By Allison Gaudett

In the thick of winter, amidst layers of ice and clothing, the feeling of transitional summer living – from indoor to out – can feel like a distant dream. In the summer warmth, last minute outings are simple and no fuss. This winter, don’t let the cold keep you from spontaneous outdoor adventures!
When it comes to winter organization, there’s no cut and dry, one-size-fits-all solution. There are, however, a few umbrella-style guidelines that can be interpreted to suit your home and the people that live within it’s walls.

Keep it Simple.
If your items are readily accessible, you’re more likely to put them to use. This is a fundamental concept in organization that works every time. What’s considered a logical place to store things can vary from person to person, but the overall concept, no matter the application, is the same.
Keeping only the necessary current seasonal items in an accessible area, such as a shelf or hooks in your primary closet, will limit clutter and make for smooth exits. Prioritize space for back-up items in a basket or wire bin to help avoid a mad dash around the house. When primary gear gets wet, think additional layers, socks, and other warm wear for those extra chilling days. Relocate transitional gear (lighter coats and footwear) to a secondary location or vertically out of primary storage real-estate.

Keep Things Visible.
If your space allows, allocate individual cubbies, baskets, or a bin within a hanging system to each individual family member. This way, everyone is able to easily locate their own gear and get out the door in a timely manner. Keep in mind, hooks or hang bars should be hung at appropriate heights for each family member. If your space is limited, consider grouping similar items in shared bins rather than individually. Be sure to include clear labels (words as well as pictures can be helpful for the younger members) for easy discovery and increased chance of replacement after use.

Turn Utility into Decor
For example, hanging skates or snowshoes on hooks with a seasonal sign above makes for appropriate decor yet lends to a quick trip to the local pond or trek through the woods.
Skis, poles, snowboards, and hockey sticks gathered in a repurposed barrel might encourage an impromptu trip to the nearest hill, and makes for a smooth exit for an early morning ice time.
A beautiful basket or crate staged with seasonal blankets, a thermos, and picnic gear can inspire an evening coasting adventure fuelled by hot chocolate. Incorporating the functional elements of the season and embracing their beauty as decor certainly helps facilitate a smooth transition outside.


Think Ahead About your Return
The thought of the chaos that accompanies a return home after any winter outing can be enough of a deterrent for some to stay in. But being prepared with a plan of attack, that every family member and the neighbourhood kids can get on board with, can eliminate that stress and get you out that door.
A basket, bin, barrel – whatever is your style – can be a simple catch-all directly next to the door for wet gear, that transports easily and stylishly to the dryer for a fluff. Hooks – high and low – with family member names prompts everyone to put everything back where they found it and keep it off the floor. (Don’t forget to add extra for company!) A wall-mounted drying rack strategically placed in a mudroom or heated garage can be functional and decorative!

Safety First.
Safety should be the first priority once you step out that door. Salt for the walk ways, ample lighting for late night travellers, extra blankets and water for long drives: these are all winter staples that can be dressed up and readily available to make every outing that much safer.
To elevate the style of a yellow salt bag, consider storing your sand or salt in a labelled galvanized garbage bin or wooden box. Lanterns with battery-operated lights or additional holiday lights can brighten the darkest of spaces and add welcoming ambiance. A decorative bin of blankets can replace the spring umbrella holder as a last minute reminder as you walk out the door.
So, no matter the temperature outside, a little planning and organizing can go a long way to getting you outside this winter season! And, if you find yourself indoors during a blitz of colder weather, you can always read my tips on creating a welcoming coffee station to keep you and your guests warm and cozy all season!