Control Clutter with a Mudroom

"All right! Who tracked mud all over my nice, clean house?!!" Sounds like someone’s in trouble now… A mudroom could solve this problem, and many others, too. Before you assume that this does not apply to you, consider what a mudroom is and how some version of it may be helpful to you.

Even a narrow entry can be converted into a mudroom with pegs for coats and a bench for sitting and stowing. This mudroom is attached to a laundry for added convenience.

What is a Mudroom?

Originally, a mudroom was a room or area near the most commonly used entrance, and served as a place to remove snow-covered, wet or muddy clothing and footwear. In a broader sense, it could be any well-designed utility space near the entrance of a home and that is used to organize frequently used gear.

For a family, this gear might be umbrellas, boots, gloves and other wet or muddy clothing. It could also be sports equipment, roller blades, helmets, backpacks, or anything family members need to deposit on the way into the house or grab on the way out of the house, even leashes, mail and keys. And any gardener can track as much mud into the house as any self-respecting 8-year-old.

Initial Considerations

Location: What is the most frequently used entrance? If it is the front, formal entrance, the design will be something quite different than a rear or side door. If the entrance is from the garage into the house, an area inside the garage and near the door can be used.

Size: An entryway or utility room inside the door is a wonderful place to create a mudroom. However, even a well organized corner can be tremendously useful.

Uses: While the primary benefit may come in rainy and snowy seasons, think year-round. This space can be useful 12 months a year.

Key Elements of a Mudroom

The floor: The floor should be durable, provide traction when wet and be easy to clean. Concrete and vinyl are durable but tend to be slippery if they are not textured. Wood has obvious problems with constant moisture. Look into what is available in textured rubber, ceramic or unpolished tile. Whatever the decision, get two doormats: a heavy-duty mat outside made of bristle or rubber to scrape off mud and snow and another light-duty mat inside to absorb moisture.

A place to sit: It’s important to have a comfortable and convenient bench to sit on while removing or putting on footwear. The bench can fit with the decor of a formal entryway or informal back door. A seat with a hinged top and storage inside can also help reduce clutter.

All-important storage: Some serious planning for what is needed will make the mudroom especially useful. Consider the following items.

  • Coat hooks or wooden pegs (at kid-friendly height, if applicable) are a great start. Space them so wet clothes can dry evenly and quickly.

  • Bins or cubbies can be a good place for books or backpacks, keeping them clean and dry. Add one for dry towels.

  • Bins for sports equipment can keep clutter confined and organized.

  • A mesh shelf is a good place for wet gloves and hats.

  • Add an out-of-the-way shelf for purses, briefcases, cell phones or sunglasses.

  • Use a boot tray to dry muddy shoes and boots.

  • A key rack keeps keys organized and accessible.

  • Add a hook for the dog's leash.

A well-planned mudroom can be a valuable asset to your home. Designed with decor appropriate to its location in your home and equipped to be functional, it can help you organize, control clutter and keep mud out of your home. And, a mudroom can keep you out of trouble.