Organizing a room where you and your family shed the clothing protecting you from Mother Earth can be tricky. Keeping it organized is important for your sanity, but if your mudroom also doubles as the foyer, welcoming guests to your home, it’s also nice to keep it presentable.
What You Need:
- Some large empty boxes or bags for sorting (step #1)
- A measuring tape
- A large clear surface on which you can sort items
- A list of the functions you want to make sure your mudroom serves
- A camera to take “before” and “after” photos
- Labels or tags
What You Do:
Step 1: Begin by sorting through all of the items which currently live in your mudroom.
Organize them into the following categories:
Return (items you would like to return to this space once it is organized)
Elsewhere (items that really should be somewhere else in your home that somehow ended up here).
Donate (items you no longer need but are in decent shape)
Dispose (items that need to be trashed recycled)
Store (items you want to keep, but which don’t need to be accessible on a daily basis
Now that your items are sorted, you are ready to plan your new space. Take measurements to determine what kind of furniture, benches, racks, etc. you can accommodate.
Step 2: If you have the money and the space you can buy entryway furniture. They’re cabinet-like pieces with separators and drawers. While they look nice, they’re also limiting; they take up space and can be expensive.
Step 3: Use Hooks. Coat racks and trees are nice for holding a lot of items, but can get top heavy and tip over easily. Think more along the lines of hooks. Individual hooks hung at different heights or hook racks work well. Have fun choosing from the vast collection of decorative looks that match your personality and home.
TIP #1: Try 3M Command® plastic hooks. They’re inexpensive and don’t require any screws or nails to hang causing little to no damage to your walls.
Step 4: Designate a hook or area for each person in your family. Hang a wire basket from hooks above and place another basket or plastic tote on the floor for them. Not only do they have a place for their jackets and coats, they also have storage for hats, gloves and footwear.
Step 5: If you’ve got an entryway closet, make the most of it with inexpensive organizers. Almost every department store has multiple products designed to help you make the most of your space. Just remember, these may be holding wet clothing or shoes/boots and plastic or wire may last longer and will be easier to keep clean than fabric coated. If you’re on a tight budget try a plastic, over-the-door shoe holder. They double as glove and stocking hat storage.
Step 6: Place absorbent floor mats on the floor. These are a must for catching the gunk your snow boots and slickers track in. Or, try a rubber shoe tray, found in most home improvement shops.
Step 7: Install a small bench to sit on while taking off footwear. Also, a shelf or other flat surface may assist keys and other small items from getting lost. Key racks/hooks can add decoration and function to your entryway. You can also buy inexpensive but cute totes to fit under the bench for extra storage and organization.
Step 8: Get rid of any stench. All of the cute decorations in the world won’t help if your mudroom/foyer smells like moldy feet. Place a decorative bowl filled with potpourri on the shelf. If you don’t have a shelf or hate the idea of something to collect dust, try flameless candles or other air fresheners with decorative outer cases. If you’re on a budget, fill old stockings with dryer sheets and hide them inside the closet or tack them to the underside of a bench.
DOs and DON’Ts for Organizing your Foyer / Mudroom:
- Eliminate any items from the space which don’t need to live in the mudroom.
- Label any bins or baskets, either by what should go inside (e.g. “gloves,” “hats,” “suncreen” or with the name of the person each bin belongs to (“Mom,” “Dad,” “Mary”)
- Utilize all the surfaces, including the walls. Mudrooms can have limited floor space, so always look up!
- Consider installing an electrical outlet near a horizontal surface (shelf or dresser) where electronics can be plugged in and charged.
- Hang a mirror for a “last look” before leaving the house and to add light to the space.
- Think about lighting. Bright lighting is essential.
- Paint surfaces white. Mudrooms take a beating and show wear and tear quickly.
- Overfill the room with furniture. Make sure to leave breathing space for putting on coats and carrying large items.
- Buy a carpet/rug that is so thick that the door doesn’t open, or one that is hard to clean. Remember, this is a high traffic space.
- Focus exclusively on how the room looks. Function is king in a mudroom.
Take your time and figure out your family's needs. Have fun finding organizers and decorations that look great and fulfil the function of making your life easier. Always try to remain green and re-use something from your household. You'd be surprised what a coat of paint or other nice touches to an old piece of furniture can add to your space and not take away from your wallet!
Other Contributors to this Article:
Seana Turner, PO
Danielle Travali, Project Life Editor-in-Chief