Whether you have a spacious mudroom or a simple entryway, making the most of that space can make your day-to-day life a whole lot easier. You might walk directly into your dorm room or apartment or you might enter into your house or condo through the garage or front door; regardless of where it is, the entryway into your living space is a consistent one, which makes it the ideal spot for storing the items you typically need to grab on your way out the door. Want to put an end to those crazed mornings looking for car keys (I’ve actually checked my refrigerator before…..yes I said refrigerator) or sunglasses (which I once found sitting on my head during my frantic search)? Here are a few solutions that may work well for you:
For the Little Stuff
Cell phones, work or school IDs, wallets or money clips, sunglasses and keys – these seem to be the items most often misplaced and ultimately the ones that can turn you and/or your family into a frenzied search party because without them, no one can leave the house. I believe the key to success with these small essentials is placement consistency. Identify a home – the less homes the better – and consistently return each item to its (their) home……do it right away…..day in and day out…..no exceptions. This may be challenging at first, but once this process becomes a habit you won’t even have to think about it, like a reflex. A really helpful reflex.
Hooks, hooks, hooks! They are perfect for hanging handbags, backpacks and sports bags and there are so many great styles to choose from. Personalize it, what do they (or you) love? My oldest son has an airplane hook and my youngest has a fisherman. Letter hooks are also great and when you can find new ways to work a monogram into your decor……can you say fabulous?! The possibilities are endless, just make it your own.
Traditional mudrooms afford you more extensive space for benches and/or bookcases with plenty of storage compartments. Check out any Pottery Barn catalog and you will find loads of mudroom configurations and ideas. <<ylwo tip – if Pottery Barn furniture is not in the price range you want, there are plenty of fabulous alternatives at stores such as IKEA and Target. >>
In a traditional mudroom, rather than using hooks, I personally think it’s best to assign each person a specific storage section(s) in which they can place their bag(s). Placement consistency…..there it is again 🙂
And don’t let the rest of that wall or shelf space go to waste – include pictures of family, friends, pets, a family calendar or a chalk board with the day’s key events or a sweet message. Jazzing up an otherwise plain entryway not only looks great, it will make you feel great every time you walk through the door.
As a professional organizer, my instinct is to tell you to always put your shoes back in your closet as soon as you take them off, but this is just not realistic and frankly, where my kids’ dirty sneakers are concerned, I would prefer those not make it past the doorway let alone all the way into their bedroom closets. But rather than leave a pile of shoes by the door or sitting under an entryway bench, containerize. I’ve found that a round woven basket is great for by-the-door shoe storage, easy to toss shoes into, but pretty, which keeps me from being annoyed that no one picked up their shoes! Let’s face it, we have to pick our battles and shoe storage doesn’t need to be one of them.
Ultimately the size of the basket will depend on how many people live in your home. We are four, 2 adults and 2 kids and my shoe basket is 16” deep with a 16” diameter; not too deep to make finding your shoes difficult but large enough to be sure the basket is never overflowing. In our basket you will typically find all the kids’ shoes, including cleats for sports, as well as my husband’s and my sneakers and flip flops.
When you are short on (or have no) coat closet space, adding a shelf to an entryway wall, with a built in rod underneath (or an added tension rod for the DIY-er) is a great solution for hanging coats, scarves and umbrellas. <<ylwo tip – I recommend only hanging outerwear for the current season in your entryway; leaving more than necessary in sight could create a cluttered appearance.>> An alternative to the rod would be hooks. Either way, be sure the shelf is sturdy enough to hold heavier winter coats.
To get even more use out of this space place a cute basket on top of the shelf; ideal storage for hats and gloves. <<ylwo tip – measure your shelf before you shop for the basket to ensure you buy one that will fit nicely. Home Goods has an amazing selection of baskets in a multitude of shapes and sizes. >>
In a more traditional mudroom, hooks above a long bench usually work the best for coats and scarves, allowing you to leverage the storage space under the bench for baskets of hats and gloves.
No matter the size of your entryway, make the most of the space. “Mudrooms”, after all, should be functional, not muddy.