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Budget Mudroom Makeover

October 31 2009

Is your home’s mudroom or entryway a cluttered mess of coats and boots that makes it hard to see the floor? Don’t sweat it. You are not alone. By bringing organization to this space in a house, you can provide a much warmer welcome to visitors, cut down on time wasted looking for that umbrella or gym bag, and make the space you have – however limited – at least twice as useful. Best of all, it can all be done on the cheap.

Turn Wasted Space into Usable Storage

Far too often, too little attention has been paid to the area between the door to your house and the true entrance to your home. In some cases, this space is nothing more than a narrow entryway you pass through between the front door and the foyer or living room. In other homes, the mudroom can actually be a full-sized room – perhaps between the garage and kitchen – but even in these cases it’s often still just a jumble of cluttered items dumped on the way in or out.

Whether yours is large or small, in the front of the house or the back, a mudroom makeover can transform wasted space into usable storage that will almost always bring greater efficiency to the household while turning an unsightly mess into a welcoming first impression for those who visit.

Better Living through Shelves and Hooks

We cannot sing the praises of shelving and hooks loudly enough when it comes to organizing a mudroom. Especially in smaller entryways, they allow you to take full advantage of the area’s only actual real estate – the walls. Inexpensive and easy to install, simple hooks and shelves can become valuable storage devices for everything from snow boots and goulashes to umbrellas and baseball caps.

If your space is not very wide, install a few shelves up high where they won’t impede passage but can still be a great spot to stash items like boots or sporting equipment that can be tall and/or unwieldy. If space is not an issue, shelves lower down the wall can be great, too, lined with baskets or bins.

Hooks – installed on the underside of shelves, directly into the walls, or into a long painted or stained board that then gets attached to the wall (reducing the overall number of holes you create in the wall itself) – are perfect for baseball caps, backpacks, purses, umbrellas, and shopping totes.

Seasonal Swap Out

If space is an issue, another way to make your mudroom more functional is by swapping out things seasonally so only the items you need right now are at your fingertips. If you have a back closet in addition to a front entryway, perhaps use the back closet as longer-term storage, where ski jackets and boots can live in the summer and flip flops and beach bags can reside during winter months. If just a single space is all you have, again think vertically. High shelves can hold out-of-season items so that lower wall space is freed up for what you need now.

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

Bins and baskets are a mudroom’s best friends. Grouped, organized, and labelled by content (mittens, scarves, hats, etc.) or by family member, they provide a place for everything and make it that much more likely things actually get put where they belong.

Keys and mail also often play a part in mudroom messiness. Designating a hook or basket for keys – and getting into the habit of dropping them there as soon as you come into the house – can be an easy way to cut down on last-minute frantic searches. A shelf for mail – with a tray divided into slots for each family member – can also keep important missives from getting lost or misplaced.