Mudroom makeover

5 tips to keep outdoor gear organized and easy to reach

If you live in seasonal areas of the country like New England or the Midwest, the mudroom is an essential area of the house. It’s where the transition from outdoors to indoors happens, where boots are stamped and beanies are shed as the home’s warmth invites in weary travelers. It is also where journeys begin, where jackets are zipped up and last-minute mental lists are checked off so nothing is left on or left behind.

But among spaces to renovate, the noble mudroom is usually ignored in favor of the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. And for good reason: it doesn’t hold much sway over a property’s value in the eyes of homebuyers. Underrated as it is, however, a good mudroom should be super-functional, efficient and easy on the eyes.

Use the five simple suggestions below for upgrading your mudroom without upsetting your checkbook.

To each their own

Design the mudroom so everyone knows where everything goes. There are two basic approaches to the layout: 1- every person gets their own space, or 2- every thing gets its own space. With the first option, vertical dividers make up individual cubbies so each member of the family has a little area to dress and discard. With the second option, the mudroom is organized into clothing components, so jackets hang there, hats go here, and so on. Whichever approach you take, make sure all coats, caps and equipment have a designated place to call home.

Keep it on the level

Surface area in the mudroom is essential, and this includes floor space. For boots and shoes that carry mud, water and dirt, provide ample room for a large, durable mat with upturned edges to keep the elements contained. And it’s not just jackets, hats and mittens that take up space. Outdoor activity can involve all sorts of equipment—kites, hammocks, umbrellas, ice skates, baseball gloves, tennis rackets, skis, snowboards and balls of all varieties start to crowd up a mudroom. If you have extra wall space, hang as many shelves and racks as possible.

Nice new weave

Baskets are versatile, reliable and can lend the mudroom a rustic appeal. For lighter, softer accessories like scarves, gloves and hats, loose-woven baskets can be hung by a handle from the wall. For harder items like ski masks, ear muffs and ice skates, tight-woven designs stacked like drawers make for clean, efficient vertical storage.

Time to hang it up

Having hooks in the mudroom goes without saying, but their proper placement may not be as obvious. Consider each member of the family when putting them up: little Johnny will toss his jacket on the floor if there’s hot chocolate waiting and he can’t find a low enough hook. Avoid coat racks and don’t skimp—each person should have at least two front-facing hooks to call their own.

Take a load off

The mudroom is where boots, snow pants and sometimes socks have to come off, so it’s helpful to have a bench against the wall. For young people and old especially, having the seated option makes for a much less challenging exit and entry. Twisting an ankle, straining a back or balancing like a trained seal should not be requirements of coming and going.

The mudroom might not be the most valuable room in the house, but it’s as useful as any of them. Give it the attention it deserves by decking it out just right!

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