Help me organize a small mudroom closet

homestylelisaAugust 5, 2010

Hello again, everyone.

After much debate about our dilemma of not having anywhere to store coats/shoes at either of our doors (front or back) DH has managed to carve out a 3"W by 2.5"D space in our back room for coats/shoes. ?This will be our main keeping area for the family coats, shoes, flip flops, boots, hats, mittens, etc. I would love any tips or help setting up this little area so that it is practical and efficient. I am going crazy for a place for coats and shoes!

More info about us:

Family of 5 (kids 11, 8 and 4)

Would love hooks and hanging area for off season if possible, plus shoe storage for 2 pairs per person. Maybe a basket for gloves/hats etc?

Am I asking too much out of a small space? I do have an area I can take out of season items if needed.

Looking forward to any advice you may have, would love to see pics.

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For a family of 5 that's a small space to keep currently used items and out of season items. I think out of season items would have to be stored elsewhere.

I would put in an L shaped bench along 2 walls. I have a shoe storage cabinet that I had built. The 14" depth is just long enough to hold my husband's size 11 shoes. You might want to make it a little deeper if your husband's (or potentually the 11 year old's) shoe size is bigger. The standard size for a seat is 20" high--21 with a small cushion. That would allow you to put in 2 shelves underneath. A higher one for boots and a smaller one for shoes.
On the short side of the L I would put baskets for mitts, scarves and hats for the younger ones. This side wouldn't have to be as deep for the smaller kids. An alternative would be to omit the cushion and put baskets all along the L. If you do this you could make 3 shelves for shoes. 5 or 6 inches woul fit a shoe. Then I'd put double hooks along the long side and another shelf with baskets above the hooks. This shelf would be for the older ones to store their mitts hats and scarves, or for other folded items.

Well that's my opinion and how I would do it. Maybe others will have other ideas

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 12:56PM
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Thank oilpainter.

It is a lot to ask of a small space, I know! I can put out of season somewhere else. We have one closet on our first floor, and it is all the way in the family room, so it would work for out of season, but not for everyday use. We do not have a coat room/area at the front door OR the back door - it is making me CRAZY, and I can't see buying a whole new house over that dilemma, although on some days, its tempting! I have thought about a coat tree in our front door area, but you walk right into our dining room from the front door, and it seems like a coat tree there could get to be quite an eyesore with 5 people using it all the time.

There will probably always be a few coats/shoes at the front door because we use the front door and back door equally, but I would like the majority of them out of sight in the back room.

What are some other solutions for a home with no coat/shoe area at front or back door?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 2:01PM
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I'm assuming you mean 3'(foot) wide by 2.5'(foot) deep area. I used to get those two mixed up too since a foot is longer then an inch I figured it should have be " instead of '. It finally dawned on me that the word foot is singular and inches is multiple therefore it made sense in this crazy head of mine that ' equaled foot and " equaled inches.
Now on to your dilemma. Photos would greatly help us in helping you along with answering a couple questions...
Is your area in a corner where it would have two walls?
Do you want a seating area for taking shoes on and off?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 7:25PM
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Justgotabme - Yes! I did mean ' and not ".

I don't have pics of this area handy. I will try to describe it.

This space I am calling our "mudroom" has our washer and dryer in it, and it is small (8X8) The coat area is in a corner, next to the washer and dryer. If you are facing it, there is a left wall, then the back wall. The right side of this area is adjacent to our washer and dryer. We will probably put up a wall to "encase" the coat area somewhat - it will go from the floor to about 7 feet up, and be up against the washer.

So, if you are looking at the wall, from left to right you would have the coat area/nook, washer, dryer. There are a couple cabinets above the washer/dryer.

I don't know if I want seating or not. I am leaning towards not. I think for us, it would be a waste of space and another place for the kids to grump at eachother about (I was sitting there!!!!!)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 8:04AM
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Well if I got that right it looks something like this...

If this is correct I'll add some of my ideas for you later today. I'm headed into the city shortly.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:11AM
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Yes - that is it, almost exactly!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:32AM
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Well I've not left for the city yet since I had more to do in the laundry room than planned. I just can't go in there to grab something and leave when there are things to put away.
Approximately how much are you wanting to spend?
Do you want shelves for shoe storage?
What about a rod instead of hooks for coats?
I'm thinking for glove, hat and scarf storage you could use on the clear pocket over the door shoe storage things, but attach it to the wall on the left if you don't care to put it over the door. Though if you're not looking for pretty then I'd highly recommend using your doors. If you have a door on either side of the room I'd add one of these to each door. One could also be used for shoes with the youngest belongings going in the lowest pockets. They have four pockets across and I think five rows which would be perfect for two pairs each for shoes and more than enough room for hats, gloves and scarves.
If you go that route than I'd suggest two rows of hooks on the back wall to accommodate both children and adults. The wall on the left could be used for a family planning calendar.
Okay, I so have to head out of here. I hope some of this helps.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 1:57PM
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i don't know how much space you have in your garage, but i found that shoe racks in the garage by the door definitely cuts down on the clutter of all the different shoes and boots by the doors!
we have hooks and a closet in our mudroom and the hooks are definitely the easiest...but, doesn't look pretty because many things are hung up on each hook in our family! i found as the kids grew up into larger sizes, their multiples of hoodies and jackets take up alot of space. but, i am the only one who really hangs anything up in the closet...husb included!
i like basket storage for the gloves and hats...and i found that i like to keep my own separated from the mess!!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 8:19AM
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Thanks, justgotabeme and others for all your help.

As far as $$ - really would love to keep it on the cheap. And I don't know if I want shelves or baskets for shoe storage. I am afraid that shelves might not be utilized well by the children. Same with the hanging bar vs. hooks. I know I can get a lot more onto a hanging bar, but the children will not use a hanger. Flopping it up on a hook is just so much easier.

As for the family calendar, which is such a great idea, we already have an area in the kitchen dedicated to that, but THANK YOU for the suggestion.

I will give all of your advice some thought and update when we come up with something. Thank you again for all your wonderful advice!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 4:30PM
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Lisa, with small children I agree hooks would most likely work the best. Especially since you could attach two rows of them with the lower ones being for the children. Of course you'd have to make sure theirs were visible below the adults coats or you know they'd start to toss the coats instead of searching for their own hooks under the coats. If you can utilize the over the door pockets for the shoes, scarves, gloves and hats you'd have more wall space so the adults hooks could be high enough so their coats would overhang the children's hooks.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 8:04PM
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Although hooks aren't too hard to change and fill in holes, consider using those Command hooks that can be repositioned--they come in all sorts now, though you can't get those great hooks with 2 hooks on them.

If you want the little guy to hang up a jacket, probably you won't be able to put a low shelf or bench because it will just be where the little guy hook should be--3 feet or whatever from the floor.

Possibly you could put one hook on the L wall right at the outmost edge--but otherwise you will need all the depth for the coats themselve so they don't stick out into the passageway.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 7:57PM
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I agree, the space is too small to try to store off-season coats, etc. Try to keep them elsewhere until you've proven they'll fit. Otherwise, you'll simply set yourself up for failure.

It's a kind of deep space, and the stuff that's in the "deep" area will be hard to access. That *might* let you stash out=of-season stuff there, but again, I'd suggest you wait to see.

I agree w/ Frankie that the responsitionability of the Command hooks is really useful. But I also find that they aren't that sturdy for heavy coats.

I'm a fan of pegboard for places like this--fill the wall with it, up and down. Then you can put some strong pegs anywhere you want, and move them around. You can have lots of hooks of various sizes, and you can put bins, even small shelves, etc.

I find, actually, that shoes store better higher up. Otherwise, you're bending over,a nd bending over. I stored my shoes at about hip level, back when I had a "mudroom cabinet," and I found it was really useful. It's counterintuitive, but follow me:

You kick off your shoes, and you need to then put them somewhere, which means you need to bend over and pick them up. Then you move to the storage space, and bend over and put them in the floor storage. (bending twice)

Now you go to put them on. you bend over to pick them up, then you bend over again to put them on.

Store them at hip level or just below, and you have them out of the prime storage space (hip to chest), but you aren't bending over twice.

Backpacks (esp. heavy ones) went on the floor--that saved us having to lift them up. Swing them off your shoulder, and put them down.

Consider stapling fabric shoe pockets to the left wall for shoes; or, consider not having this be a shoes-storage place. Just outdoors stuff only (boots, etc.). Shoes should go somewhere else.
Are you a shoes-off household? If not, then this should be the place where only the shoes you wear outdoors go.
If you are, then consider having shoes go somewhere else anyway, just to save space there.

As for sitting down--don't do a permanent bench. Get a Kik-Step stool to shove in under the coats. Then you can hook it out with your feet, and sit down to put shoes on if necessary.

I don't think you have enough room for a bench, anyway.

For the side of the washer, consider getting magnetic organizers to hold small stuff.

There are magnetic storage bins sold for laundry organizing that could hold little-kid shoes, umbrellas, hats, mittens.

and for office supplies

Even school lockers.
or hooks to hold stuff like umbrellas, mittens, hats. If you got a strong enough hook, you could even hang shoes or boots off them,a ctually.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kik-Step stool--the world's greatest invention

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 10:41AM
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You could even put a magnetic towel bar or three on the side of the washing machien for people to put scarves or damp socks.

(though I think that's a little fiddly for scarves; people don't want to fiddle w/ putting things away. But it might be really useful for wet items, which people might be more willing to fiddle with)

Or, use strong magnets to attach big fabric pouches (or even a smallish cloth storage bin like this on

) to the fridge.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 10:47AM
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I'm now thinking of ideas you could use to keep from having to do too much construction (bcs walls take up inches, y'know?)

Here is a wall-mounted hanging rod that you could put on the back wall. That would give you a place to hang things without having to do much surgery.

It's adjustable, so you could make it fit perfectly.

There are styles with shelves above; I'm gonna look for those.
I've found a couple under "wall-mounted coat rack"

Some of them are pretty expensive, but really well made
Maybe there are less-expensive home ones.

Of course, there's always the ClosetMaid style, w/ the wire shelves that double as a place to hook hangers over. (though there are also actual rods available as well.

That might be the most affordable and the most versatile. And it would let you have a deeper shelf up there if you needed it.

Elfa makes door- and wall-mounted systems that let you put big baskets on the wall using an adjustable shelf standard.

If you like the pegboard idea but can't find big enough shelves or bins, you could get those locker baskets and hang them over two ordinary pegboard hooks. (store-display places have lots of pegboard stuff.

Here's a selection of a pegboard baskets--see how versatile that would be?

If you *do* build a wall on the side by the washing machines, make one side (or both?) out of pegboard. Then you can use these, or shelves, and hooks, and stuff.

And they sell pegboard shelf brackets, too.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 6:32PM
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Don't try to make this space hold all the mittens, all the hats, all the scarves.

Just the ones in use. The spares, or the extra-heavy-duty ones, should go somewhere else. (I find I don't ever use them anyway; they just get in the way of the very few that are in actual day-to-day use).

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 6:34PM
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