A mudroom! This space is one of my favorite places in our farmhouse. I’ve always wanted a mudroom. I grew up in a small apartment and never lived in a house until we bought the one in NJ that we left last year. Years of looking at design magazines, and my year as an interior design student in college, just left me with this picture in my head of what domestic living should look like. And one of those pictures is having a happy, functional space for the mess of everyday life. Not to hide it away, but to give it its own room to kind of revel in the mess of family life, without destroying the rest of the house. This is also the height of privilege, having an entire room in a home that’s basically for dirty shoes, but as a kid with limited privacy and space it’s just something I dreamed of. And here’s the before and after for ours.

I didn’t take many photos of the space before we painted, but that’s the only work we did in this room. We took the walls from this yellowy white that was all over the house and painted it Dard Hunter Green from Sherwin Williams. We also painted our front door this color, so you can open the front door and look straight through to the mudroom to see the color repeated (one day I will grab a picture of that, but it’s cold out there right now).

Everything else in this space, structurally, was already here. The washer and dryer, the sink, and the best feature—a shower by the outside door, which we’ve mainly used for keeping Hamilton clean. But it’ll be great when the kid is outside getting dirty, too. Because this room is narrow and long the space can be hard to organize, so this shower is where his crate lives, and where he spent all of his time when he was recovering from heartworm. He was diagnosed right before we left NJ, and he started a 10-week crate restriction for the worst part of his treatment in early October, about a week after we moved into the house. So until Christmas, basically, he was confined. He didn’t see any of the major unpacking, he just emerged into a house that was ready for the holidays. Poor pupper.

Everything else in this space we added for storage and organization. Hooks, carts, a bench. All to make it easy to keep everything by the door outside and the door into the garage when we’re coming and going.

H has her own area right by the door, with a boot tray for her shoes, a lower hook for her coats and backpack, and an Ikea Raskog cart for all the things we like to grab heading out the door. Also, I can’t get over how long her hair is compared to that before photo from September, and how much more grownup she looks five months later. First grade has been great for her in her new school.

Here’s some more detail on her space:

Her Raskog has six small Sterilite baskets from Target, each labeled for a different purpose. She knows where everything goes. A basket for her gloves and hats, one for all the little toys that gather in here and in the car. A space for her gymnastics leos (I grab them when heading out to school pickup and she changes at the gym). Her soccer cleats, socks, and shinguards have a spot (this part of her kit doesn’t need to live in her room since we always put it on in here). There’s a basket for the random things like sunglasses, sunscreen, and her wallet. Everything has a place, and it’s labeled so she can help keep things neat. She’s great about it, a pure Montessori kid.

The bench is the Ikea Skogsta, and we keep the grownups’ everyday shoes under it.

And the winter and rain boots live here on another boot tray with the boot dryer. Adam ordered this when we moved in, and it’s amazing. Perfect for wet snowy boots when you’re going in and out of the house, so they dry quickly and stay warm. 

We’ve got a mail sorter and a chalkboard from Target hanging on the walls, too.

The closet is full of more coats, cleaning stuff, other seasonal gear. These two baskets on the floor hold all of our gloves, hates, flip flops, any other seasonal supplies we want to keep out of the way. One for me, one for Adam. 

The sink area has dog treats, food, and another file sorter for forms that come home from school, open mail that needs to be filed away, and things that need to go in the shredder. 

The cabinets above have more baskets storing cleaning supplies, dog supplies, dog food and bowls. The other cabinet has the iron, all the laundry detergent, and bottles of water for grabbing when we’re working outside. 

The drawers are sorted, too. We don’t really have a family office space for dealing with mail, paying bills, stuff like that. So the mudroom’s become the de facto office, since this is where all the mail ends up. We’ve got a drawer with stamps, stapler and tape, checkbooks, and envelopes, but it’s also got last-minute supplies for H. Hair ties, clips, headbands, and a brush if H forgets to brush her hair upstairs, or if we’re running late and need to do it quickly on our way out. Middle drawer is all dog stuff—spare poop bags, his medicines, a UV flashlight for spotting his messes if we can smell them but can’t find them (dogs rule). Right drawer is random household stuff. Garage door openers, batteries, flashlights, picture hangers. These are our junk drawers, but even those I keep organized so we can find things. 

I’ve tried to give everything a designated place, and we’ve been using it pretty effectively. It still gets messy as shopping bags get thrown on counters, or trash bags make a stop here on their way to the cans in the garage. But it’s easy to keep clean since we know where everything should go. This room helps the rest of the house run more smoothly, and I love it.