Dear Writing Huntress,
My husband and I are newlyweds. The honeymoon phase lasted up until the 1st day of hunting season, when our house suddenly became full of his buddies staying over for days on end, resulting in hunting stuff being jammed into every corner of our small abode. Despite my best efforts, by the end of season my house was a mess! So, my question to you is, how do you organize your life after hunting season? And, how can I make it easier to be organized during season?
Disorganized in Delta
First off, happy marriage to you and your husband! Secondly, I’ve found that organization is the key to a happy hunting marriage, so, you’ve come to the right place. I am not an organized person by nature; it used to take me 2 hours to prepare for a hunt. Today, I can be ready in less than 5 minutes, thanks to my transformation into Captain Organization during the season!
Organization in my household is now down to a science, the product of years of experience, lots of teamwork and dedication to hunting cleanliness. Here are my tips to keeping your hunting house clean this spring and beyond.
Organize by season
Whether it’s turkey, deer or duck, you’re going to have different camo, gear and footwear. Haul everything hunting related out of its hiding place, and divide each item into piles based on hunting target or activity. Once you have your gear sorted, invest in plastic totes, labels and sharpies (available in various sizes and colors at your local Walmart). Label each of the totes by its designated season. I suggest also buying standing totes with drawers for all-year items that can be easily misplaced, such as face paint, HotHands, ThermaCELL refills and batteries.
It also helps to make lists of gear as you go. It not only assists in organization, but also helps keep track of what you already have, so the next trip to Bass Pro isn’t unnecessarily expensive or full of duplicates.
In terms of storage area, I’ve found it’s easiest to dedicate a room exclusively for all outdoor gear. This is not only convenient, but also reduces clutter in the rest of the house. However, if you have a small amount of storage space in your house, utilize it to store in-season gear. Use a garage or shed as extraneous storage for out-of-season gear. Once you’ve stowed everything, remember to make a map or take pictures to remember which totes went where for easy retrieval when a particular season opens.
Disorganized, let me tell you a secret; this past season, my house was a mess. It took me a little while before I realized the problem wasn’t our organization strategy, it was that no one knew the system.
For 6 straight weeks last fall, friends visited from across the country to duck hunt. Since I was working full time, I had mere hours during the week to clean a house overrun by muddy duck hunters — a monumental task.
I was at my wit’s end when I told my husband I was thinking about taking care of the house while he hunted. He asked, “Why didn’t you say anything?”
The next week when more friends came to stay, we sat down and I told them that dirty boots go on the mats in the backroom and coats and waders are to be hung in the same place. The rules then made it to our kitchen chalkboard. Soon, it became everyone’s job to keep the house clean.
I found that when we relegated tasks, most of the indoor-gear organization and cleaning went to me, which is understandable since my husband had a lot to deal with among decoys, stands, trailers and trucks. However, when I made more of an effort to help him as much as possible, he, as well as his friends, became more apt to keep the house clean and organized.
Hunting organization doesn’t stop at gear
Don’t forget your freezer during this process, either. An organized deep freeze of labeled, vacuum-sealed and dated wild game is much easier to navigate than a freeze full of freeze-dried, 10-year-old green goose breasts. Personally, I use a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer. It’s cheaper than constantly buying storage bags and allows you to have a lot more freezer room.
Disorganized, hunting with your spouse is a blessing. However, when it comes to getting the house and gear organized to make season more bearable, it’s not your job alone. Remember to get your guy and his buddies in on keeping the house clean and invest in some totes. I’m sure your post-season organization will go a lot more smoothly!