It’s May, which for some of us means that show season is right around the corner. I’ve already horse showed this year, but my life, horse trailer, and tack room is a mess! Now, I don’t know about you…but I hate messes. I can stand it for little while, but eventually it drives me crazy. When it comes to my horse trailer and my space at a horse show, I’m very particular about where I like things and the way it is organized. Unfortunately, I’ve been trying for the last two months to organize my life. Still no success on that one.

For those of you that are like me, I’ve created a way to help bring your life and barn back into order so that you don’t risk forgetting a show coat (done it) or being driven mad by the chaos of jumbled horse stuff everywhere.

Plan. The key to any successful endeavour is a good plan. Here is where you can make your lists and set aside your time each week to get certain tasks done. I like to make categories for things: what goes in my horse trailer, what needs to be taken to shows, which things have I accomplished yet, what still needs to be done, etc. Creating an order of importance is also very helpful here and can save you some headaches. A good plan is the perfect start to organizing your life and prepping for show season.

Do things in small doses. Try not to overwhelm yourself with your spring cleaning. Even on my weekends, I struggle to have enough time to sleep, let alone do an overhaul cleaning session. I find that breaking up your tasks over a few weeks of small doses can make it much more managble. There’s less stress when you’re allocating an hour a few times a week rather than trying to get it all done in a day or two.

A clean start. This is where you might not like me very much. Clean everything! Your trailer, your tack, your brushes, your horse; get everything clean. This helps you get a great start to the season where instead of playing catch up your goal is to maintain. It is incredibly annoying to find the time to clean everything, but you’ll be glad you did when your equipment lasts longer and is less of a pain to clean at the end of the season. Bonus points if you clean everything as often as you can.

Develop a system. This is where you can let your neurosis shine. Find a system of organizing things that works for you. From in front of your stall at the show to in your trailer and at home at the barn. Use cubbies, tote bags, and whatever else floats your boat to create a system for what things live where. It’ll make packing, unpacking, and even your daily routine have a much better flow. I personally like to use storage bins and tote bags, but every equestrian has their own system that works best for them. Bonus: label makers are awesome and can make this a lot more fun.

Be consistent. At this point in my life, I have a routine for what goes where…in everything. I know what I like and I stick to it. All my show gear, hay, and everything else has its exact home in front of the stall. It might change marginally from show to show, but for the most part I know exactly what I want to go where. Same with my trailer. I’m still working on this at the barn, but hey, no one is perfect.

Take care of yourself. We get so focused on our horses that we often forget to take care of ourselves. I like to hide myself snacks (non-perishable ones of course) in my tack trunks, trailer, and cubby at the barn. Another essential is hair ties. I make a point to take care of myself so that when I’m stressed and in the moment I know there will at least be some basic necessities nearby at any given moment.