Tack Room Hoarders – How to Straighten Up Your Space

It takes a lot to be a horse owner…patience, dedication, money, time, and, yes, lots of equipment in your tack room. When it comes to the “things” that we require to get our jobs done at the barn and/or in the show ring or out on the trail, most of us find that at one time or another we simply have way more “stuff” than we actually need. I am a self proclaimed “tack room hoarder”…or at least I used to be until a couple of years ago when I realized that a good tack room purging would allow me to take better care of the things that I do have, and make room for the things that are really necessary. How did I do it? Read on to find out.

Take Tack Room Inventory

The first part of figuring out if you’re a tack room hoarder is to take inventory of what you have. This can be tough, because that little voice inside of our heads often tells us to cheat when it comes to this step… “Oh, that doesn’t count, it’s in the horse trailer” or “We don’t need to count the stuff I keep at home”. Go through every single horse related thing that you own and figure out exactly what you have. Open the tack trunks, pull out those plastic bins full of odds and ends, sort things into piles or areas, and then have a look at what you actually own. Did you realize that you have 13 snaffle bits? When was the last time that you bought a hoof pick, because you have a pile of seven of them laying on the floor? This will allow you to get a “visual” of your holdings.

Need It, Want It…Let It Go

So, now comes the hard part; you have to figure out what things you absolutely need, what things that you are holding onto because you “want them”, and what things you can let go. When it comes to the “needs”, start with things you use on a daily basis, and things that you use every time you go to a horse show, on a camping trip, on a trail ride, etc. Those things are easy, and then go in the “Need It” pile. Now look at things you have multiples of…do you need four curry combs? One is necessary, and a backup of something is always good to have, but you can probably let the other two go.

Once you’ve sorted through the things that are necessities, you can move on to the things that you either use occasionally, that you’re holding onto for sentimental purposes, or things that you think you “might need” down the road. This was the most difficult part for me, because, for instance, I had amassed a ton of “bits” over the years. Many of them are older and either very difficult to come by today, or are unavailable all together. Each bit had a purpose in my mind, but the reality was that I hadn’t used many of them in years. So, in the interest of keeping myself on track, I sorted through and kept the things that were valuable to me in terms of being rare or possibly useful when I get my next young horse, but the rest of them had to go. I also looked at what things were either duplicates or did the same thing; did I really need 5 “baby snaffles”? D-Ring, Loose Ring, Sweet Iron, Copper, but they all essentially did the same thing, so I kept the best one or two from the bunch. Realize that by holding onto things you don’t really need or want, you are just taking up space in your “world” that could be better used for other purposes…speaking literally and theoretically.

What To Do With The Tack Room Remains

If you’ve been honest with yourself through this process, and you’ve only kept the things that you really “Need” or “Want”, then you should have a good bit of equipment in the “Let it Go” pile. Go through and find the most valuable items and mark them for sale, either direct, through a consignment shop, online, etc. The good part about this is you can actually make a bit of cash on all that stuff you didn’t even really know you had.

The things that aren’t particularly valuable in terms of sell-ability are still valuable to other people. This part can actually be fun…gather all of the odds and ends that you are parting with and find a local family in need, charity, 4-H Group, horse rescue, etc., and donate your items; you’ll feel great, and you’ll be helping out people who may actually “Need” the things that you have.

This is a process, and it does take time, but in the end you’ll feel much lighter and less restricted without being weighed down by all that extra stuff. So, set a date, go out to the barn and “Straighten Up Your Space”!

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I have been an equestrian most of my life, having gotten my first pony at the age of 5, and 30 years later, I competitively exhibit my Half Arabian Reining horse on both the Arabian and NRHA circuits. There are three passions in my life, riding, photography and writing. Being able to combine all three of these things is a dream come true.

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