Nothing beats the feeling of walking into your own home after a long day… unless you trip over masses of clutter on the way in. Yes, a clutter-free entryway makes a big difference in our ability to unwind at home. But how to organize a mudroom to keep out the clutter is the question.
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.
If you want to get your entryway organized for good, here are five areas to address. Focusing on these aspects of your mudroom will help you get the most use out of your space.
Five Steps to an Organized Mudroom
1. First, 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 use 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. Take note of 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’ve 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. Next, 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.
Keep these tips in mind:
- 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. (Read our boot storage guide here!)
- Make the items you wear most often clearly visible. 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.
Bonus Mudroom Organization Idea:
For those shoes you don’t wear just any old day, find a new home for them outside of the mudroom to make space for everyday items. To do so, add a shoe rack in the laundry room or another hallway. Shoe racks come in various sizes and materials (wood, fabric, or metal), and can be easily assembled.
3. Make use of vertical wall storage units.
Isn’t it interesting how the areas 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 don’t have 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.
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 means big messes inside your home. It can even be dangerous – especially with younger children or elderly relatives.
Start 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 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.
More ways to keep the mudroom floor clean:
- 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.
5. Add storage for additional accessories.
Loose accessories need a home or else they’ll undo any organization efforts you’ve made. Baskets are a great tool for organizing a mudroom. Baskets or small plastic bins placed in a cubby or up on shelves can be used for flip flops or accessories like batting gloves, extra socks, sports wraps, or that extra sleeve of tennis balls you want to keep 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 space in a cubby or on a shelf for each child, add another labeled basket or bin with some essentials that may save some time when you are trying to get out the door. For example, 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.
Now that you know how to organize a mudroom, or at least the five areas to consider first, we hope you’re inspired to make your entryway fit the needs of your family. Once you have the proper accessories, you and your family will love that all of your belongings have a place and are easily accessible.
Editor’s Note: Originally published on August 12, 2016; updated December 11, 2020.