The secret about mudrooms (& why you want a small one)

Photo by Casey James Photography

Of all the rooms in my house, I have probably had the most positive comments about my mudroom. Maybe it’s because space seems to be such a luxury, and we’ve got a wall of cabinets with a “locker” for each person in the family. But I’m here to tell those of you planning your own mudroom project a very real truth about mudrooms: Smaller is better.

Here’s the mudroom in the morning—the “cleanest” time of day. It’s all downhill from here.

Listen, the mudroom mess will always multiply to fill all the available space. It doesn’t matter if you have lockers or in-bench storage or a row of 20 hooks (I have all of that); you will still have stuff all over the entire square footage of the mudroom most of the time. The mess will start at the back door, and though it makes no logical sense, it ends right at the kitchen threshold. Always. For me, that’s 8 by 11 feet of perpetual disaster area.

So my thinking is, wouldn’t it be better to carve out a small mudroom, maybe six feet square, load it up with cabinets, and keep the magnitude of the mess way down?

Mudroom by Revival Construction via this site

Also, you know all the beautiful photos of mudrooms with open cabinets? These would be near impossible to keep looking tidy and “cute.”

Can you imagine storing a whole family’s stuff in this open space? It would look clean for five minutes, tops. Cover it up!

We just cleaned out our lockers and discovered all kinds of wrappers, toys, sunglasses, spoiled yogurt, and rotten fruit. I don’t want that stuff on display, but I don’t have time or ambition to clean all the lockers every week. And my kids definitely aren’t going to go there.

Love all these beautiful belongings, but who lives here—a stylish single woman? Open cabinets are tricky for families. 

And whatever you do, avoid putting your washer and dryer in the mudroom. I can’t imagine the mayhem if piles of laundry were mingling with our mismatched shoes and backpacks and dog toys. Oy.

If you love yourself at all, go with a small mudroom, and put doors on all that storage. •

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2 thoughts

  1. I totally agree. Sometimes I dread the fact that I’ll never had a mud room opportunity at my house, but it forces us to put things away in the right place the first time I suppose. So trade off I guess. But yes close off as much as possible Always!

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  2. Your comment in that last picture is hilarious!! But my exact thoughts anytime I see open shelving or baskets it a mud room.

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