Prevent clutter in the hub of your home with these storage tips.

By Megan Boettcher
July 07, 2020
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As a new school season returns (no matter what that looks like for your children this year), so do the backpacks, electronics, and mountains of paperwork. Before all that stuff ends up on the floor, organize your mudroom for a successful school year. First, designate a spot for each family member to store coats and supplies. This makes it easy for kids of every age to know where things go when they finish school activities. Next, plan space for charging electronics and storing sporting equipment, especially if used daily. And don't forget plenty of labels and convenient storage features to help everyone stay tidy. Once you've finished organizing, make sure to declutter your mudroom each weekend to keep the area looking neat and to prep for the week ahead.

Kim Cornelison

1. Create a Sanitation Station

This year, returning to school will look different for most. Keep germs at bay with a hand-washing routine for each time the kids go in and out of the house. If you don’t have a sink in your mudroom, place hand sanitizer near the door. Stock the area with disinfecting wipes or sprays so kids can easily clean backpacks, books, or electronics, especially if traveling back and forth to school.

Nathan Schroder

2. Add Extra Hooks

Consider adding a hook or two for each member of the family. “The more hooks the merrier!” says Rebecca Zoet, designer and owner of This New Old House. “One hook in a mudroom locker never seems to be enough for backpacks, coats, lunch bags, and umbrellas. If you have an open wall in the mudroom, I suggest adding another row of hooks for extra items and guests.”

Having additional storage for backpacks and jackets prevents kids from overloading a single hook. It also makes it easier to access bags that could be hidden under bulky outerwear; no more forgetting to do homework! Small hooks for lunch boxes, face masks, or lanyards help kids find exactly what they need and get out the door quickly in the morning.

KIM CORNELISON

3. Set Up a Charging Station

Keep essential electronic devices charged and ready for the school day with a charging station. Dedicate counter space or a shelf to charging tablets and laptops that are used at school or for online learning. To charge multiple devices without a ton of countertop clutter, use a mail sorter to hold each device and plug them into a power strip. Use cable clips ($10, Target) to keep cords tidy.

David A Land

4. Create a Sports Spot

Ease the transition from class to after-school activities with a dedicated spot for sporting equipment. For a multi-sport family, use labeled bins to organize items by activity, such as soccer, dance, or softball. This way kids always know where to look for their cleats if they’re running late. Or fill a small drawstring backpack with everything they need for practice and hang it on one of their hooks so when they get home from school all they have to do is grab and go.

David A Land

5. Label Baskets and Bins

Mudrooms are most efficient when there is a place for everything. “Contain the clutter with cuteness!" Zoet says. “Every member of your family should have two baskets, if possible. If you have mudroom lockers or cubbies, place one basket on the bottom for shoes and one on the top for hats, mittens, and miscellaneous grab-and-go items.”

Label bins and shelves with pictures and text so that even the youngest members of the family know where to put boots and hats. For preschoolers, use school pictures or a silly selfie next to each family member’s name to label hooks and bins.

Ann Vander Wilde/The Wilde Project

6. Sort Paperwork

Stop the avalanche of school papers from tumbling onto your kitchen counters by creating a spot to sort school work and papers in the mudroom. Designate a folder for each kid to save special projects. Have another folder for notices that parents need to read or sign and return to the school. Be sure to include a recycling bin so that unwanted items can be tossed right away.

7. Add a Calendar and Daily Reminders

“Mudrooms are your family’s command center,” Zoet says. “Often it is the first place that greets your family when they get home and the last place your family sees before they are off for that day’s adventures. Organization is key to making sure this hectic space has a calming vibe to give your kids that boost of confidence to seize every day!”

Post a calendar in the mudroom where everyone can see it before they leave. Add a dry erase board with inspirational quotes or special reminders for the current week. Review the calendar each Sunday and update as needed. This is also a good time to confirm that online calendars match the posted schedule and note any changes.

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