So I may have told you we live in a 1960's split level with no garage and no mudroom. The specs from 1969 do exalt the praises of a "spacious mudroom on the lower level" which is the room I now use as an office. It was planned as a laundry room/mudroom, and it's a great size, but since it is in the back corner of the house, with no connection whatsoever to the driveway, carport or entrance to the house, it is not useful as a drop zone. So a blogger's paradise/laundry room it remains.
Even though we only have 2 kids, stuff seems to pile up around here. Tell me I'm not alone.
I thought I'd share some of my imperfect solutions to dealing with clutter. Not that all of my solutions ever last. Remember those cute vintage train cases I had on the stairs? Gone to greener pastures. They looked cute, but the junk just accumulated and no one felt like carrying it upstairs.
Now this is what I like to see when I think of home organization:
Isn't it purty? I have an entire idea file filled with images of gorgeous mudrooms for my dream house.
Alas, that is not the reality here.
We come from the carport directly into the kitchen eating area. We've made a mini-mudroom area just inside the door, which is usually a bit chaotic. The black organizer holds dog stuff in one drawer. Hats/mittens/scarves go in the next 2 (in the summer it's sunsreen and bug spray).
The lower ones are for the kids' shoes and socks. If you are going to have kids take off and put on shoes downstairs, why not cut out a step and keep all their socks right there, too? See, there's Jake putting his socks on.
I've added a metal shoe rack for Tom's shoes. I don't love it, but I hope it will keep things neater.
The hooks work well for us, but if they get overloaded, coats get in the way of the door. Ugh. Soooo, you'll see some secondary storage for the kids later on.
The top holds our phone, a bowl for keys, and paper and pencils for phone messages.
This mini-mudroom is great for the kids' stuff, but Tom and I need a place, too. You may wonder if we have a hall closet, which we do, but I find that even the grownups are...reluctant
...to hang up coats in the closet each day, so I changed things a little bit in our foyer, which is next to the kitchen.
Here's a nice bookcase from Crate and Barrel. It has always held my collection of silver bowls and pitchers. I decided to take the silver out and replace it with some white baskets I had in basement.
The baskets now hold hats, gloves, and scarves for Tom and me. I hope this will work for us.
I also added 4 cute hooks from Anthropologie with our initials on them. Mere steps from the coat closet, I think these hooks will be good for my purse and whatever coat is in rotation that day.
Now doesn't my purse look happier here than in the kitchen?
The kids' hooks hold their sports' bags and scout stuff that is not needed every day.
Tom thought all of these hooks would lend an cluttered, junky air to the foyer, and they might. My thinking is that our foyer is generally wasted space. We have no key to the front door, so we never come in that way, leaving it just a weird, tiled pass-through. The house specs circa 1969 called it a "Grand Reception Room." Yeah, right.
Here's a closer look at those cute Anthropologie hooks.
Next is the coat closet. Inside the door is a shoe holder that has gotten lots of use. It used to hold my kids' craft supplies in our old house. For the past 5 years or so it has held hats, the camera, bug spray, flashlights, sports equipment and the very useful snowman kit (hat, coal, pipe, etc). While it is not lovely to look at, it has been handy.
Another nice addition to this small coat closet, and all the closets in our house, is an extra shelf up top. We noticed that all the closets had dead space up there, so we just added a cheap Closetmaid one from Home Depot. We needed this space because our coat closet also holds the vacuum, brooms, mops, and a tub full of rain/snow boots. I really like the holder that hangs the brooms on the walls.
Also in the foyer are these 2 huge vintage picnic baskets. One holds all of our Calvin and Hobbes books, the other about 5 extra rolls of paper towels. When I go to work, I use them to block the stairs so that Shadow doesn't wreck the family room.Talk about multi-purpose.
Heading upstairs you'll see the kids' hallway. It is a mini-gallery for their artwork and it has a row of hooks for hoodies and sweaters.
While I don't LOVE having our stuff "out in the open" all the time, I think the likelihood of people putting things back where they belong is greatly increased if we store things on hooks rather than in drawers and closets. Also, I always hope this strategy will help people find what they are looking for. A girl can dream, right?
I must admit I prefer summer when these hooks have beach towels, goggles and swim suits on them, but now that it's almost Thanksgiving, I think it's time to admit those days are gone for a while.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour. While a well-appointed mudroom would contain all of these things and more (drool! drool!) we've had to get a little creative around here. Organization and near-constant culling by Mom (do men ever go through the kids' clothes to see what has been outgrown?
) help keep our junk from being completely overwhelming. Except for on the days that it is.
Just remember: Home is Where They Love You