5 Steps to Get Organized

Get tips to eliminate clutter and organize what you have to utilize your mudroom in the best way.

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Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

Taking the time to edit what you need to store and organizing those items will help you create an efficient mudroom that makes your life a whole lot easier.

"You really never have an idea of what your true needs are unless you define what you have to store and purge what you don't need," says professional organizer Amanda LeBlanc, a national spokesperson for Organized Living.

Here are five steps to eliminating clutter and organizing the items going into your mudroom.

Step 1: Examine what you have and ask questions

"I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when planning a space like a mudroom is going for style instead of function," says professional organizer Jill Yesko, owner of Discover Organizing. "You don't want your mudroom to be your lazy spot. It's all about considering frequency and need."

To avoid creating a mudroom that quickly fills up, eliminate what you don't use. Have you worn those old sneakers in the last year? Do you have multiple brooms or numerous umbrellas? Be honest about what you need now.

Step 2: Sort what you have and group in categories

Take the items you want to include in your mudroom and sort them.

"Sorting is really key," says Yesko. "The initial sort provides you with a wonderful opportunity to take inventory of what you have and what's missing. I always use four boxes for the first sort: keep, sell, toss and donate. After that, you can sort the items you want to keep into general categories and then be more specific."

Yesko suggests having a designated holding area for new items that come into your home (she likes a two-sectioned bin), until you can decide where you want to put them away.

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Step 3: Identify items you use daily vs. occasionally or seasonally

This important step really helps you prioritize your needs.

"It keeps you in touch with your items so you don't start accumulating things," says Yesko. "If you have a mudroom designated just for current and active items, you tend to take care of it better."

LeBlanc suggests using a labeled basket or bin designated just for travel games, toys and books you use for family road trips, so you can quickly grab the items the next time you head out on the road. For seasonal essentials like holiday tree ornaments or lights, use boxes with dividers stored on higher shelves or out of the way, since you only need to access them for a limited period each year.

Step 4: Create different zones in your mudroom

Just like a kitchen that has a prep, cooking and cleanup zone, a mudroom also benefits from this type of designated organization.

Set up a "go-to" zone by your mudroom's exterior door for the items your family needs as they arrive or leave. Depending on your household needs, you can designate a "laundry zone" around your washer and dryer and a "pet zone" for designated storage of food and supplies. But try to keep things as simple as possible.

"Maybe the biggest mistakes with zones is breaking it down too much or making it overly complicated and hard to follow," says Yesko. "If you do that, your kids won't use all the storage you created."

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Step 5: Consider storage options

Keep in mind your current needs and flexible solutions that can grow with your family

"You don't want long-term storage in your mudroom, and generally I only like concealed storage for smaller items," says Yesko. "A mudroom is all about quick retrieval and unloading."

Remember your kids will grow and the low-placed hooks for small backpacks might need to be moved up a few inches in a couple of years. Whenever possible, choose storage units with adjustable shelves. When dealing with fixed shelves, baskets and bins are an inexpensive change you can make to accommodate the storage of larger or smaller items.

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