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Answering all those burning questions you didn’t know you had about home ownership.

No mud room? No problem.

Picture of Jessica Dabkowski

Jessica Dabkowski

Helping you with all things homeownership!

Feedback from last week was that the article on recycling was a bit “anxiety-inducing.” I totally agree with this feedback so we’re swinging back the opposite direction with a topic that’s fully within your control. Namely, your mudroom . . . or rather, no mud room.

One thing architects and designers have definitely improved over time is the functionality of the entryways into our homes. When I show a home from the 60s or 70s, the entryways are a frequent complaint. With each decade, the design functionality seemed to improve.

That 3’x 3′ Square

When I show a buyer client a home, I often point out pros and cons to the entryway set up.

Those 60s and 70s homes sometimes have an entryway that is a 3′ x 3′ square of tile at the front door. There may or may not be a coat closet. If it’s a split level, you may literally enter the house at the landing to the split staircase at your peril. At the back or garage door, you might be entering into a hallway or the kitchen. (You know what I’m talking about!)

You may come in and out of your house 10 times per day. Entertaining? You may have 30 people entering and leaving your home. How those ins and outs flow can make a big impact to the utility of your home.

In warmer, drier climates, maybe the entry way is not so mission critical. In Michigan, no one wants that snow, rain, mud or salt getting dragged into their living room or kitchen. Additionally, if you have tiny humans running around your home, there’s another layer of complexity to keeping an entryway a smooth-flowing machine.

Do you also wonder how you ended up with so many umbrellas?

In new construction homes, we are seeing some very cool mud room spaces with solid coat closets and built in benches with shoe storage and/or coat hooks. But even then, your closet probably has a wire rack and a dowel rod in it.

So how can you work up your entryway in a way that will maximize your storage and flow?

Maximize your closet space

If you are fortunate enough to have a closet in your entry, maximize the functionality of that space. The typical coat closet has one shelf and a rack for hangers. Is that going to meet your needs? Well, if it does, call me impressed.

Use totes or bins on the top shelf. Assign each bin a function or a person. A function would be “hats” or “flip flops” or whatever you need. In our house we have five large plastic totes labeled as follows:

  • Jessica (hats, gloves, scarves, small purses, boot socks, assorted miscellany)
  • Mike (hats, gloves, scarves)
  • Hazel (extra hats, gloves, etc. plus various outdoor accoutrements like bubble wands and crap like that)
  • Grandma (for things that need to be returned to her, like Pyrex containers and farm fresh egg cartons)
  • Return to others (all the other items that need to go back to people such as growlers, Tupperware, and all things borrowed)
An actual picture of our garage door side coat closet, complete with off center labels.

Each bin is labeled with a dry-erase label that clips under the handle slot, similar to these bad boys from Target. The “Return to Others” basket has been a game changer in our house as we always know where to look for something we have to return to someone else (even when they don’t want it back – I see you, Alan 🤣).

On your hanger rod, you can use a hanging organizer for miscellaneous items such as children’s hats and gloves that need to be within reach, flip flops, reusable bags, small umbrellas, etc. You can also add a few “S” hooks to hang things like small backpacks, snow pants, umbrellas with a wrist strap, purses, etc.

Underneath your coat hanger rod, use shoe racks or modular storage to maximize what you can get in there. I like these metal racks from Amazon because they have held up for over 10 years (yes, you read that correctly), and you can adjust them in different ways or stack them depending on your space. They have been through two moves and multiple closet spaces and have improved every entryway we’ve had.

Oh . . . no closet?

Okay, we can work with that setup, too. In an entry way with no closet, hooks are your friend! They make so many different varieties, they can even be a statement piece. These days you can get hooks that look like elephants, pegs, glass door knobs, barn animals, anchors, you name it and someone probably makes it.

5 coat hooks on wall which looks like shoes
These wouldn’t be my speed, but they make a real statement if you’re into shoes.

Hooks can hold hats, purses, backpacks, and scarves in addition to your coats. Stagger them up to create a more interesting dynamic on your wall. You can also combine your hooks with a shelf to provide additional storage options. You can place hats or shoes on the shelf or use some decorative baskets to hold your outdoor accessories.

Don’t want to add hooks to your wall? Get an old school coat stand, a freestanding clothing rack or a wall-mounted rack!

Next up, use furniture to hide away those shoes. There are so many options that have come around in the last decade. You can get a shoe cabinet to tuck those shoes out of sight and keep your entryway tidy. These cabinets have come a long way since IKEA blew our minds 20+ years ago. I am loving this herringbone cabinet! A basket is another great place to stash those loose shoes.

You can also find a bench with built-in storage, which provides the dual purpose of shoe storage and a place to put on said shoes. No room for a bench? Grab a cute little ottoman or a funky stool as a place to pop a squat and put on your shoes!

Entryway with white bench, hooks and shelf and shoe cabinet.
A super utilitarian setup to keep the entryway functional.

And while we’re discussing shoes, there’s no law that stipulates you have to keep all your shoes in the entryway (despite what the kids seem to think). Move your off-season shoes to another location to get them out of the way.

Entryway to home with bench, pillows, basket and console table
This setup manages to be both functional and welcoming.

If your entrance area has the room, you can also look at a hall tree type unit to create a clean, unified look. You could also go all out and do a custom built in unit as well.

There are a lot of options to clean up the functionality of your entryways. Sometimes you just need to get creative!

Thanks for joining me this week. I hope today’s topic was a little bit less anxiety-riddled. As always, reach out if I can be of assistance with any home ownership questions or concerns!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Margaret

    Good tips. I have an ikea shoe holder that attaches to the wall and is only 4 inches deep. 4 drawers that each hold 2 pair of shoes each

    1. I love it! Just enough to get them out of the way.

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