I’ve been a Michigander all my life, but I’ve never truly adjusted to the frigidity of Michigan winters. I’ve adapted by stocking my wardrobe with as many coats and pairs of boots as I can possibly make use of. As a result, the floor of the mudroom becomes an overstuffed jumble of winter accessories, as coats, scarves, bags and footwear migrate to dark corners, never to be seen again.

Now that winter is back and the cold is here to stay, it’s time to find a way to control the many-headed beast that is my winter apparel. Whether you have a mudroom or just a small entryway, it’s possible, although not easy, to store your gear and be organized. If you’re ready to tackle the beast and live a more organized life, here are some ideas for taming the most chaotic space in your home.

Installing hooks should be your first order of business. It’s the best way to keep everyone organized, because hanging things up takes virtually no effort. You can minimize the family battle for coat-hook space by assigning two or three hooks to each person. Make a rule that anything that doesn’t fit on these hooks must be stored in the family member’s bedroom; this will keep your mudroom or entryway from becoming overcrowded. Don’t forget to consider young children when installing hooks. Installing a child-level set of hooks, knobs or pegs for your little kids will encourage them to put their coats and bags away neatly.

Labeled bins
Each family member should also be assigned a bin. Bins can be used for scarves, hats, gloves, and any small stuff that can’t be hung up. The Internet is full of great ideas for incorporating bins into your mudroom storage plan. For example, you can make a simple bench do double-duty as a seating area for putting on shoes and a storage area for placing bins underneath. You can also add dimension to the room and utilize vertical space by installing an overhead shelf on which to place your bins and baskets. Either way, each person needs to have some sort of bucket or basket to keep small items organized.

Shoe storage
If there’s one thing that can clutter an entranceway, it’s shoes. It’s absolutely essential to allow adequate space for shoe storage; don’t underestimate how many pairs of shoes you and your family actually own. Some great ideas include cubbies, tilt-out shoe racks (like this one, if you don’t know what I mean), or the traditional wire or wooden rack. If you have a severe shoe addiction like me, you might need to combine a few of these ideas.

Boot tray
When the weather is bad or the ground is muddy, it can be downright dreadful to take off your dirty or wet shoes outside. Knock out the mess from dirt and sludge by placing a boot tray next to the door. Martha Stewart recommends filling a basic boot tray with stones so that ice and snow will drain away from your footwear and let them dry even faster – plus, it will make your boot tray look as Zen as a rock garden.

Key rack
Losing your keys can be a real pain. The mudroom is the absolute best place to keep your keys, because you can put them away as soon as you walk in the door so they’ll never get lost. You can go out and buy a key rack, of course, but if you’d like to infuse some personality into your key holder, try making one yourself. Homedit has quite a few cute and creative suggestions for decorative keyholders – check ‘em out here!

Tall buckets
Tall buckets make great storage for everything else that gets stored in your mudroom. If you’ve got sports equipment, umbrellas, snow scrapers, or various other “thingies,” you’ll need to keep them organized. Repurpose sturdy flower buckets and miscellaneous bins to make a home for all that random entryway stuff. Be careful not to make this the “junk drawer” of your mudroom; if you haven’t used it in a year, throw it out!

The mudroom, especially in the winter, can get really untidy really fast. If you follow these simple tips, you’ll never have a problem finding your shoes, coats or gloves again.

How do you keep your mudroom organized? Send us a comment to share your knowledge with other Zing readers.

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