Welcome to Week 3 of the Less Mess Challenge! Are you still tired from organizing your kitchen last week? This week we’ll be organizing and decluttering mudrooms and coat closets — which I’m happy to report are usually much simpler than kitchens and playrooms.
If you have a mudroom and/or a coat closet, we’ll be tackling it/them this week. If you don’t have either, tidy the drop zone or entry way space where you keep your coats, shoes, and other items you use when you come and go.
If you don’t have a space for these things at all, consider creating one: Here are a few ways to create a mudroom.
Organizing and Decluttering Your Mudroom and Coat Closet
As you declutter and organize your mudroom and coat closet, constantly evaluate whether you need the items you’re finding and where those items should live.
If you think you could use a basket, bin, or hook, search your home before shopping. Shop later — after you’re sure your new system will work for you and the family.
Remember, there are three levels to this challenge, so choose the one you feel you have time to accomplish.
If You Only Have 30 Minutes: Quick Declutter
If you’ve only got a half an hour, look through everyone’s jackets. Make sure they’re in good shape and that they’re an appropriate size for family members.
Consider donating coats that have seen better days or anything you don’t love or wear—after all, 2-3 coats per person is probably more than enough.
Look through winter items and make sure you have matching sets and at least one pair for all family members.
If you’ve got shoes in your coat closet or mudroom, do the same thing you did with coats. Keep busy spaces like mudrooms as MINIMAL as possible. Eliminate any shoes you don’t wear daily—move less worn shoes to bedroom closets, if possible.
If You Have an Hour: Declutter & Surface Clean
If you’ve got an hour, do all the tasks above.
If you have a coat closet AND a mudroom, keep the coats you wear daily in the mudroom, but hang the rest in the coat closet.
If you’ve got items on the floor of your coat closet, pull them out to evaluate them. Does it make sense to leave them there or should they live somewhere else? Always try to keep as little as possible on the floor—it is a spot where it’s easy to dump things.
Look through any purses, totes, or diaper bags you find—especially ones you haven’t used in a while.
If you’ve got a bench in your mudroom, clear it off.
Sweep out or dust bust the floor of the mudroom or coat closet
If You Have a Few Hours: Declutter, Deep Clean & Organize
Got time to go all in? We’ll start cleaning in a minute, but before you touch anything, look around and see what’s making a mess — those are the items that need to storage solution or a home.
If it’s keys, give them a little hook before you’re done today. If it’s shoes, maybe you can declutter a few, move some to bedroom closets, or create a new storage solution. Assign a home to anything that doesn’t already have one.
If you’ve got space, empty your closet or mudroom out completely. Vacuum the floor, dust the shelves, and clear all the nooks and crannies.
If you’ve got snacks, pet foods, or hand sanitizers in your space, check expiration dates.
Look through every item and decide if it’s worth keeping.
Coat closets and mudrooms often hold a lot of household items — ours have vacuum parts, flashlights, pet supplies, masks, hand sanitizers, backpacks and camera gear. Anything goes as long as it makes sense to you, just make sure there’s not too much and there are systems in place.
If you’ve already got some bins, empty them out and look through the contents. Wipe them out before returning items to them neatly. If you don’t have bins, consider adding some to hold each category of item.
Contain items in baskets or stacking bins and add a label. As you come across other items in your home that belong in the coat closet, add them in. This is when organization comes together and really makes sense!
When you’re returning items to their spaces, be as minimal as possible. Since these places are such high-traffic areas, every item you place in here will add to the chaos and clutter.
A mudroom is often a good place for a command center—some place you can post a calendar, a family schedule, and a spot for incoming mail.
Keep it simple and reset it regularly.
Download and print the checklist below so you don’ t miss a step!
Best Organizing Products for Mudrooms & Coat Closets
While I highly encourage you to shop your home before heading to the store, investing in a few specific products can make a vast difference in the function of your space
- Add Baskets or bins on shelves to hold smaller like items like flashlights and vacuum parts. Measure first to find one that works for your space.
- Plastic bins with lids are great for containing household items, such as batteries and lightbulbs — be sure to label them!
- Plastic drawer units can also be helpful for adding additional storage. Get one (or a few) that can line up under your coats and hold items such as hats, gloves, scarves, or household items like flashlights.
- Shoe racks are great in the bottom of closets if you’ve got room. Measure to find one that fits your space and your needs!
- Hooks for keys, masks, hats, or backpacks can also be helpful.
- An Elfa door rack can help you use empty door space — they’re great for winter gear, flashlights, umbrellas, etc.
- A whiteboard with a weekly schedule is often a great addition in a mudroom.
- A wall-mounted paper basket can be great for mail or school papers.
- While matching wooden hangers won’t make you more organized, they are perfect for heavy coats and they look nice when you’re welcoming guests.
Making Your Spaces Kid-Friendly
If you’ve got young children, consider making a few adjustments to your coat closet or mudroom to help kids be more independent—this will help your children AND help you.
- Low hooks for their backpacks and jackets.
- Bins for their shoes—easy to toss, easy to grab.
- Consider a bin for each child’s winter items—label them!
- If you have shelves, put kid stuff on the lower ones.
- Post a schedule where your kids can see it so they know when they need to wear sneakers for gym or grab their library book.
Organizing and Decluttering Mudrooms and Coat Closets
Mudrooms and Coat Closets are an area of the home that gets a lot of use—especially in the winter. In my home, there are five of us coming and going throughout the day, so it gets chaotic quickly. When this happens, our things get misplaced and there’s nothing to get your morning off on the wrong foot than not being able to find your shoes or keys.
You can keep them as neat as possible by keeping them minimal and by creating simple systems that everyone in your family can work with.