“Here me out… What if we turned my office into a mudroom? We could even put the washer and dryer in there so you have a first-floor laundry.” -Scott
And that’s how we ended up with a mudroom for the homestead.
The house just finished getting painted, and Scott was talking about putting a porch on the back of the house. We were debating what to do about with the current entryway of the house. It’s tiny, and not nearly big enough for a family of 8. Plus, the back stairs (concrete) are damaged and will end up needing to be replaced or repaired at some point in the next couple of years. If we were to put on a porch, how would we do it…working around what’s there already, or starting from scratch?
It didn’t take too long to convince me that converting the office into a mudroom was a good idea. That same day, Scott started to do some cleaning in the office. We talked about where we’d move his stuff, and with a plan in mind, I was able to empty the room within about 2 days.
It’s funny, we knew that adding a mudroom would sort of “kill two birds with one stone,” but it was actually a lot more satisfying than that. We solved at least 4 major organizational issues we were having with the house, just by deciding to make this change. The current entry is no longer a constant mess, the basement is getting cleaner, our bedroom feels like it’s more functional, and the mudroom/laundry room is working out really well.
There were three considerations to make when planning the layout of the room. 1) Where would the washer and dryer go? 2) Where would the door to the porch go? and 3) How would we layout the rest of the mudroom?
The laundry part was easy… the hookups for the washer and dryer were pretty much directly below one wall of the room, so all we had to do was drill a couple of holes and extend some wiring to get the hookups into the room. It was the easiest wall to use for the laundry part of the room.
The door was pretty easy too, even though we haven’t actually put it in yet. We wanted the door on the west wall, since that’s where the porch will be someday. Putting the door on the west wall would allow us to have the largest continuous wall space possible for a bench and hanging up gear… it was really the only good option.
I knew we wanted a long bench in the room because it would give multiple people a place to sit while taking off their gear, and it would make it easier for the kids to be able to grab bins where they can stow gloves and hats. And I wanted to hang as much of the clothing on one wall as possible, so we figured out how to get 6 racks on one wall, and put two additional hooks on the only other available wall space.
When parts of the house were redecorated years ago, somebody applied some heavy texturing to the walls. As a parent with many young children in the house, I am not pleased by this decorating choice. It makes for some incredibly difficult walls to wash! I went so far as to re-plaster our bathroom a few years ago because it was such a nuisance.
I didn’t want to re-texture the whole room, as that would have been a massive undertaking, but knowing that our kids often come in the house with dirty hands, I knew that the walls would be incredibly frustrating to keep clean if I didn’t do something about it. This lead to the decision to put up paneling behind the coatracks. Something flat and smooth, painted with a semi-gloss paint for easier clean-up. I decided to mimic the woodwork of the kitchen to make it look nicer and to keep the flow of the downstairs as consistent as possible.
A shelf for hats and mittens to go on was a must. We bought bins to store everything in, and so far this winter, we’ve had much more success in keeping track of hats and mittens… and winter just started! The younger boys need help with their bins, but that actually keeps things from getting messed up. The could reach their stuff and their siblings a little too easily before!
The bench is divided into 4 sections below. Two kids share each section, and I have the remaining section that is below the window. Scott keeps his footwear neatly lined up under where our gear hangs. We didn’t put a bench on this portion of the wall, because we were concerned that it would protrude into the room too much since it’s right in front of the doorway into the room.
The walls were painted white, the paneling and the shelf above the laundry kind of a sage green, and the wood stained a darker brown. The bins are a brown faux leather with some tags I picked up from Menards several years back to label whose is whose. I wanted to used oil rubbed bronze or bronze hooks for hanging up the gear, but there weren’t any available in the size that I needed, so I went with the brushed nickel instead.
The shelf above the laundry has a basket with bleach and other cleaning supplies in it, a jar with OxiClean, and a container with Tide Pods in it. I finally found an appropriate place for the washboard that we have, and I got a clock for the room and a sign to hang up on the wall (“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”).
The remainder of the gear has been purged… we got rid of everything that was not worth repairing or that we could donate, and only kept what I know we’ll actually use. (I got rid of a LOT of gear! We’ve worn out a lot through the big kids!) What was left was sorted and consolidated and put in bins in the closet, with boots and shoes being stored on the shelving in the closet. I’d like to clean up the closet better, but we have some other things stored in there at the moment that will have to stay there until we can figure out a better place for them.
The room has been working really well for us. The kids take off their footwear in the current entryway of the house, or just inside the kitchen when they come in and carry it to the mudroom. When their snow gear is wet from playing outside, they can stick it in the dryer so that they know it’ll be dry for the next time they want or have to go outside. One of the kids has taken on the chore of doing the laundry and keeping the mud room clean, and it has made a world of a difference for us!
We’ve also been staying on top of laundry much better, and we decided to pair down on everybody’s clothing. We all owned too much, and I decided that we don’t need to try to fit in with society’s norms, and clothing can be worn multiple times in one week, so long as it’s clean. Things get washed a little more often, which may mean it wears out faster, but it also means we don’t have MASSIVE piles of laundry to deal with if and when we inevitably get behind.
The hope would be that in the next year or so, we can add the porch and a new door to the house. We may keep the door to the kitchen, for bringing in groceries or welcoming guests, but that has yet to be decided. Even if we changed nothing, I am so happy with how this change has worked out for us. If I ever get any free-time, I’ll write about some of the other changes we have made because of this shift!
Love and Blessings~Danielle