Mudrooms are magical because they provide the perfect place to store all the paraphernalia that is leaving/entering your home over and over. When organizing mudrooms or entryways so everything is there at your fingertips, you avoid the morning stress caused by one/more people running around the house looking for car keys, a backpack or letter than needs to get mailed.
When family members use a side door most of the time, mudrooms are provide more useful storage for coats, gloves, etc than a front door closet which isn't convenient when you're late and running out the door. So let's look at mudroom basics that will help you get more organized.
Mudrooms and Where to Locate Them
Every house has a front door we seldom use. There's a coat closet near the front door but what happens when family members use a different door, typically a back door or side door? That's where the concept of a mudroom comes in handy. It's the place or room where the family can remove their boots or get out of wet clothing, so they don't track the dirt throughout the house. One key requirement for this space is a floor that is easy to clean, that doesn't get damaged easily when exposed to lots of water and dirt (read Tile Floors & Wet Snowy Boots). Let's look at the best choices for a mudroom.
- Small room with an exterior door on the side/back of your home. This room often opens into the kitchen and may have a door to the garage.
- Laundry rooms off the kitchen often fill the role of a mudroom when there's a door from the outside or garage.
- An entryway can serve as a mud room when it doesn't open directly into a formal space like your living/dining room. In northern climates these entryways have a second door into the house to keep the cold air out.
One of our homes had an entry room 8 ft deep with a closet along one entire wall. We built cubbies inside the closet to store all the kid's stuff from backpacks and sports equipment to boots, coats and more for every family member. Each cubby had a basket (we bought the baskets before we built the bookcase), making it easy to remove the baskets and find something little, i.e. a missing mitten. The bonus was an extra cubby that became “lost and found” for all the things left behind by kids in the neighborhood.
Mudroom Basics: The Most Important Features of a Mudroom
Every mudroom needs a few basic items to function as a mudroom. First you need a chair or bench for people to sit on while removing their shoes. Next a flat surface, table or shelf, where people can put down packages while taking off (putting on) their boots/shoes. Then you'll want places to store foot gear, jackets, backpacks, etc.
Assess what your family needs to store in the mudroom and with kids, you'll need added space for oversize sports gear like hockey sticks. When the mudroom has a door into the garage that's easy or maybe that goes down to the basement. So let's recap what you need to furnish your mudroom:
- Bench or chair for people to sit on while changing foot gear.
- Storage for foot gear which might be as simple as shelving under the bench or a shoe rack and if you're looking for ideas, check out Leaving Your Shoes at the Door. A floor mat that holds water also simplifies cleaning.
- A closet or hooks to hang things up from jackets to backpacks and more.
- Several baskets or crates are good for tossing things into without having to open drawers.
- A flat surface for putting things down temporarily is a good idea for safety, if you only have a chair some people might place stuff there and balance on one foot while removing boots.
Mudrooms: Organizing What You Keep in the Mudroom
Now the fun starts as you've got space in your home where certain things will live, making it easier to find things on the way out the door. Here are ideas for what to keep in your mudroom and making things visible will reduce rummaging through drawers.
- Bulky coats/jackets can be split between the mudroom and front hall closet (this season's gear).
- Each family member should have their own basket or cubby hole for personal items, and kids might need second basket for backpacks and other sports/school stuff.
- Keep baskets for incoming/outgoing mail or give family members a slot in a wall organizer.
- Put car keys on hooks by the exterior door.
- This is a great place for a family calendar and message board.
- A laundry basket basket will remind everyone to leave their wet stuff in the mudroom.
I dream about that exact mudroom, fantasize that each family member will get their own cubby, where they can orderly keep their respective belongings!! Great info and details, as usual Tina. Thanks!
Paula, The first step to creating your dream mudroom is to draw up a design of the final room. Then you can make it happen, even if you only do one thing each year. When we moved into a new house & my boys were newborn & 4 yrs old, we built a short bench (maybe 12 inches high) out of 3 pieces of lumber. We stained the bench and boards with hooks that we bought at an unfinished furniture store … and it was perfect.