When we built our house over a decade ago, we created a small mud room in the doorway to the garage. It had a long bench, open shelves, and cubes underneath. Sounds perfect right? For some mysterious reason, over the years it became a spot in the house that always felt disorganized, and my countless attempts to fix it with baskets and bins never seemed to stick. I needed some key ideas for organizing mudrooms, STAT.
Here’s the challenge: when one of my family members walks in the door, they throw it all down: backpacks, lunch boxes, coats, hats, sunglasses, tote bags, empty Starbucks cups – as you call it, it’s thrown at this point. The shelves we had installed were too high for the kids to reach, and the six hooks I hung over the bench only held six items. Which one didn’t actually cut it. When it came time to prioritize areas of the house for our mini remodel last year, I knew the mud room was one area I wanted to get in shape. I asked the California Closets team that I worked with on our closets and pantry if they could help out in the mud room as well and of course they had a solution.
Given that it is the first thing many people see when they walk into our homes, it’s funny that so many of us prioritize our entrances last. It’s only when the parcels are stacked, the shoes are scattered around, and the keys are missing that we finally realize that this one area of our home could make our lives so much better. And with the right organization system, it can look nice too.
Do you think getting this space right is as easy as buying a console table or hanging up a couple of hooks? Think again The ideal mud room will suit both the room and your lifestyle. Read on for 8 mudroom organization ideas that will make yours look better than ever and the California Closets-designed mudroom that makes me happy every time I get home.
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Determine your input needs.
The first step is simply to ask yourself: What do I need? When cubbies, hooks, baskets, and benches sound exactly as the doctor ordered, nothing is more functional than a mud room for a family who travels a lot. All you need to bring this look into your own home is a blank wall and just enough depth to allow for built-in storage space.
Personally, I wanted tall cabinets with doors that would hide everything outside the premises. Yes, some families just have fancy scarves, jackets, and straw sunsets that look beautiful on exposed wall hooks. We don’t belong to those families (haha). I knew we needed some ideas for organizing mudrooms to hide all of our stuff.
My designer at California Closets walked our cabinets from floor to ceiling, so there was plenty of space under the hanging space for storage and cubes. It’s super efficient – the shelves below hold sunglasses, exercise equipment, and other items that we often have to grab when we walk out the door.
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Create zones for each person.
This has changed our entry field. Each family member has their own hooks for outerwear and backpacks, as well as their own shoe drawer. It just has to do with having a certain point for each item per person that organizes things on the next level, and that certainly applies to us too. There’s a reason Montessori classrooms are always so tidy …
This is a great shot for highlighting the lighting in our closets. I’ll be honest, I might not have thought indoor lighting was necessary here … until I saw it in action. It was included in my California Closets design, and the difference is day and night (pun intended) – especially when we all reach for iPads and winter gear in the early hours of preschool, it’s important that everything is lit.
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Make way for a bank.
Rest on it while you put your shoes on or drop your purse on it. In any case, a narrow, low-profile bench next to a busy house entrance is always practical. If you don’t have a complete system of organization like this, a cool wooden bench is the perfect decorative (and affordable) piece of furniture to decorate an entryway.
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Stow shoes in the lower storage room.
If your family is like mine, this is inevitable: shoes are taken off as soon as my children walk in the door. An important key to keeping this thoroughfare clear is simply storing shoes – and easy is the keyword here as it is the only way you can actually get used to it. Our answer? Deep, spacious drawers – one for each family member (except me – I keep my shoes in my own closet, thanks.) It’s not just an easy way to correct shoes. It also ensures that all shoes are ready and waiting to get to school during the madness.
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In such a functional space, one or two thoughtful, pretty touches are enough. This is a great place for a bulletin board, tall plant, or vintage runner. Each adds character to the space without detracting from the clean, organized mood.
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Hooks or hanging rods?
For us, the ideal answer was “both!” Since we had quite a bit of space to work, my ideal setup allowed me and Adam to hang our heavier coats on a hanging rod so they were easy to grab in the winter. and do not take up valuable storage space in summer. And knowing that it wasn’t realistic to expect my kids to hang their jackets on real hangers (let’s be honest), I knew hooks would be a better system for them. California Closets designed a system with a tall closet on the right hand side that is deep enough to accommodate a full size adult hanging rod. There are numerous hooks on the left for the children to hang up outerwear, backpacks, lunch boxes and tote bags. That equates to zero excuses for anyone who doesn’t hang up their things!
Use overhead space wisely.
If you really want to maximize the efficiency of your space, your mudroom organization ideas should consider both high and low storage. Our high overhead compartments are too high to be reached without a step stool. They are therefore the perfect place for things that we want to have ready but are not visible. We have a large basket with towels, sunscreen and other things from the garden. In another basket, you can find out-of-season outdoor gear such as mittens, hats and scarves.
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Do you have a panacea.
While I honestly have all of the storage space I need here, there are still the inevitable bits and pieces that fall on the bench when my family walks in the door. Things I want out of sight but may not have time to organize or put away for now. Think: library books, masks (sooo many masks), random toys, lip balm. You understand the essentials. Step in, the huge textured woven bag I always sit on the bench. Not only does it add a pretty decor element; It’s the perfect place to throw random items in, then I cover everything with an artificial sheepskin. At the weekend I go around with my bag and let everyone put their own randomness aside.
Many thanks to our partner California Closets for bringing my dreams of mudroom organizations to life!