Friday, April 29, 2005
Mudroom design helps keep the house organized
By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon
If you have children living in your home, you can probably attest that you don't have to hear kids come in to know they're home from school — the telltale trail of coats, backpacks, books, and footprints of mud across the floor gives it away.
Tired of cleaning up messy trails through your home? Maybe it's time to create or renovate a mudroom. A mudroom may not sound like an exciting home improvement until you consider the time and energy it could save you for doing more of the things you enjoy.
A mudroom allows you to keep household items that are taken outside the home — shoes, outerwear, umbrellas, sports equipment, backpacks, brief cases, and so forth — near the entry most used by the home's inhabitants.
This provides three main advantages. First, it keeps your home cleaner. Because muddy or wet shoes and outer clothing can be shed and stored in a mudroom, dirt and water inadvertently brought inside won't make it past this room into the rest of your house.
Second, a mudroom can help you be more organized. No more running around the house searching for mittens, coats, schoolbooks, or even car keys — they're always right where you stored them in the mudroom. Completed homework assignments, lunches and other items that need to be taken outside the home can also be placed in advance in the mudroom, where you won't forget them on your way out the door.
Finally, mudrooms naturally allow you to contain messes or clutter in one out-of-the-way room. Whether unexpected guests drop in or you just don't want to look at a mess that you don't have time to clean right away, no problem. Just close the mudroom door. (See several Mudroom Designs)
In designing a mudroom that works for you, first think about its location. It should be adjacent to the entry that members of your household use the most — typically the back door or entry to the garage — so that it's the first space the family passes through when returning home and the last space they go through when leaving.
You'll also want to place it so that it is away from entries or areas that your guests use. Mudrooms can be combined with laundry rooms or can stand on their own.
Next, consider what you need to include in your mudroom. You'll want a bench or seat to sit on when donning or removing shoes and boots. You'll need a closet or hooks for hanging coats, sweaters, and so forth. A locker or cubby for each household member to store their personal outdoor gear and belongings in is also desirable.
Cabinetry for your mudroom can be custom designed, which can be most tailored to your needs but also is the most expensive. Stock designs or free-standing items such as manufactured lockers, benches, and so forth can also work for you while saving you money.
Lastly, flooring materials should be resistant to water and dirt (remember, it's called a mud room for a reason), but can also be attractive. Stained concrete, vinyl composition tiles, ceramic tile, and rubber flooring are your best bets.
If it's not in your budget to create or renovate a mudroom, a little professional organizational guidance may be all you need. You can find a professional organizer at the National Association of Professional Organizer's website, napo.net. Or for even less money out of your pocket, and a little more in ours, an inexpensive eBook on DiscoverOrganization.com* is truly excellent!
*Full disclosure: Although the eBook is worthy of our recommendation, a portion of the proceeds of the eBook sale supports the publication of this article. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.