5 Steps to Get Organized
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.
A mudroom doesn't have to be located at the back or front of a home. An old side entry was converted into this welcoming mudroom with both open and closed storage solutions by TerraCotta Properties. Photography by Jeff Herr
Hooks and Benches
This accessible, family-friendly mudroom by Pierce Lamb Architects features plenty of hooks for caps and a handy built-in bench. Upper storage cabinets and beadboard paneling add character to the space. Photography by Kathy Tarantola
Athletes in the family can quickly grab gear or change uniforms in this streamlined mudroom by LDa Architecture & Interiors. Large drawers under the built-in bench store items away and help the space maintain a clean look. Photography by Kathy Tarantola
This smart mudroom by Ron Brenner Architects is located in a hall between the kitchen and garage. The mudroom cabinetry was crafted into a divider wall that disguises the laundry room on the other side. Photography by Phillip Mueller
Consider the needs of your pets. This pet-friendly mudroom by TerraCotta Properties includes a pullout lower drawer that offers customized space for food and water bowls. Photography by Jeff Herr
Pantry + Mudroom Combo
If you love to cook, try including pantry storage with your mudroom. This handy storage system from EasyClosets offers storage for mudroom essentials along with open shelves for dry pastas, extra mugs and cookbooks.
This user-friendly unit combines all the essentials of good mudroom storage: open shelves, closed cabinets, hooks for hanging coats or pet leashes, and a storage bench. An open niche under the lower cabinets can be used for shoes or pet bowls. Photo courtesy of ClosetMaid
Warm and Inviting
Small details can add style to a mudroom. A roomy mudroom in this Cape Cod-style home designed by Ron Brenner Architects features rich walnut storage solutions and serves as the family entry, ideally located off the kitchen and adjacent powder room. Photography by Phillip Mueller
Location, Location, Location
The right location makes all the difference for a mudroom. This user-friendly space for an active family of four is located between a side entry carport and an open-plan kitchen. Design by TerraCotta Properties; photography by Jeff Herr
A Place for Everything
Created to be an integrated feature of a full kitchen remodel, this smart mudroom/laundry room combination offers a series of hidden storage solutions for an active family. Storage for pet food and accessories was also included. Design by TerraCotta Properties; photography by Jeff Herr
When your mudroom is open to an adjacent space, take design cues from existing decor. Hanging, open and closed storage for this mudroom are all located inside a single stylish unit. Photo courtesy of EasyClosets
Formal to Functional
A sleek new mudroom and storage area is a key component of the more-welcoming formal entry in this renovated Boston townhouse designed by LDa Architecture & Interiors. The mudroom details complement the home's rich finishes.Photography by Peter Vanderwarker
Sometimes a simple niche creates just the storage you need. Architect Ron Brenner added a window to this upgraded mudroom that sits between the garage and main living area of this Arts & Crafts home. Photography by Phillip Mueller
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."
Room for a Bench
Mudrooms are the perfect places for benches that allow you to stop and remove your shoes before entering the home. With no true interior entryway, Hayden and Craig were lacking the space to accommodate such a perch. But thanks to an 8-foot exterior wall in their new outdoor mudroom, the couple gained ample space for a new Parsons version, where everyone can take off their Georgia clay-clad footwear before traipsing inside.
A Place for Vases
An outdoor mudroom can be an excellent solution for a home that's lacking in storage. Hayden has a large collection of vases that previously took up two entire kitchen cabinets but could be used more efficiently to stow bowls, plates and serving pieces. Now simple, white-painted wooden crates provide open storage along an exterior wall, keeping fragile vases out of the boys’ reach while freeing up valuable kitchen real estate.
Whether grooming cocker spaniel Lucy, cleaning up the kids after a day of roughhousing or arranging flowers in vases, Hayden is likely to spend lengthy periods of time in the outdoor mudroom. To add a layer of privacy and soften the hard edges of the home's exterior, indoor-outdoor drapery panels made of machine-washable acrylic fabric were installed.
Clever Pegboard Storage
Pegboards keep mudroom essentials stored neatly and within reach. As the Kelly family grows and their activities evolve, an adjustable pegboard backsplash, installed above the command center, offers a convenient spot to hang baskets and hooks. The utilitarian material was dressed up with a coat of celery-green paint.
A ready-made potting bench or console table can easily become a hard-working mudroom command center, complete with working water. But it's important to keep in mind various sink options and what their installations entail. Hayden and Craig chose an under-mount stainless steel sink for its sleek appearance and easy maintenance.
Similar to laundry rooms, mudrooms are rugged, hardy spaces best utilized for messy yet necessary daily routines. Rather than splashing water all over her kitchen and clogging her disposal drain with cut stems, Hayden utilizes her new potting bench command center as a flower-arranging station.
The Perks of Pea Gravel
Pea gravel was the material of choice for Hayden and Craig's outdoor mudroom. Sold by the truckload, pea gravel sits loosely on the ground and helps with drainage; thus, it's often used in gardens and planting beds. It's great for evening out a less-than-level surface and kicking dirt and clay off boots before heading inside.
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.