Wednesday, April 30, 2014

20 Reader Space: A Magical Mudroom

One way to make the most of your home is to throw the "this is how it was built/designed" attitude out the window.  Just become a home was built a specific way, does not mean it has to stay that way.  There is not a nook or cranny in our home that is safe from me and my organizing antics.  The same is true for today's reader as well.

Christy blogs over at Harvard Homemaker and her home was once like many others... It was built with a standard coat closet which was tucked below their stairs.  And that closet was not functioning for her growing family.  Instead of living with the closet that their home was initially designed with, they tore it out and started over.  As much as I am sure they wish it was a "poof! done!" type of project, it sure was a magical ending.  Here she is now to share more details about her coat closet turned mudroom transformation.

What is the main function of this space?

"Five years ago, we widened the hallway leading to our garage and added some built-ins to create a mudroom, but we only installed five cubbies - one for each member of our family.  Well, fast-forward a few years, and along came daughter #4!  My sweet husband knew he was the one who was probably going to lose his precious cubbie, so he had the idea to open up our closet under the stairs to find room for a "Man Cubbie" for him (yes, that's what he called it).  That cluttered closet has now become a fun and functional extension of our mudroom!

Along with his cubbie, we were also able to carve out a large drawer or cabinet for each family member to keep hats and mittens organized, and we have handy spots to store boots, jackets, and off-season items, too."

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"By turning the back wall into a large chalkboard (my favorite part of the space!), I was able to write our names next to our drawers to help keep each person's gear organized (with four girls, it's very easy to mix things up!).

I also labeled all the large bins that I was able to reuse from the old closet so we could remember what was stored up on the top shelf as well as return things to the correct spots down low.  And perhaps most importantly, we moved the bulky (and often wet and muddy) sports bags out into the garage.  We added a handy wall of hooks just outside the door to our mudroom, and that freed up so much space inside, allowing everything to stay more organized."

What items did you find were essential when organizing the space, and why?

"Really, the entire space is filled with essential features!  I absolutely love the adjustable shelving for our boots.  I can move things around so everything always fits just right.

The shelves are also really deep, so hand-me-down boots that don't yet fit the next sister can be tucked in the back behind the ones that are currently being worn.

The drawers/cabinets from floor-to-ceiling make the most of all the vertical space we had available to us, and my husband keeps his daily items (keys, wallet, shoes, etc.) organized in his cubbie.  He can even charge his phone and his iPad right there, out of the way and off the kitchen counter!" 

What did you do to go the extra mile and "Make it Pretty"?

"To have some fun in this back corner of our home, we decided to create a large chalk wall.  I filled it with lots of color, whimsical artwork, and inspirational quotes.  We believe that happiness, truly, is a choice, and we hope we're instilling this positive attitude in each of our children... and since we walk past this cheery wall constantly as we head out the door, I love how it reminds all of us to treat each day as the gift that it is!"

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

"We had to hire a contractor to pull this off for us, but I did do all the artwork and writing on the chalk wall myself. The paint and chalk markers were the only cost when creating that huge chalkboard - and I think that makes the space really special for very little money!"

How has this space impacted your life for the better?

"Making better use of this small space in our home has had a huge impact on our lives!  The six of us can get out the door more easily because everything is now organized and easy to access.  We're no longer bumping into the closet doors that used to crash into the door to our garage, and my husband is a happy camper because he has a beloved cubbie once again!  Life simply feels less stressful in so many ways, and with the fun wall of quotes to send us on our way each day, how can we not love this space that was once a cluttered closet?!  This tiny corner is now one of my favorite spots in the house!" 

To see the dramatic difference the mini mudroom has made from what they were initially given; here is a before and after for you:

Clearly Christy was doing what she could to make the most of her previous closet with various organizers and hooks; she really did a great job with what she had at the time.  But look at how much she gained by reevaluating the space as a whole!  Easier access to their belongings, beautiful built-ins, adjustable shelving, a charging station, deep drawers for concealing clutter, floor to ceiling storage.... There are endless positives to this closet story!  And that chalk board wall is one of the happiest walls I have seen.  What a great way to greet you in the morning before heading off to school and work, and to say hello when you return home.   

Christy shared the entire process and even more details over on her blog here.  Definitely worth checking out! 

How have you been tweaking areas of your home to make them more functional?  Any big changes that you have made to a basic builder area, that now has you saying, "wow" on a daily basis?

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room.  Please submit your story and photos to, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!


  1. I love it! The quote wall is the best idea ever! It's so bright and inviting, and would surely cheer up my day!

  2. Jen - Thank you so much for sharing this! Not only is it totally inspiring, but I always love when I am introduced to a new blog with an amazing and happy stay-at-home mom behind it.

    -Mandy W.

    1. Mandy, what a sweet comment!! Thank you so much. I'm glad you were inspired by this post, and I'm glad you found me, too! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog! I sure do appreciate it! xo

  3. What a LOVELY space, I'm so jealous :) I really love the idea of drawers for mittens, hats, and scarves! What a great idea.

  4. Love it all!! And I stopped and read each quote on the wall!

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Such a great use of space. And I really like the deep shelves for hand-me-down concealing storage.

  6. What an amazing mud room. There's so much storage. An organizer's dream!

  7. I love seeing ideas like this where spaces are completely reinvented!

  8. Thanks for featuring my space, Jen! You did such a great job with the post! I just love your blog, and I'm honored that you felt this little corner of our home was worthy of sharing with your readers! We really do love the change so much, and I hope others find a bit of inspiration in it as well. Take care, and thanks again! xo

  9. This is great. So cheerful and organized. I wonder if they've considered painting the units to match their trim so it looks more built in and less like pieces of furniture were shoved in there, especially since the wood tone doesn't match the floor. But maybe they like that look. Either way, this is fantastic.

    On a separate note, I have a question. What exactly is a mudroom? And how is it different from an entryway? Or foyer? These are all terms I see bloggers using, but I'm unfamiliar with them as I don't live in America. Are they interchangeable/all the same thing? Or are they all slightly different? I don't quite understand.

    1. Hi April! You can't see the rest of our mudroom here, but the cabinetry actually matches some across from it where we have 5 more cubbies built in (you can see it if you pop over to my blog). In the kitchen and family room around the corner, we have more cabinetry that's a mix of this wood tone and a darker stain (that matches the floor). It felt like a lot of cabinetry all in one general area, and we thought it would look too "matchy" without any variety in the tones. We also thought the deeper stain in this back corner where there's no natural light would feel too dark. But I can see your point about painting it! Our home has a rustic feel to it, so we do like all the different wood tones. :)

      As for a mudroom, I think the term is used loosely. We created a mudroom in our entryway by widening the hallway, but it's not really a "room" that is separated from anything. In my mind, it's any space just inside the door that you create for jackets, shoes, etc.

      Have a great weekend! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

  10. I love the reader space posts. This is so helpful. We have a two weird closets and are debating about what to do to make them more functional. Lots of good ideas here.

  11. "Just become a home was built a specific way, does not mean it has to stay that way." - That's the best advice i've heard in awhile!!!! Thank you for the inspiration to think more outside the box!

  12. First, this is completely AMAZING and beautiful and I would like someone to come do this to my house ASAP!
    Second, I've used your blog for a ba-gillion (technical term) for years and I love it!! You are an inspiration! Thank you for loving organization as much as I do :)

    1. That is so sweet Leah! And totally made my day, thank you!

  13. I need to make a mudroom space in my house! This is such a great idea! Xoxo

  14. Wow - I love her space! So pretty and functional too! Thanks for sharing. :)

  15. I am waiting to move into my new house (this Tuesday yay) and this is one of the areas I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into :). Thank you for sharing... Some great ideas.


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