Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Week One - How To Create and Organize a Mudroom

This week we have been focusing on our main living areas.  The mudroom is one of the rooms in our house that is SUPER important to us and is crucial to stay organized.  It's where the last minute rush out the door chaos takes place, as well as the coming home and "dump everything" zone.  If you don't have a space like this created in your own home, your kids and family will dump everything most likely on your kitchen counter, the floor by the front door, or some other hot zone.

Now I know not everyone has a mudroom - and I have to admit, it is a luxury.  However, our home didn't come with a mudroom either - I CREATED IT!! This little room that is tucked between our front entry hall and our garage actually used to be the laundry room.  It had just enough space for a washer and dryer.  I have seen a lot of homes on the east coast that are designed like this.  I loved the idea of having a main floor laundry area, but it just didn't function well as a laundry room, and it certainly didn't function as a mudroom - even though our coat closet was in this tiny room also.   You can see the installation of the mudroom several years ago by CLICKING OVER to this post. You can see how we had originally set it up as a mudroom which didn't work at all.  This set up has stood the test of time.  It certainly requires a bit of upkeep to maintain it - actually a LOT of upkeep since this is where the dumping of the stuff happens. But the key to keeping your home clean and organized is MAINTAINING it.  Once you get it organized, you must keep it that way.  It's not going to magically stay organized. 

I explain more in detail about how we installed these pieces and where you can get them in the other post you can click on up above.  This bench is actually a TV console from Ikea that was the perfect solution for this room.  It had three drawers and three cubbies for my three kids.  The shelves up above were from the same line and were not made for a mudroom.  But again, it was the perfect fit.  I originally had a basket designated for each kid for their seasonal items.  But after Punkin left for college, we made better use of them by designating them for hats, scarves and gloves for all of us girls in the house (including me!).  Dad gets his own basket up on top of the shelf.   We also keep an extra basket up there for mostly things like travel packs of tissues to grab on the way out the door, baby wipes (we use those constantly around here for everything imaginable), and sometimes various sports gear like shin guards in soccer season, dance shoes, etc. 
 I love having this extra set of hooks for guests to hang their coats.  I will admit that mostly my family uses them, even though they have their own easy hooks just inside the closet, but that means one extra step - opening the closet.  Sigh.  So usually there are family coats hanging there, or I end up putting them all away myself. 

I love, love, love being able to tuck the shoes away in the drawers.  We have a plastic bin in the storage room that we keep the off season shoes in, so this spot is just for this seasons shoes.  I have taken over Punkin's drawer here while she is away at college. 

 A set of family rules is perfect for in here!  A daily reminder as we walk out the door. :) 
 Of course hanging keys in here is a must.  Do you get frustrated looking for your keys constantly? Hang them right by the door you walk out of.
These hooks usually have ten million girl purses and bags hanging on them.  It's another thing we have to purge on a regular basis.   Book bags and other heavy bags will sit right on the bench - and yes that bench is usually COVERED in stuff.  But better there than all over the house, right?

Keeping all the dog leashes and collars corralled into one location in a basket is perfect in the mudroom.
 Inside the coat closet we keep our bulkier heavy boots, this seasons sports shoes, etc.  All the snow boots live in the garage drawers just outside the mudroom door.  You can see the garage by clicking HERE.  I also LOVE having a hamper tucked inside this closet for all the dirty laundry that tends to collect on our main living level.  Socks that are taken off in the family room, dish towels and rags from the kitchen, dirty clothes from gym bags, dance class, etc.  I simply hang wet dishtowels right on the edge of the hamper to dry.   I found this tall narrow one at Ikea. 

 I also keep extra large bags and an extra blanket to grab on the way out the door.  We always need a bag to throw snacks in for day trips, or even just to go to a basketball game - hey, we love our snacks around here. :) 

Right around the corner from the mudroom is this extra closet - that I think was technically supposed to be a guest coat closet, but we made it function much better for our family's needs.  It isn't pretty, but I wanted to show you what I keep in here.  That large bin on the floor holds our dog food.  It's nice and easy for the kids to reach and be able to feed the dogs, which is entirely their responsibility! :)  Also, keeping our vacuum right on the main living level means that I am more likely to do a quick vacuum when needed instead of having to go to the basement to get it and lug it up the steps.  Who wants to do that?   On the top shelf is mostly pet supplies, and the cute little pile of folded doggie laundry.  I do LOVE my dogs. They have Christmas jammies, sweaters and the most adorable little coats for snow and rain.  They also recently got little booties, but that is a post for another day! HA! That funky little zebra stripe bag is where I hold all my Target bags which we use for our upstairs garbage cans - did you know they are a perfect fit for small trash cans? 

I hope this inspires you to create a zone in your own home.  I have seen some great ideas on how to create this without a designated room or even a closet.   Pinterest is a great place to scour for ideas.  Don't forget to pin this post to Pinterest so you can refer back to it for ideas!  Join me over on Instagram and post your pictures of your latest home organization project using the hashtag  #organizeeverything  - I can't wait to see all your projects! 

Happy Organizing!

See the first post in this series - How to Organize Your Main Living Areas.