This is the unofficial but serious inside scoop on organizing, storing and making it easy to use your skates and their stuff.
One day I realized I had more skates than shoes and began the hunt for the perfect skate storage system. Try googling that. You’ll get lots of cool ideas that help you store one pair of skates. I have over 30 pair. Thanks for nothing, Google. If you can’t buy it, build it, right? Where to start…
Each pair takes up over 2000 cubic inches, so do that math and you can see this isn’t a one hour project. The finished product will displace some other sport, a medium sized child or a pet or two.
Plus there’s skate stuff. Stuff for feet, like insoles and “no-stink” solutions. There’s stuff for knees, elbows and wrists, for cleaning your bearings, for hydration when you’re skating, for being seen when you’re skating at night. Extras of stuff you can loan to your friends when they’re visiting. Stuff for your skate students. Skates you used to love but don’t use anymore but can’t part with. Museum skates – the ones that give you bragging rights for being there first. It all needs a home. A mansion, really.
Skates are taller than you think. After a few misfires on the shelving front, I measured my “tallest” skates. Along the way, I discovered another important truth: a regular bookcase is a terrible idea. Here’s why. Pull one skate out, all the others roll forward and bounce off various bony parts of you on their way to the ground. Scratch that. And you have to keep them off the things mice crawl on so you don’t get stinky surprises in the spring. So the big clue comes early: they must be hung. Suspended. I researched S-hooks and bungee cords.
I’ll save the suspense and jump to the end – a happy one.
The racking system (thanks, Home Depot) is lightweight, relatively affordable, simple to assemble and great for ventilation – another consideration. A smaller and well-ventilated organizer unit keeps all the protection sorted.
My ideal shelving unit has slots for hanging. I used S-hooks and large garbage bag ties to attach the skates to the underside of each shelf.
If you’re not OCD about hanging them, use bungee cords to save space and time.
There’s room on the top shelf for skate parts, bearings, extra wheels, first aid stuff, blinkies, and cleaning supplies.
Reuse old boxes in good condition to house stuff for repairs, cleaning and parts. Label them clearly.
A smaller rack nearby keeps my derby stuff and helmets in clear view. Quad skates are heavier and don’t have a loop for hanging so they needed a different solution. This little rack had room for my “museum” skates (first pair of key skates, Skorpions, hiking boots on wheels from Skates on Haight, hockey skates, and more).
Great tip: If you store your skates outside or in a place where critters play, stick a scented dryer sheet in each skate. Mice hate them and your skates will smell better when you’re ready to throw them in a bag.
The last wheel: making your own Skate Center is a great fall or winter project and another way to have a love fest for skating in the off-season. It’s fun reliving each pair and taking inventory on all your treasures. While you’re at it, grab your smartphone and create a photo archive. It’s handy for insurance, for replacements and a great way to brag about your collection! Don’t forget to post it somewhere and start a conversation.
Resources for stuff: thrift stores, Home Depot or Lowe’s, auto parts stores, online fixture sellers, old school hardware stores, your own garage or basement, craig’s list, yard sales, you name it.
Please leave your own pics and comments!
“own your roll”