New Year’s Resolution – Invest in Organization to Save More Time and Protect your Investments
In this fast-paced world, time is a valuable commodity. Often, it’s easy to justify not doing the big jobs, like organizing your tack room or barn, because you don’t want to invest the upfront time. However, if tackling a big job ends up saving a little time each day, it can really add up over the course of the year. For example, if you spend 4 hours on an organizing project, but that action saves you 10 minutes every day, you would save a total of about 56 hours a year, that’s more than a week of vacation from work!
So, what are you waiting for? Put an extra layer on and make the most of your ‘down time’. Chances are, if you have a horse or a whole barnful, you have a lot of horse related things. We invest a lot of money in the tack and products we use for our horses, so it makes sense to protect that investment by keeping things neat, clean, and organized.
One of the best approaches to starting any organization project is what I like to call “Fresh Eyes”. Before you get to work, it’s helpful to take a good look at your space. That might sound obvious, but the challenge is to look at the space as if you were going to be setting it up for the first time. Look at the items that you have and determine how they can fit differently into that space in a more functional way. Are you lugging your saddle 10 or 20 feet more than you need to because it’s at the back of your tack room instead of the front? That time adds up.
Once you have visually analyzed, you can start planning out better places for the things you use every day. It can be helpful to map things out either in a pencil and paper sketch or you can even use floor planner apps or online resources if you want to do a digital layout, there are several free resources online that let you work with space set-ups.
Next, take an inventory and create a list of tack along with a short description including sizing. As you are creating this list, snap photos of each item, getting a few angles and making sure to take a close-up of serial numbers or makers marks on the items. Although it’s not a pleasant thought, in the case of a natural disaster or theft, it can be vital for reporting missing or damaged items. Having photos on file will also make it easy to post items for sale.
After you have logged all your items, determine what products you are using most frequently. These items should get the most real estate in you tack room and the most accessible spaces. Cut down on clutter by putting less frequently used items further back into your tack room. Items used daily need to be in forefront but, they need a designated place, so they aren’t left out.
Off season items can be stowed in bins, boxes or on storage racks. Take additional precautions to protect the items against rodents, freezing, or exposure to light. As you put things away, make sure they are clean and in good repair. That way, when you pull them out for next season, you will be ready to go. It’s a good idea to make a list of what you have stored away and keep it in the tack room, so you know where it’s located any time of the year.
Sorting by size, discipline and/or horse, will make items much easier to locate. Color coating is a great way to determine what items belong to each horse. If all the horses in the barn use the same barn colors, you can tag each horse’s tack and blankets with colorful electric tape, zip ties, permanent marker or grease pen. Monograming, embroidery or using bridle/halter plates is another great way to keep things organized, especially in a shared tack room.
Once you have sorted your items, protect your investments with the right organization tools. Saddle racks can keep your saddles supported, extending the lifetime of the tree and keeping the leather in the right position to prevent curling and cracking. Bridle racks keep your bridles accessible, supported over the crown and give your reins the space to hang properly. Saddle pads hung on racks that allow for airflow, dry damp pads and prevent mold and mildew. Convertible tack organization systems allow you to redesign your space as your needs change over the years.
In addition to saving time and protecting your tack investments, keeping items organized will also increase the safety of your barn. When things are left lying about, it’s easy to get into a tangle which can be disastrous for both you and your horse. Keeping tack items hung properly and regularly cleaned will also keep them in good condition and let you more easily notice when something needs to be repaired, preventing any issues of tack breaking while in use.
Other safety precautions can include adding lighting to areas of your barn and keeping your tack room locked. Dark areas in a barn or tack room can make it harder to navigate. Just a few additional lights can brighten the space and add a layer of security to both the interior and exterior of your barn. Even simple locks work as a deterrent to theft. After all the work you’ve done organizing, it’s worth it to take the extra step of putting your tack room under lock and key.
Hopefully, you have found some of these ideas useful as you make your New Year’s resolutions this year. Check out the items we offer at Cashmans.com to help with your tack organization needs and connect with us on Facebook to share some of your favorite organization tips.