Smartsack – a portable storage solution

22 March 2010 · 5 comments

in Early Years Outdoors, Play Resources

I am in outdoor trainers’ heaven. I have finally sussed out a system for organizing the resources I need when undertaking training sessions and it’s all thanks to a little bag known as the Smartsack Peg™. This bag was originally developed as a storage solution to crowded cloakrooms. But, as with many products I cast my outdoor eye upon these bags and thought “What if…?”

My problem has always been the need to transport items inside and out. It’s not unlike nurseries or schools where all the resources have to be brought inside each day. After all, I have to pack up what I bring and take it home to my wee house.

A few weeks ago I counted up the number of workshops, twilight sessions and in-set days I am delivering this academic session. It will be more than 50. The tennis elbow in my arm is a direct result of lugging about suitcases of books and resources. Bearing this in mind I realized that my system was inefficient and ineffective.

So have a look at the solution:

The Smartsack Peg™ cheers up a drab fence
I’ve moved from plastic boxes to bags that can be clipped or hung on most fences or even stand on the ground. Each bag is labelled with its contents. Being an ex-climber, I had lots of karabiners going spare. This means that each bag can be clipped to a sling for me to carry or I can ask each participant to take out a bag. The handles are big enough to slip through an arm. This leaves hands free to hold onto handrails, open doors and do other tasks that bigger boxes don’t allow. The handle also happens to be located on one side of the bag so they can lean against a vertical surface and be easily opened.

I’ve used written labels to list the contents, but photos work too! There’s extra pockets at either side and velcro keeps the bags closed.
At the end of each session, the resources all go back into the same bag from which they came. They are accessible by all. Thus I am no longer left with a jumble of resources packed in boxes and suitcases to sort out at home.

The bags are designed to stand alone. They don’t fall over even with lots of resources inside. Not surprisingly they have been designed by two teachers.
Now apply this to the nursery context. These bags allow an easy way of taking resources inside and out. Each child can choose a bag – or even some toys to put in a bag to take outside. For primary schools, it works too. I know this because I lent my Smartsack Peg™ bags to a Primary 1 class to test this term. The teachers were sorely disappointed to have to return them to me. Result!

The long handle means the bags can be slung over fences too!
Over the next few months I’m going to trial other Smartsack products. They produce bags to go over the backs of chairs and “Scrunch Sacks” which are foldaway backpacks. So watch this space for the feedback.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

mad March 22, 2010 at 15:04

ooooh! I want! I have a similar sort of problem, which I usually solve with a variety of supermarket re-useable bags – but I love the way these can be hung up!

If I only had the money!

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mamabare March 22, 2010 at 21:06

What a nifty idea 🙂

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Teacher Tom March 22, 2010 at 23:46

What a timely post Juliet. We’re 3 weeks into learning how to use our new outdoor space and I’m finding the lugging stuff in and out to be the biggest hassle. I really like this idea! Thanks.

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CreativeSTAR March 26, 2010 at 09:42

Thanks for all your comments – I’m learning how to moderate as I got a spam comment last week so I thought it was time to assert myself!

The bags are great. I’m just back from 10 days “on the road” and it’s much easier. What I didn’t mention in the post is that underneath my loft bed behind my winter washing lines, I’ve set up another line so that the bags are hung up out of the way – all 21 of them!

I’m going to experiment with the original Smartsack as mini topic bags as these can hold bigger books and the pockets lend themselves to this sort of thing.

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