It’s hard to keep a home clean, as anyone who has to find a way to do it knows. But as difficult and oftentimes unrewarding as cleaning can be, it isn’t impossible, and as with so many things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Practically speaking, that means targeting problem areas and furnishing them intelligently to prevent messes from accumulating in the first place. One of the best and most important places to do this is in an entryway or mudroom.
Young or old, neat or messy, during any season of the year, I think the universal first instinct when walking through the front door after a long day is to unload anything you’re carrying and take off uncomfortable clothes. Year round, that means piled mail, keys, and newspapers, while winter months offer the double trouble of damp coats, muddy boots, gloves, scarves, and umbrellas. Having a place to put them, even if it’s as simple as hooks and shelves attached directly to the wall of your mudroom, is a good way to keep piles of coats from getting out of control.
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Having a shelf, a hook, and a cubby for every member of your family – especially if you live in a cooler climate – is a great way to streamline your storage during the winter season. But if you have enough room, it doesn’t hurt to cozy up your mudroom or entryway with a little seating. These can either be built into your wall or purchased as a single piece of furniture, and create a nice space not just to stow your winter clothes, but to sit and unzip and pull off your boots. Bonus points if the bench doubles as storage where all those coats can be stowed away in the off season.
Prone to misplacing your keys? Consider hanging a key hook by your front door or the exit of your mudroom, with one hook for each member of the family. If you put keys up as soon as you walk through the door, it’s almost impossible to misplace them. Plus, if you make it a habit to grab them from the same spot every day, it’s a whole lot more difficult to lock yourself out. Key hooks with built in white boards or blackboards are especially nice, as they create a convenient place to leave concise messages the whole family is sure to see.
Similarly, a coat hook with built in mirrors are nice for those who rush in and out of the house every morning. A smaller one is perfect for hats and scarves, and gives you the opportunity to check your reflection before you dash out the door. While it won’t do more than any other type of hook to help declutter your home, it can help you keep your appearance in shape and alleviate a little morning stress.
If your problem is leaving trails and piles of mail wherever you go, you might want to consider adding a narrow table in your entryway or mudroom. A slim table won’t take up much space, even in a tight hallway, but will give you a dedicated place to put down your mail. A dedicated mail sorter might make things a little neater (though, personally, I dislike these since I suffer from an out-of-sight out-of-mind syndrome), but at the very least having a mail table will keep you from plopping down a stack of mail on your dining table or kitchen counter – or, worse, in multiple random areas and forgetting that it’s there.
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Mudrooms are typically at least partially separated from the rest of the home, but if your entryway isn’t, you definitely want to take that into consideration. Now, that doesn’t mean that many of these features don’t still apply; rather, that you might want to consider changing up the way they look. For example, instead of a bench or window seat style seating, look for a simple, small sofa and combine it with a decorative end table. This look will blend a little better with your living spaces while still offering the storage and utility you need to keep your entryway clean.
What are some of the biggest problem areas in your home, and how do you keep them clean?