Saturday, September 03, 2011

Mini "Mud Room" in a Closet

I love the idea of a mud room. Probably because they make organizers and clean-freaks very happy at the same time...and I am both of those. Having a central place to put shoes, jackets, bags, etc. just makes so much sense.

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Because both of the boys rooms are upstairs, I really like keeping their shoes and outerwear downstairs to put on right before we leave the house or go outside. It keeps me from running upstairs to grab those things right before we need to leave.

When Ethan started preschool last fall, I came up with a solution that has worked for us so far. His backpack and jacket or coat hung on a hook in the laundry room/hallway from the garage when they weren't with him at school. His shoes were stored in a bottom cabinet of our kitchen inside a plastic bin.


However, those solutions were not ideal to me. First of all, the hooks in the laundry room/hallway from the garage end up behind the back door when it is opened. So too much bulk back there doesn't allow for the back door to open all the way.


That's a major bummer when you're trying to carry an infant and usher a preschooler in from the car after going out anywhere, while more than likely carrying at least a purse/bag and possibly other items. As much as I'd love our laundry room/hallway from the garage to function as a mud room too (because it is the ideal location in the house)'s just not big enough. So, moving the backpack and other bags I stored there has been on my mind for a while.

Secondly, Ethan's shoes in a bin in one of my kitchen cabinets is not that big of a deal, but when Logan's are in there too...that whole cabinet space will be lost to me and at some point, their shoes are going to get stinky (more than likely). I can't keep my baking dishes down there with their shoes. So, I have also been brainstorming an alternate place to store them.

Finally, it dawned on me that I have some prime real estate right in the middle of our family room...the under-the-stairs closet. If Harry Potter can call it a bedroom, I can certainly use it as a mini mud room, right?


The only issues were to clean it out, shuffle things around, and add storage. It turned out to only be a one-afternoon project. And I am thrilled with how it is working for us so far. I hope it continues to function like I envision when they boys get to be school-age. I really want a place downstairs for them to store their backpacks and other clutter so it is not spread out in our living space when they come home from school. It is crazy that I am thinking this far into the future? (Okay, maybe don't answer that.) So, here's the final space.



It would have been so cool if I had taken a before picture, but I did not. I got too excited about cleaning the closet out that I didn't even think about it. Just imagine a lot more junk and a lot less organization. Also, please ignore the giant Christmas tree box, luggage, vaccuum, and other visible items that are stored in this closet. This closet is all about functionality....and just regular old storage space. But it's all hidden away behind a door and I love that.

Because of those added cubbies (from Target), I was able to put a few of Ethan's toys/puzzles that we don't like to leave out because of Logan. Just icing on the cake because I didn't have that in mind when I started this project.


I also hung the hooks at a height that allows Ethan to reach them. This way he can be responsible for hanging up and retrieving things there. I can always raise those hooks later if I feel like I need to. (PS - I could not find a hook rack with hooks spaced far enough apart for my liking. So, I made my own from a piece of wood from Lowes, which I had them cut for me, and some individual hooks.)


Ethan is already great at putting his shoes on before we leave and taking them off right when we get home. I just asked him to pick which basket (from Target) he wanted to use for his shoes and to help me transfer them all to the new basket. That's all it took for him to remember the new location of his shoes. (And yes, Ethan is wearing his PJs.)



Mary said...

That is a great idea! I too am in love with the idea of a mudroom, but don't have the space. I feel like papers from school are always scattered all over the dining room! I will have to keep brainstorming to find my space, cause I LOVE yours! It turned out great! I love that there is also a space for your super fuzzy couch blankets too! :)

Christina said...

Rachel, I've been wanting to do this with our stairs closet, as well! It's on my to do list, however, after seeing your post, I may just bump this up on the list! Love it!

Lindsay said...

Awesome! When there is a will there is a way.

mudroom storage said...

Lovely post, what a beautiful laundry rooms, Im so inspired to fix mine :)