Mudrooms have become a status symbol today, like driving a Range Rover or wearing expensive British rain boots. How many of us actually drive across our country estates and wade through the wet marshes to return to the manor covered in mud? But we do have backpacks, coats, sporting equipment, dance shoes, keys, permission papers, gifts – I could go on, but I know your share my pain.
Everyday clutter tends to land in our doorways. Sometimes I come home to piles of shoes, jackets and backpacks right in the doorway, and while this is helpful to see who is home (I have 5 children) and how many extra children have gathered in my house that day, it is a hazard and more clutter than I want to deal with on a daily basis.
I have addressed doorway clutter in my home by creating easily accessible coat hooks in our back hall with baskets underneath for shoes. Backpacks, lunch boxes, keys and papers go onto shelves in a back hall closet. I can ring an old, antique cowbell I keep in my front hall for just such occasions and point to the pile and everybody knows what to do with their belongings. Once you set up the system, your child can maintain it; he might need an occasional reminder. I reserve my cowbell for just such occurrences.
Mud does NOT require a whole room: look for a corner, a hallway or an empty wall in your laundry room. Use any space close to the direct path of entry to your home. When families ask me to design mud rooms for them in a space they have in a remote corner of the house, I know those rooms will not be successful. I point out how far they would have to travel each time they come and go and I point out where the shoes, car seats and backpacks were currently deposited. They form a trail like breadcrumbs from the front door to the kitchen. When I see piles of belongings with no home, I know the homeowner is not messy; rather, their house is not serving them. A mud room is a way to serve how your family functions on a daily basis. So choose any space close to the direct path of entry to your home. You will have much more success in maintain your organizational system if it is right in front of everyone’s eyes and easy to reach.
You don’t need to have an English country estate to feel good when you come home to an organized space, with accessible storage for the things you need every day. You can begin and end your day without the frenzied Easter egg hunt for that second soccer shoe. Of course, an estate would be OK too!