Long and Narrow Mudroom... panicking

RosieTeeJanuary 2, 2014

Hello, newbie here.

We are in middle of building a condo, and we have a small area designated as a mudroom (there are no closets at that main entrance). Problem? The room is 3 feet by 5'4, door at one narrow end. I want to maximize the space for a few children (I *wish* adults, too) to be able to put their coats, shoes, briefcases there.

I cannot figure out the maximum depth of any cubby etc. that will still allow for walking space!

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Sounds like a closet rather than a room. If the wall with the door is only 3' wide, do you really need a door? Maybe leave the archway and have a bench on the opposite (back) wall....with hooks for coats and a place underneath for shoes. This would give the kids a place to store their things and maybe let them display their school work on the walls. If it's too small for adults, make it a fun kids' area that they'll want to use :)

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 10:20PM
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Hi, RosieTee

Minimum hall width is three feet. I would think you would want a bit more than that. If you have an 18" deep cubby/seat, you will have a hall that is 3'10" wide at that point. We have a bench built into a kitchen wall. (No foyer or hall.) It has a seat with a cushion, cupboard doors underneath (space for shoes) and coat hooks above. Since your space is small but long, you could have a seat with cubbies underneath for shoes and then coat hooks all along the wall.

Before you do anything, get some cardboard boxes and cut to fit the dimensions you are considering. Tape into place and live with it for at least a week. That will let you know if it fits your comfort level.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 11:02PM
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I can't quite envision it. It's a closet that is 3' wide by 5' deep? Cubby's are generally 10-12" deep - at least the ones at school.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 11:25PM
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This mudroom has only one door? (I ask because most of the mudrooms I've seen have two--one from outside and one into the rest of the house.) If so, I agree that it sounds more like a closet than a room.

First thought--can you move the door to one of the longer walls? That would instantly give you room on either side of the door to put cubbies, hooks, closet rods.

Second, if you can't move the door, then you will have to think outside the box for storage. Cubbies would work along the back (3') wall. You might be able to find a very shallow bookcase to put along one of the longer walls. There are media cases (for DVDs and such) that are only 8 or 9 inches deep. This could hold baskets for keys on top, and baskets for mittens and hats, and then shoes on the bottom shelves.

Then, on the rest of that long wall, plenty of hooks at various heights for the kids' coats and jackets and school backpacks and stuff.

If you need to use hangers for adult coats, consider valet rods, which are short rods that extend perpendicular to the wall they are on, and which can swing a bit out of the way if necessary.

I would put the kids' stuff closest to the entrance of the room, on the theory that they will most likely want to drop their stuff and run, and that adults will be better at walking through the room to the cubbies and hooks at the back of the room. But you know your family and who is most likely to put their stuff away or not, so factor that into your plans.

You could also consider a pegboard or grid system that would hold lots of stuff on the wall, vertically. These have all sorts of options for hooks and bins and baskets and rods, which might be useful if you are also dealing with kids' sport equipment.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 8:41AM
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Is there a way you could post a diagram of the space?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 2:30PM
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First of all, thanks for all the responses.

I will try to post a diagram of the space. I do not have time now to comment on all of the posts, but yes, it is more of a closet, and no, I cannot move the door to the longer side. :(

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:06PM
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Here is a picture of the plans. I cannot change it now, contractor doing framing etc. (And I do not even know what I would change it to.)

The closet is opposite the steps. Behind it is the walk in closet for master bedroom. I do not want to take space from that, it is not very large either. On the other side is the kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 2:07PM
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Okay, I have one more question for you. Where are people entering the house, in relation to the mudroom? Could you show us the entry in relation to the mudroom?

I have the germ of an idea kicking around in the back of my head, but I need to see where the kids will be coming into the house to see if it would work.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 9:36PM
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The side stairs are the side entrance, hopefully the main entrance. Kids come in through the door, walk up the steps and put stuff away.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:33PM
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I would put coat hooks all along the wall that you have designated at 'kids hanging'. To get more space you can have lower hooks for the kids and higher hooks for the adults.

On the back wall where you say 'hanging' I would put a wall of storage cubes. Lower ones can hold shoes and boots. Higher ones can hold dog leashes, kids books, briefcases, hats and gloves.

If you need someplace to sit to put shoes on and off I would have a small lightweight stool or even a folding stool that could be used by one person at a time.

Since your building you could have them include the studs needed to mount something like this along the wall opposite the coats.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wall mount chair

This post was edited by mic111 on Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 23:36

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:28PM
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Honestly, I'd be tempted to make both of these small spaces into one larger master closet....is the current one only 3'8" deep? That's barely enough room for a step in closet...I don't think you'll have room for hanging clothes on each side and shelves in the back 'as is'.

If you make it one large closet, then you'd have more storage and perhaps could put your coats in there. For the kids, maybe if we see the entire plan there will be another place for them to have hooks and perhaps a bench or cubby.

The only other solution I see (with these two closets) is to make the master a smaller closet with just hanging storage on the back wall. This would give you an extra 1' + a few inches....enough to make your 'mudroom' wide enough to have a back bench and hooks on the wall. It seems too tight with the current layout.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:36AM
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I respectfully disagree. We have a 3 ft wide hallway from our garage to the entry foyer. We have coats, dog leashes and bags hanging from hooks all along the hallway. It isn't spacious but does not impede traffic. We only have things hanging on one side.

If we didn't have doors at both ends the cubes would be an excellent addition to one end. With 3 ft of width you can do three 3 ft cubes across and go all the way to the ceiling or just put in shelves of varying heights to make the most of the space.

I would suggest no door or a pocket door only. Not one that swings in as that will eat up your wall space. The only thing I would put on the opposing wall is the fold down bench.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 12:21PM
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We also had a U-shape staircase to the lower level in our plan. It was changed to a L-shape and that gave us one more closet. This may resolve some of your space issue. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 8:59PM
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I wasn't going to say anything because I know people make do with a lot less space than I have, but I agree with LL. My master closet is 5'4" x 3'2" and set up like yours except for the shelf on the back wall. At one time I put a free standing shelf cabinet that was 12" wide and 8" deep. It made it very difficult to get to the clothes beside it, and finally I just took it out.

Right now this is our only closet for our clothes. I have dh's side with double rods and my side with one rod across the top and a shorter rod under it. That way I can hang my few long things and more of my shirts and pants. But the closet is not big enough for two people, not by a long shot.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 1:45PM
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It looks as if you have a fairly good-sized landing where the outer door is. You could utilize the wall space next to the door for hooks to hang backpacks or jackets on. Or a boot tray for muddy/snowy boots.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 7:53AM
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Apartment Therapy just had this post. It's about different ways to fit storage into a smaller home.

Some of the suggestions about putting coats and shoes up on the walls might give you some ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: AT storage post

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 2:20PM
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I had a whole post written up and something went wonky.

Basically I do not want the coats anywhere else, not in the landing and not in a hallway. I had specifically asked the architect for such a room and didn't realize how impractical it is until now. The contractor is up to framing and will charge $$$ to make any changes.

The only change I would consider is to make the master closet shallower. If I would make it a regular closet I would have 5'4" hanging vs. if I leave it I have 7'4" hanging. No shelving apparently in either configuration...
which is a disappointment as I was looking forward to having a clean look in the master bedroom, to get rid of my dresser. Unless I take away a couple of feet of hanging on one side for shelves since right now we have under 5' of closet space in our current room and it's basically enough.

I am so upset at myself for not having worked this out earlier. Thanks for your posts. I will sleep over it.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 8:05PM
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Depending on how many kids you have, you should be able to fit all their coats, shoes and backpacks in the mudroom. Maybe not in the way you had originally envisioned, but they should still fit. You might not be able to do as many cubbies as you'd planned, though.

What might help is to get an idea of just how much stuff you are dealing with. Count the number of coats and jackets and shoes and boots and backpacks you will need to store. Then figure out how much space will be needed for them.

You can certainly put cubbies along the back wall. And at least one long wall can have a variety of hooks and shelves to hold more stuff. It's possible that both walls could hold things. Could you tape out the dimensions on the floor and experiment?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:18PM
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mic111, would you be able to post a pic?

camlan, thanks for the ideas.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:49PM
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I don't know if this is possible (or desirable) but if you want to keep your master closet storage...could you move the fridge/pantry cabinet over a few feet? If you could access the mudroom/closet from the kitchen side, it would be much easier to have storage on each wall and cubbies in the back (against master closet wall).

The other advantage is that it would give you a little more walking around space with the dining table. It's pretty close to the kitchen pantry, right now.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Is it possible to build coat/backpack/shoe cubbies into the wall between the studs? I made lockers out of 15"X80" pantry cabinets from IKEA. If I could have, I would have recessed them into the wall. This would really maximize your space...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:28PM
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I think the space is okay, even without the cubbies, as a mudroom -- but I say this as a mom w/small children in a small home that does NOT have a mudroom.

I love the over-the-door shoe holders, and I don't see why something like that could not substitute for a cubbie? My kids main problem items are the jackets, the backpacks, the shoes and the socks.

Just designate each person a "wall station" that has hanging pocket organizer, shoe holder, hooks for jacket(s), hooks for backpacks. Maybe a narrow shelf for small trinkets/junk or if they want to have some little decorations.

At the far end install a shared laundry bag for whites and one for colors/darks (in case they have to strip off dirty clothes in the mud hallway). I agree, I don't think they need a door. What about a nice curtain in the doorway that they can close if they need privacy? You could have shelves -- all the way to the ceiling -- w/bins above the laundry area, for seasonal stuff or sports gear...whatever. Add a small folding step ladder that can hang up when not being used.

The main concern is to have wood behind the places where you are going to hang things, so that they can hold more weight. I think the framing stage is when those need to go in, so the sooner you figure that out the better :-)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 2:02PM
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