Here in the Midwest, mudrooms are coveted and are considered a huge bonus room. With the changing of four seasons, we are constantly changing coats, shoes, gear, and other weather-related accessories. Mudrooms and entryways are notorious for getting clogged with boots, missing mittens, wet snow pants, bags of returns, backpacks, and random items that are carried by little hands to and from the car.
Despite the oddities of midwest weather, there’s hope. We can have a plan and that plan can be put into action to make these entryways into functional spaces instead of the dumping ground. No one can change the weather, but we can adapt to it in a faster, easier, and more organized way.
Clear out anything that isn’t in season
Although it takes a lot of discipline, organizing, or touching your mudroom three to four times a year would be ideal. This helps you stay on top of the season you’re in. Summertime will be sunscreen, bug spray, and flip flops while winter will be known for hats, mittens, scarves, and boots. We don’t want the umbrellas, swim towels, and goggles taking up precious space for mittens and boots. So ideally there is a shifting of items with every season.
Hooks are easier than hangers
It’s so much easier to hang a heavy winter coat, bag, snow pants or a scarf on a hook instead of a hanger. If there is wall space for hooks, add them in and leave the coat hangers for occasional coats to be hung inside a closet. Everyday coats and bags you’re wearing and using right now could just be slung over a hook for ease of use.
Keep specific gear separate
It’s not every day that you’re skiing the slopes, so consider keeping the ski and super cold snow gear tucked away until your ski trip. The same principle could be applied to beach gear. It’s not every day here in the midwest that you’re at a beach. Tuck those items away until you need them. Leave room for the normal in season essentials because let’s face it, most of us are just trying to get out the door successfully without forgetting anything during the week.
Make clean up and transition time easy
Store things by category in bins or baskets that can be shifted in and out of season onto shelves and into cubbies. The category of items, for example, beach, bug spray/sunscreen, swim, hats, scarves, and mittens, can just be switched around for ease of use. During the winter place, the summer categories higher up and come summertime switch the winter categories in bins higher up.
Store kids’ items at their level
Regardless of the season, we want to make it easy for our kids to access their stuff and help get things out or put things away. Hooks at their eye level help them hang up their coats, sweatshirts, and backpacks. A bin or basket on the floor for their shoes or their random sports stuff will make it easy for them to help you clean up. Assign one bin or basket per child.
Consider two categories most families forget about in the mudroom
Often busy moms and dads overlook the need for two specific categories that clutter up and end up all over the mudroom or entry. Try having a container to catch stray toys, cars, markers, and books that travel between the house and the car. Because kids are going in and out holding things in their hands or wanting to take things with to a restaurant, we often find a lot of stray items and toys that would be better off sorted later but need a landing zone.
The second overlooked category is purse and bag refills. Have a station where you could refill the hand sanitizer in your purse or the take along with kleenex boxes. This is priceless when you’re looking for these small items as you’ve just run out of something crucial at the bottom of your purse.