The kids have been in school for a few weeks and their fall sports and extra-curricular activities have resumed. You’re back in the full “swing of things” now that fall is officially here. Are you finding it an easy or difficult task to keep organized with everything coming and going out of your home? If you answered the latter, it’s a good time for you to evaluate your mudroom design.
One of the first comments we receive from homeowners looking to remodel their home is, “Our mudroom isn’t large enough; it’s not working for us.” In addition to my own experience as a custom home builder and remodeler that has built and renovated many a mudroom, I’ve spend years scouring national magazines, industry publications and online resources to bring you the top 10 features every mudroom should have.
Before checking out the list, ask yourself these two important questions: What will you be storing in your mudroom and how do you plan to use it? If you’re like many American families, your mudroom often doubles as your laundry room and is the first room you see upon entering your home through the garage. Your mudroom might serve as a focal point for common household chores such as laundry, daily mail review, and post-grocery shopping organization, and act as a storage depot for hats and coats, backpacks, purses, keys, sporting equipment, sunglasses- the list is endless.
Given the potential for disorder and chaos, here’s my list of 10 recommended “must-have features” for your mudroom, which will give you the best shot at getting – and staying – organized.
10 Mudroom Necessities:
1. Cabinetry: Keep your iron, soap, laundry detergent, cleaning solutions, sewing kit, extra towels and rags out of sight.
2. Wall-Mounted Storage Space / Open Shelving: Get as many items off of the floor and into an organized spot on the wall to make them easy to find while minimizing tripping hazards.
3. Baskets, Bins, Open Tubs and Lidded Containers: Separate items by category or person; everything should have its proper place
4. Floor-to-Ceiling Open Lockers / Cubbies: If space allows, tall cubbies not only look better but are more practical for different types of outerwear.
5. Wall Hooks at Varying Heights: Make it easy for kids to follow the same organizational principles you do. With low-hanging hooks, they’ll feel like they’re in school and be eager to hang their jackets and gear.
6. Bench / Seating: By including seating in your mudroom, you avoid having to put shoes on in other rooms of your house.
7. Charging Station with Ample Outlets: Charge your phones, tablets, iPods, handheld games or laptop computers in the mudroom instead of letting these items clutter up the kitchen countertop.
8. Message Board: Hang a chalkboard or enlarged calendar in the mudroom, which makes it easy to leave notes that remind everyone what’s on tap for the week.
9. Accessories: A boot tray, hat rack or hanging mail sorter all serve a purpose of keeping items in their zones before they wind up where you can’t find them.
10. Hose-Down Area: I especially love this idea, which comes from This Old House magazine. A ground-floor basin keeps germs at bay. Wash down kids and pets (or yourself after spending time in the garden) in this area before spreading a mess into the whole house.
Over my 25 years as a general contractor serving the Chicagoland area, I’ve been in and worked on countless homes of all styles and ages. Mudrooms are becoming more and more important in homes because of their sheer utility, location and ability to help you stay organized. Investing in this room will save you both time and money in the long run.