dividers are handy for in drawers.

5. Decant smaller items into zipped pouches

Ziplock bags or old make up pouches are really handy for storing smaller items. Not only does this reduce wasted room taken up by half empty boxes, it lessens the chance of spills (braiding bands everywhere, ahhhhhh!) It also looks tidier and is another way to group things together, like a plaiting kit, supplements, first aid kit, etc..

6. There can never be too many hooks

Hooks are a great way to make use of the higher up otherwise wasted space. They also make it easier to grab things without rooting through draws.

7. Invest in a hanging pocket organizer

These handy additions hang on the sides of your tack box providing extra pouches for storage. Ideal for things that need to be grabbed quickly as you pass, such as grooming kits, fly spray, mane and tail conditioner. At shows they can easily be taken off and hung outside stables where there is room.

8. Make things visible and accessible

One of Marie Kondo’s most popular tips is to fold and stack things vertically so every item can easily be seen without the need to upset a pile digging for something at the bottom. This ensures no item is forgotten due to its hidden position.

9. Label boxes and pouches

Save yourself an extra little portion of time by labeling drawers, boxes and pouches clearly so that you don’t have to pull out multiple compartments to find things. Normally this is something we associate with big yards where there will be multiple users, but even just for our own selves it can be helpful.

10. Keep on top of things

Now that you have achieved order out of the chaos strive to keep it this way. Here are three golden rules:

1. Put things back where you found them.
2. Don’t overfill compartments.
3. Keep a bin bag handy.

Tidying might not be the most fun job in the world but an organized, junk free storage space, particularly one as regularly used as a tack box, will make a huge difference to the efficiency of all the rest of your horse related tasks. By making one large time commitment to the initial sort out you will then only require a brief 10-minute tidy once a week (just one of your previous glove hunting episodes) to keep everything in order—provided you follow the above tips.

The smugness you feel upon opening your tack box and smiling at the order rather than groaning at the disaster will make sure every yard visit starts on the right foot. Every little win counts right?