Winter is the perfect time to makeover your tack room and be organized for spring activities with your horse(s).
One of the easiest ways is to take everything out and separate items into piles: keep, store, fix, give away and throw away
•The “keep” pile might include the tack you use every day; first aid items, boots, and bandages and other frequently used items. These items should be clean and ready to go. Thoroughly inspect all your leather tack to see if it belongs in the “fix/clean” pile to repair any damage and give it a good cleaning.
•The “store” pile can include those items that you don’t use on a regular basis. If its winter, it may be fly sheets and fly masks, or things you use only during showing season. Again, these items should be clean and ready to use; they are typically things you don’t use during the winter.
•The “fix” pile also includes the “to be cleaned” pile. These can be saddle pads, polo wraps you keep meaning to wash, extra blankets that need to be cleaned and/or repaired, your show jacket that needs a button put back on or anything you know you’ll use but needs to have something done before you can. In addition, add to this pile your grooming brushes, sponges and towels to clean, disinfect and let dry thoroughly.
•The “give away” pile is all those items that are still in good shape but you no longer use. For instance, the blanket for your 17hh warm-blood that you sold and now have a 15.1hh quarter horse. The four extra brushes in the grooming kit that you don’t know how they got there, the polos in navy and yellow because now you’re at a barn with burgundy and black as their colors. And do you really need ALL those saddle pads? There are many organizations that would dearly love your hand-me-downs; such as, horse rescues, therapeutic riding programs, horse programs for at-risk youth, etc. Or rather than give away, sell them on EBay or host a tack sale at your barn.
•The “throw away” pile consists of items that can no longer be used. The mane comb with missing teeth, your horse’s blanket that was ripped to shreds by an overenthusiastic neighbor or the broken riding crop. Before you toss, consider the possibility of recycling:
– Could your blanket repair/cleaning service use any of the hardware from your blanket?
– Could your pile of supplement containers be used around the barn for feeding?
– Could you use these as paint buckets on your next “paint the jumps” party?
This is also the pile that all your expired medicines and outdated first aid products would go into. Don’t just dump them in the toilet or toss them in the dumpster. These products may contain ingredients that must be disposed of carefully. Check with local officials to see how best to get rid of these medicines and products. While you’re at it, make a list of any medicines or first aid products you need to replenish.
Congratulations! Once your piles are finished and you’ve fixed/cleaned what you can, you are ready to create your new tack room. First, sweep out all cobwebs, dirt and dust. If the floor of the tack room is dirt or concrete, you may want to add stall mats as they make the surface nicer to walk on and cleaning spilled items much easier.
With a little work and planning, once your tack room is clean and organized, all your horse products will be easy to find and ready to go.