Updated on 8/12/16 from an article originally published on 2/5/15.
Keep your entry and mudroom organized with these simple tips.
No matter what season it is, keeping your mudroom clutter free can be a daunting task. In the snowy months, snow accessories take up a ton of space. Keeping the floors clean and dry can be especially challenging (and we all hate how our socks get wet when we go near the door).
During spring and summer, you’ll swap snow boots for sneakers and winter hats and gloves for umbrellas. While the change in the seasons is certainly welcome, it also means the start of spring and summer sports which can leave your mudroom looking a bit more like a locker room than a welcoming entry to your home.
Having equipment and shoes all over your back hall isn’t an attractive sight, and it can be difficult to find everything you need when heading out the door in a hurry. Use these 5 organization tips to help clear the clutter out of your mudroom or entryway.
1. Assess how your family enters and leaves the house.
While placing an umbrella holder, coat rack, and bench at the front door may look beautiful in a home decor magazine, the reality is that most households rarely utilize their front door. In fact, most people with homes that have attached garages enter via a mudroom, back hall, or laundry room.
Think about your family’s everyday activities and take note where everyone currently stores their sporting equipment, backpacks, shoes, and belongings. The success of your newly organized mudroom or entry will come from personalizing the area to work for you and your family.
Once you have thought about your family’s routine, it will be easier to organize essentials and come up with a functional method that works for you. For example, if your son comes home from school and then has baseball practice, designate one specific hook for his backpack and baseball bag only. That way, when he gets home from school he can simply swap his school bag for his baseball bag.
2. Make seasonal swaps to save space.
Even if you have a large back hall closet, things can get cluttered and lost quickly. There is nothing worse than opening your closet door and having the rack so jam packed that you can’t even slide the coat hangers to find what you are looking for. Change out the contents of your front closet seasonally and store items you won’t use elsewhere.
You won’t need snow pants and heavy down coats during the spring and summer. Pack seasonal items in large clear plastic containers or vacuum seal bags. Move boots to the back of the closet or remove them entirely and store them in a bin as well.
Make the items you wear most often clearly visible and keep transitional pieces you still use towards the back of the closet so they are still accessible. Label a container for each family member so that all of their belongings stay together for future use. When temperatures cool, swap your light windbreakers and raincoats with your fleece jackets and heavier apparel.
3. Make use of vertical wall organization.
Isn’t it interesting how the area where you seem to need the most space are often the smallest areas in your home? Take a look at your entryway or mudroom and measure the space. If you have a dedicated mudroom with plenty of room, consider built-in miniature closets or lockers for each person in the family or get a large storage bench with a hinged seat. Lockers keep everyone’s personal belongings in one place while the storage bench with a hinged seat option can be lifted to store athletic gear, pet supplies, or winter accessories during the colder months.
If you do not have the space for a storage bench or to build larger lockers, add hooks, small cubbies, or shelves to your walls to keep things tidy and off the floor. Consider installing the hooks and shelving at varying heights so even little ones will be able to organize their own belongings. This will get them in the habit of cleaning up on their own and they will be accountable for keeping track of their own things. With these solutions, your wall space can be completely dedicated to storing outerwear, gym bags, and backpacks.
Bonus Storage Hack: Towel rods can also work very nicely in a laundry room to keep extra jackets organized, plus they can double as a drying rack for items that cannot be dried in the dryer. If you do not want to permanently install a clothing rod, over door clothes hooks are inexpensive and can easily give you a bit more storage on a laundry room door or on the inside of a back hall closet. Another easy and cost effective way to store additional shoes is by having a shoe rack in the laundry room or hallway. Shoe racks come in various sizes and materials (wood, or metal), and can be easily assembled.
4. Invest in the right accessories to combat moisture on the floor.
Spring weather means a fair bit of rain and mud while the winter months bring in snow and floor-damaging salt. Tracking in water, salt and dirt from the outdoors become really messy for your home. It can even be dangerous – especially with younger children.
Avoid damaging your floors by starting with a welcome mat. This will allow your family and guests to scrape any excess mud and dirt off before even entering the house. Heavy duty scraper mats are ideal for ultra muddy conditions or for snow in the wintertime. These mats are nearly indestructible, can be washed off very easily with a hose, and they can last indefinitely.
For less harsh conditions, consider a coir fiber mat that is made from the outer shells of coconuts. The natural fibers in this type of mat are durable enough to handle the dirt and grime while also naturally absorbing water without causing mold or mildew.
Inside your home, assign an area directly adjacent to the doorway for storing shoes and boots. A boot tray made of plastic or heavy duty rubber is excellent for storing rain boots, snow boots, or dirty cleats because they are long lasting. Any water or dirt that gathers in the bottom of the tray can be dumped out or rinsed off. An inexpensive, durable utility mat in a dark color is also excellent for placing shoes near the door. A dark color won’t stain or show dirt as easily, and this type of mat will still help protect your floors from moisture. These accessories will help keep the majority of dirt and moisture contained while keeping your entryway clean and your floors damage free.
5. Have storage for additional accessories.
Baskets are a great tool for storing flip flops or sports slides by the doorway in your mudroom. Baskets or small plastic bins placed in a cubbie or up on shelves are also very helpful for keeping accessories like batting gloves, extra socks, sports wrap, or that extra sleeve of tennis balls easily accessible.
Have a set of baskets for each child. These can be easily labeled with their names and what should go in each one. If you have the space in a cubbie or on a shelf for each child, add an additional labeled basket or bin with some essentials that may save some time when you are trying to get out the door. If your daughter is constantly running back upstairs for a hair tie before cheerleading practice, keep a pack in her basket for her. If your son is always going back to the kitchen for a last minute snack while wearing his filthy cleats, keep a few granola bars or protein bars in his basket. This will save time and help keep the rest of your home clean.
Keep your mudroom or entryway mess free with these simple and helpful organizational tips. Once you have the proper accessories and a solid organization method, you and your family will love that all of their belongings have a place and are easily accessible.