Organizing Your Mud Room: Storage Solutions and Décor Ideas
Just because your entryway is called a mud room doesn’t mean it has to be messy and piled high with coats, boots, gym bags, pet leashes, the vacuum cleaner, backpacks and your car keys. A well-organized mud room helps eliminate clutter and prevent dirt from being tracked into your home.
A well-planned mud room can actually help you enjoy the rest of your home more. If you have designated places in your mud room for everything from bills to boots, then that clutter won’t overflow into your living spaces. “The biggest
Rubbermaid storage solutions keep this mud room organized. Photo courtesy of Rubbermaid.
problem many people have is they don’t have a place to put their stuff when they walk in the door and so it ends up on the kitchen counter or dining room table,” says professional organizer Niki Bell of Minneapolis, founder of De-Clutter Club!®. “They end up not using their table at all and eating on the couch instead. They’re not able to entertain because they’re embarrassed.”
Once seen mainly in high-end homes, mud rooms are making their way into homes in the middle price ranges, says Betty Schmal, product manager for the closet category of Rubbermaid based in Huntersville, N.C. Many mud rooms continue to double as laundry rooms and have doors that can be closed to hide a mess. But more homes are being designed with the laundry room upstairs, leaving a mud room or entry room downstairs.
Simple Systems “Often a transition room doesn’t have a door so it’s even more important that room be neat and orderly,” Schmal says. The keys to organizing your mud room are keeping systems simple and making sure often-used items are within easy reach. For example, it’s more complicated to put the mail, car keys or permission slips into a drawer than into an open cubby or mail slot. “Easy is good,” says professional organizer Jeri Dansky of Half Moon Bay, Calif. “A cubby is easier than a cabinet.”
Think about the open mailbox system in many offices and translate that concept to your home. Label slots for permission slips, bills to pay, papers to file, kids’ activities, credit card statements and whatever else you’ll need to file. For kids, pictures work well for labels. “Kids love to see their own faces,” Bell says. “Take a picture and put the child’s name where his or her stuff is supposed to go.”
Another way to keep paper under control is to include a recycling bin or trash can by the door for junk mail and other paperwork you don’t need to save.
Within Reach Storage for kids should be easy for them to reach. “Kids are always in a hurry,” Schmal says. “If they can shove their stuff on a shelf as they’re running in and out the door, you have a much better chance of keeping your mud room neat.” Hooks for kids’ coats, backpacks and sports bags should also be at their level.
You may have room for a higher row of hooks and/or cubbies for adult gear, paperwork and out of season items. “When it’s not dancing season, my kids’ dance bags go up high,” Bell says. “Then the swimsuits and goggles come down.”
Don’t forget pet items. Plan a spot with hooks for leashes and waste pickup and cleanup supplies near the door so you’ll be prepared when it’s time to walk the dog, Danksy says.