Organise Your Mudroom to Keep the Outside Outside

Organise Your Mudroom to Keep the Outside Outside
Photo: jajam_e, Shutterstock

Winter weather has a way of getting inside the house. Muddy boots and wet clothes can make a big mess inside, especially with extra items from guests, but you can organise your mudroom or create a drop zone for winter gear to keep your house both clean and dry.

First, invest in a boot scraper

A good boot scraper on the porch or path to the door is a great place to begin fighting the mess before it even makes it inside. You can buy commercial boot scrapers, but you can also make your own with a few stiff bristled brushes screwed into a plank and attached to your porch or deck.

For a more robust boot cleaner, you can cut the broom end of a push broom into thirds and attach the two outside pieces at right angles to the middle, creating a three sided brush for deep, persistent mud. A good doormat can also be helpful if the amount of mud is relatively small.

Dry out your shoes and boots

Making a drying area for wet shoes is essential to saving your floors. In a small space, a mat and a small stool is a good idea. You can use a larger bench and some bins that fit underneath in a larger space. The important thing is to design yourself a convenient way to remove dirty shoes before the grime makes its way any further into the house. A five-gallon bucket turned upside down makes an excellent stool in a pinch.

Have some extra hooks to hang your gear to dry

The next thing you’ll need are some hooks to hang wet clothing from. These can be installed directly into a stud, or can be screwed into a board or plank and attached to the wall.

You can measure to find your studs, which are usually 16 inches apart. In older homes, they’re sometimes 24 inches apart, so if you knock on the wall and it feels hollow at 16 inches from the corner, you may have the older 24-inch variety. A stud finder is the simplest way to find what you’re looking for, but not everyone has one.

Once you’ve determined where your studs are, you can attach your hooks, keeping in mind that the distance from the floor should accommodate whatever clothing you need to dry there. The advantage to screwing your hooks into a board that can be placed horizontally across the studs is that it’ll allow you to put your hooks closer than 16 inches apart.

Choose the right wall finish

Your safest bet is choosing a wall finish that is high gloss or moisture resistant. If wet gear is against the surface of the wall, it’ll help prevent damage and make cleanup easier if the surface is smooth and non absorbent.

You can also treat the area behind your hooks like a backsplash and tile it. The other option is to use a set of hooks that comes with a backing that attaches to the wall below the hooks.

A tile floor or other resilient flooring is also a good idea. Depending on your existing floor type, you can often paint your floor with deck paint or marine finish to keep it water tight. And if that’s not an option, adding a water resistant mat can help protect floors from moisture and grit.

Some more drying options

For more drying options for hats, mittens, socks, and other outdoor gear, a sturdy string and some clothespins are an option, like a miniature indoor clothesline. If you’re short on space, you can stretch the string vertically instead of horizontally and clip your wet mittens in a column. You can also use a drying rack like those for your laundry room to catch wet garments before they make it inside.

If you have the space, add an occasional table

A small shelf or table is a good addition to your mudroom to set down keys, coffee mugs, or cell phones. It’ll help make your mudroom more convenient and inviting, and making it easier will definitely increase the chances that people will remember to take off their muddy gear at the door. This will help save you the hassle of cleaning up mud indoors, and save your guests the hassle of juggling their belongings at the door.

 

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