No one ever intends to invite chaos in. It just happens. But never fear: we have solutions to the most common pitfalls of any busy family’s entryway or mudroom. So now you can turn your high-traffic hub into a clutter-free zone just in time for winter.
Problem: It looks like a bomb went off in the mudroom. Coats are thrown about and boots are scattered everywhere.
Solution: Bring order to your family’s main entry by creating designated storage space for everything that is bound to be shed once inside. That includes enough hooks to hang jackets, backpacks and hats; a shoe cubby large enough to fit bulky snow boots lest they end up on the floor; and assigned bins for each member to drop everyday gear, such as gloves, scarves and books. If you have young kids, low-hanging hooks are your best option, and be sure their bins are easy to reach—so there are no excuses for messes! Consider an all-in-one entry cabinet that meets all of your needs—and looks great, too.
Problem: I’ve got the big stuff figured out, but there is still no end to the clutter.
Solution: We really meant it when we said find a place for everything! Hang a wall pocket to stash incoming mail, magazines and school reminders. Label baskets for all the small stuff that tends to create clutter, like bug spray, sunscreen, extra sunglasses and those random sets of keys. An over-the-door shoe organizer is also great for stowing odds and ends.
Problem: My kids play an array of sports—what do we do with all of that gear?
Solution: If you have the space in your mudroom, reign in the chaos with a sports rack storage system. Have your kids hang their bats, tennis rackets, golf clubs, skis and even skateboards the second they walk in. Large wire baskets are great for storing balls. However, if you don’t have the wallspace—or your storage is in a more public part of the house—then consider stylish locker-style cabinets with doors to conceal your gear. They’re also great for storing pool gear in the summertime.
Problem: Help! I’m tired of dealing with the tangled mess of cords and chargers spilling out everywhere.
Solution: Considering the number of personal electronics just one person can have, managing an assortment of tech gadgets for an entire family can be a real nightmare. Keeping a charging station near the door makes the most sense. You can set up an individual charging station in each family member’s wall cubby if you can manage the wiring, or install a power strip at the back of a drawer or cubby to create a single, designated charging station for the whole family. You can also buy attractive charging caddies to sit atop a console.
Problem: How can I avoid making the space look like a utility room?
Solution: Add the same elements of style that you would in the rest of your home, such as art and accessories. You can also look for functional items that provide that decorative element as well: A pretty mirror is great for bouncing light and last-minute outfit checks; a bench adds warmth while providing a seat for you to tie your shoes; and an indoor/outdoor rug protects floors from mud and snow while adding welcome color and pattern.
Problem: I don’t have a formal mudroom and my entry is tiny.
Solution: Having a small entry doesn’t mean you can’t create space to tuck your shoes and coats away. Add a console or hang a shelf near your door that can hold a tray for keys, sunglasses and other small items. Place a boot tray underneath with an umbrella stand to the side for other gear. Enlist the help of a coat stand or hang a rack above your console to house your jackets. Or, if you have an antique buffet or dresser, move it to your entry and assign every member in your family a drawer to stash their stuff. You’ll still have room on top for a charging station and a basket for odds and ends.