How I kept hockey equipment from taking over my house

The Locker Room

A place for everything . . .

A few years back, we remodeled our suburban Habitrail of a ranch house into a more functional living space. It was a chance to design the house of our limited budget dreams. We made a list of “must haves” like turn the one-season room into something useful, a bigger kitchen with two ovens, and a hockey equipment storage room. Yes, that’s right. A hockey equipment storage room.

We have four hockey players in the house, including a goalie, so that’s a lot of equipment. And we actually unpack it and hang it up so it can dry out and not stink as much. But it ended up all over the place, got mixed up in the wrong bag and was coated with dog hair. Just like everything else in the house.

So we did what any respectable hockey family would do–we moved the laundry to a dank, dark corner of the basement and installed a hockey locker room right off the back door. It was arguably the best thing we’ve ever done and is the envy of pretty much every hockey family we know.

Our locker room is pretty sweet. One one side is a three-stall locker for the players, and on the other, two wider stalls for the goalie gear and miscellaneous stuff. We also put a vent fan in the ceiling to help with the stench and a dehumidifier that drains right to a floor pipe. The dehumidifier helps dry out the equipment faster.

We also put a shelf on the top for skates and helmets and a shelf at the bottom for gloves and other small things. Each stall has several hooks so you can hang up pants, shoulder pads, shin guards, jerseys, socks, etc. Above the stall is a shelf to store old jerseys and socks, tape and other equipment. The floor is a Pergo tile so it’s very easy to clean with a damp mop. There’s a window that lets in some natural light but we also have an overhead light in there. We also have enough room for some other sports equipment like cleats and baseball bags in the extra locker. A couple cans of Lysol, a plug-in air freshener and we’re good.

The goalie side of the locker room

Two bigger lockers on this side for the goalie stuff.

This may seems like a ridiculous expense and waste of space but it really wasn’t expensive to put in the shelving and when the kids are gone, I’ll just move the washer and dryer back in. And I’ll be able to grow grass again. And have a floor lamp. Sigh. The benefits include

  • Dry equipment that doesn’t stink as much.
  • Equipment is less likely to grow nasty germs and MRSA.
  • Easy to tell if you’ve forgotten to pack any equipment.
  • Less time spent packing bags.
  • No lost equipment.
  • Significantly less dog hair.

If you want to create something like this, you could go a lot cheaper by clearing out a closet and putting in a metal shelf unit or one of those semi-custom jobs you can get at Home Depot. Or cut up some PVC pipe and make a hockey body to hang equipment on out in the garage.

So, the big question most of you have is probably how do we get the kids to put their stuff away? The League  instituted a heavy fine for any bags not put away within a half hour of arriving home. Our enterprising child then offered that he would put the bag away for you for less than the cost of the fine and made a tidy sum preying on his lazy siblings. Ah, yes, another fine young capitalist in the making.

How do you corral your sports equipment? Please share your ideas with the rest of us.

9 Comments on “How I kept hockey equipment from taking over my house”

  1. Dirk Hoag says:

    Outstanding! I went with a series of wall hooks from Lowe’s that I mounted on the wall in one corner of the garage, so when I pull in after a game, I just open the hatchback and hang stuff up before going inside the house.

    I admire the red nameplate you have above one of the locker stalls, though!

    • We use the wall hook method for a lot of other sports stuff in the garage. I find for maximum compliance it must be easy and convenient and having it right there in the garage is great. Maybe you should just install some hooks in the hatchback, hang it, leave the hatch open and you are ready to go!

  2. Michelle says:

    This is brilliant! I’m definitely going to copy this. We have a “gym” in our house – a small room in our basement with a bike, treadmill, weights, etc. We keep all of our sports equipment down there. I never thought to set it up like a locker room. The Kid will LOVE it and so will his hyper-organized mom. Thanks for sharing this idea!

  3. Excellent solution! We’ve a similar setup for our children’s lacrosse equipment. Getting that stuff out of the bag (and out of the dining room) is a good first step in reducing the reek.

    Did you see the recent USA Hockey article on Sinking the Stink? Interesting read and I plan to post on it over the next week or so. Here’s the link:

  4. […] Over the next few posts, Michelle, Coach Jim (whom you’ll meet soon) and I will share successful strategies for sports equipment care.  And we’ll provide useful tips from others. […]

  5. […] impression I can tell you that it definitely made an immediate impact. Our entire hockey locker room smelled better with the addition of just one Odor Gladiator™ in my son’s bag. After well […]

  6. […] have the reproductive capability of rabbits. Seriously. Hockey socks spontaneously generate in our locker room, appearing in colors unworn by any of our teams, in singles and in pairs, threatening to disrupt […]

  7. Amanda Ocampo says:

    Do you think hacking Ikea’s Billy bookcases would work for hockey lockers? Like in this post?

    • Laurie says:

      Something like that would probably work but you should make sure the hooks are strong enough to support the weight of equipment and big enough to hang stuff on. With these, it looks like they are using Command strips. You’d have to get the heavy duty strips for bathrobes and stuff. I think the IKEA stuff is particle board–don’t know if you could drill into it to put in a screw mounted hook.

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