Corralling clutter is essential for safety. Aisles and work areas littered with unnecessary equipment create dangerous spaces for even the calmest horses and most skilled riders. Cutting down on clutter also creates a more pleasant environment for boarders, lesson riders and visitors.
Try these five clutter busting tips at your barn this fall.
Keep Flat Spaces Clear
Ledges, windowsills and counter tops are easy places to quickly set temporarily set miscellaneous items. Before you know it, ledge is overflowing with "stuff." Fight the urge to empty pockets or leave any objects, even temporarily, in these areas. Once filled, it takes precious time to sort and purge.
Group Like Items
Store all grooming tools, bridles, ointments, etc. in one location. Larger barns might have multiple work areas that require similar equipment. Designate an area within each space to store tools and tack. When a helper assists with chores, it will save time providing instructions on finding items. In emergency situations, it will be critical to find needed halters, fire extinguishers or supplies.
Use Storage Systems
Shelves and storage containers are designed to consolidate and organize gear of all shapes and sizes. Depending on your facility, storage units specifically designed for equestrian facilities might be a better fit than those available at big box stores.
Sort the Mail
The volume of junk mail sent these days is overwhelming. As soon as the mail is collected, deposit any junk mail into the recycling bin, making sure to shred anything that might be useful to someone wanting to steal your identity. Purge unnecessary flyers and catalogs immediately to eliminate unsightly messes and later sorting time. Make piles of items that need immediate attention, and piles that you can peruse later.
Three-ring binders and plastic page protectors are excellent for corralling registration papers, medical certificates, liability releases, boarding contracts and more. Dedicate one binder for barn-owned horses, one for boarders' horses, another for contracts, etc. Clearly label each binder and store on a shelf. Flip through the pages once a year and remove any out-of-date documents. It also is a good idea to scan these documents and back them up with your computer files off-site.
You can take control of clutter at your barn with these tips and others offered throughout the year.