Jack and Gracie's Backyard Pantry

My Great Outdoors

Names: Jennifer, Jack (5) and Gracie (1.5)
Location: Long Island, NY

In order to live up to our motto, "When in doubt, go out," I created a backyard pantry to keep all of our outdoor staples at the ready. Friends of ours were giving away a knotty pine armoire, which I gratefully grabbed, and placed on the back deck.

I used plastic buckets (which we already had) and bins (found in the $1 section of the drugstore) to corral our go-to items, such as bubbles, chalk, squirt bottles, and mesh bags for hauling sandy beach toys. A generous sized shelf (intended for a TV, of course) is a perfect spot for storing sports equipment such as tennis racquets, wiffle ball bats, a horseshoe set, kickboards, and scuba gear. On the shelf below are sand toys, buckets, tackle boxes, and the ubiquitous wooden alphabet blocks. The bottom shelf holds our R/C cars and trucks, caution cones (for car races and obstacle courses), stomp rockets (so fun!) and our T-ball tote (which fits a tee, bat, balls, baseball gloves, batting helmet, and DIY bases for a quick grab-and-go on our way to the ball field.)

And for drawing, scribbling, or outdoor list-making (think: scavenger hunts, keeping score, and garden to-dos), I painted the inside doors with green chalkboard paint. This simple, sanity-saving project created a "Command Central" for all of our outdoor adventures. Best of all, at the end of the day, clean up is a breeze! Now we really are happy campers!

Thanks Jennifer! Readers, you can find more of Jennifer's good ideas on her blog The Write Start.

(Re-edited from a post originally published 6.24.10 - NM)

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Family, Outdoor, Outdoor Space

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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