From winter slush to spring mud, it can be a challenge to keep a mudroom clean and organized. Add in kids’ sports gear, rain boots, winter coats and hats and you’ve got a recipe for a messy disaster. But is it really the gear that’s the issue? While putting things away can definitely make a dent in the mess, it may be more likely that your mudroom isn’t designed to handle the demand you and your family put on it, resulting in clutter and chaos. Instead of lamenting a bad system, why not fix it - just in time for the last of winter and the beginning of spring? With a few tips and a guide to taking the first steps, you can be well on your way to a mudroom that makes life easier.
No mudroom? No worries! Many of these steps can be applied to any entryway of your home, though if you end up with piles of shoes, coats, or kids’ gear in front of the front door, it may be worth it to consider adding a mudroom. They increase your storage and organization capabilities exponentially, all without taking up much square footage. Plus, a mudroom with a bit of style and decor only enhances the interior design of your home. What’s not to love?
Step One: Pros and Cons
Before you begin with the mudroom makeover, look at the system you currently have. What works? What really doesn’t? Make an extensive pros and cons list: it’ll help you figure out your mudroom needs and where improvements will give you the best returns with daily use. Don’t leave anything out - “dimly lit” and “eyesore” count as cons, but things like “square footage” or even “floor mat” can be pros.
Trick 1: Leave the pro/con list tacked up at eye level somewhere in your mudroom for about a week. Add to the list as you use the mudroom - it’ll be easier than trying to remember it all at once.
Step Two: Assess Your Storage Needs
Take inventory of everything currently in your mudroom, whether or not it belongs there. Make a list and start to group things into sections based on like items (coats, bags, sports gear) or usage (use daily, use weekly, use occasionally). Think through the seasons and add anything not currently in the entrance but that will need space eventually, and don’t forget to make a list (or at least get a sense) of how many pairs of shoes you’ll want to store and how; dripping boots don’t belong in a pile with formal dress shoes, for instance. Finally, add to the list anything you want to store in your mudroom that you aren’t currently so you remember to include room for those things in your new storage system.
Trick 2: Before you start, take everything that’s currently in your mudroom but doesn’t belong there and find it all a new home. That way you’ll be able to see what’s there and the clutter won’t end up back where it started.
Step 3: Hooks or Hangers?
Ok, so by now you should have a better sense of what you have and what you need, and thus it’s time to start narrowing down some options. When you think about storage, do you want Hooks or hangers for coats and bags? Should you leave more space for pull out storage or tall cabinets? Will your mudroom include open storage? Closed storage? A hybrid of both (which is probably the best use of your space)? While there are no wrong answers, you should customize your space based on your needs and own personal sense of style. If you sit down to put on your shoes, you’ll want to make sure there’s a bench - if not, you’re likely to walk into the house with your shoes, and then what’s the point of a mudroom?
Trick 3: While hooks don’t give you as much room for guests’ coats, young kids can hang up items on hooks much easier than hangers. Plus, you can keep their backpack, coat, and gloves all in one place for rushed mornings.
Step 4: Get Started!
You’re finally ready to make some changes! If you’re not so handy or don’t have the time, you can easily hire someone to professionally install your new shelving or cabinets (and often, the final product makes it worth it). Don’t skimp on the extras, either - painting can liven up a space, and decor like small mirrors and framed art help incorporate the space into the rest of the house (and make last-minute touch-ups easy as you run out the door).
Trick 4: Often forgotten, lighting can make all the difference in how a space feels. An electrician can tell you what’s possible in your space and help you give your new mudroom the fixtures it deserves!