Mudrooms for all!

According to an article in Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle, homeowners are reportedly clamoring for mudrooms and pantries in newly constructed homes. As if homes in the United States weren’t big enough already, homeowners now need to have a whole room to act as a landing strip.

From the article:

A mudroom doesn’t even need to be a room at all. It can be just a hallway off the garage. “It can be as simple as hooks on the wall for the dog leash,” said Ronda Royalty, a certified kitchen and bath designer with Stuart Kitchens in suburban Timonium, Md.

The goal of the mudroom is to quarantine all the clutter that comes into your home. Find a way to do that, and you’ve found a little spot of heaven.

So, adding a whole room isn’t necessary to keeping your home clutter free? If I had a mudroom in my home I would no doubt use it and probably enjoy having it, but keeping my home smaller and more efficient is more important to me in the long run. What do you think about mudrooms? Essential? Or one more way to bring clutter and chaos into a home? Let us hear from you in the comments.

32 Comments for “Mudrooms for all!”

  1. posted by Laura Lynn on

    We actually use our BACK door as our main entrance – so our 4 dogs don’t get out accidently when people come in or go out.

    The back door leads into the laundry room – so it doubles nicely as a mudroom too! With 4 dogs… we NEED a mudroom LOL!

  2. posted by at on

    A physical mudroom is not necessary. What does one really need? A place _or_ procedure for dealing with shoes, coat, keys, wallet, phone, bags, laptop, mail, and priorities.

    Coming home can be a pretty stressful experience. It is the time when couples are most likely to get snippy with each other. Also, dealing properly with the process of coming home can help to prevent clutter. I’ve been guilty of tossing my stuff (bags, mail, laptop, etc) on the sofa upon entering the house after a long day, it is the easiest solution, but it always came back to haunt me with clutter build up!

    I would also add that stuffing the unslightly artifacts of coming home into a mudroom could have the effect of creating a clutter zone. What makes it worse, is that this clutter zone would be the first thing you see upon entering the house! Not a good way to set the tone for an evening at home!

  3. posted by Ayse on

    The thing is, a lot of houses have you walk right into the living room or kitchen with no place to put a landing strip, or no sense of transition from outside to in. So I can see why people might say they want a mud room when what they want is a place to put coats, rubber boots, and umbrellas that is not in the living room.

    When we went house-shopping, one of the things we had on our list was a house where you didn’t walk right into a living space.

  4. posted by emr on

    We recently remodeled and added a new back entrance along with a hall/mudroom. It is the landing place for school items, shoes, sports equipment, etc. We use bins and hooks to organize everything so it stays clutter-free. And then we know where everything is. No more searching for those shoes!!

  5. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    An “entryway” is very important for those living in cold climates. There needs to be a transition area from outside to inside. Definitely in the winter there needs to be a place where you can pile up the winter boots (mittens, coats etc) to dry without having trip over them all the time. It also helps if the entryway can be kept colder than the rest of the house so that in the winter the transition from outside to inside isn’t so dramatic.

  6. posted by Sarah on

    In our house, the busiest entrance is right into our small galley kitchen. It’s adjoined by an eat-in area. For me to come into our house from our detached garage with our two kids is chaos, especially in the winter-time. I put my keys on a hook by the door, but our shoes (hats, mittens, coats, the diaper bag, etc) end up in the middle of the (3’x6′) kitchen floor. The only other option is to trek half way across the house before you can get to the rug we put out for shoes. Let me tell you–whether it’s simply an area where you can put some cubbies and hooks or a whole room with closets, laundry, and toilet, I’d give a whole lot just for some space to put the kids’ gear. Our house is “efficient” to the point of inconvenience. I’d never knock someone’s desire for this transitional space since I’ve lived so long without one.

  7. posted by angharad on

    we live in a house that has been changed quite a bit over the years. a couple of years ago we rebuilt the porch as it was falling off the front of the house. we made it bigger and created what we planned to call the sun room. we still call it the porch but it has a sofa and coffee table and plants in and nowhere to dump stuff. we love it as we have to put stuff in its place as soon as we get in – usually in whoever’s bedroom it belongs to. my son is 12 and has got used to this system really quickly. it means you come into a lovely welcoming space when you enter the house.

  8. posted by Mags on

    I have to ask, why a ‘mudroom’? Why not call it, as we did in our house ‘the porch’? Or, if it’s interior, the ‘hall’. A mudroom sounds more like a grubby version of a wetroom!

  9. posted by Jonathan on

    I have to second Jacki, that a place for removing and drying wet and snowy garments is absolutely essential in a cold climate.

    As she says, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “mudroom”, but an entryway is important. For us (in Pennsylvania), our front door opens directly into the (carpeted) living room, which is not ideal. The back door opens into the kitchen, which would be OK because the floor is linoleum, but would require walking all the way around the house on the path I never get around to shoveling, and beside that our kitchen is way too tiny to hang up coats and stack shoes for drying. Thankfully, our garage has a door leading to the basement, which has a corner dedicated to putting away the outdoor gear before emerging into the rest of the house, thus preventing snowy, salty, muddy floors upstairs.

  10. posted by Celeste on

    In my parents’ house where I grew up, the room you enter into from the garage was a fairly good-sized laundry room. With tile floors it prevented dirt, etc. from getting too far into the house, and it was also the main “bedroom” for our family dog and it held a walk-in pantry and some other closet space and a half-bath. So it was sort of a combination laundry/mud/storage room, I suppose. To me this seems more efficient than a whole room JUST for entering and wiping your feet, but still a room you can close off to guests if it gets too messy.

  11. posted by Joe Fusco on

    We live in Vermont: you have to call them mudrooms!

    Our life has gotten a lot less cluttered since constructing a mudroom. So important is the functionality of this room to the realities of four season life in Vermont, that we took one-third of our garage for the construction of the room — and don’t for a minute miss the loss of that garage space.

  12. posted by dana on

    Sometimes I catch this little whiff of elitism here that turns me off.

    Who cares what you call it? Back porch, mudroom, family entrance… landing strip.

  13. posted by twosandalz on

    @Mags — “Mudroom” is an old farm term. It was a tiny, unheated room where you removed your mucky shoes before entering the house. It also lessened heat loss when the outside door was opened. Where I grew up, there were lots of dirt roads and driveways so the room’s purpose continued to match its name. Now that most of the roads and driveways are paved, perhaps we should call it a “saltroom”. 😉

    Personally, I’m a fan of muck & coat containment spaces… mudrooms, foyers, halls, I don’t care which format they take. My current apartment enters into the living room. I’ve arranged my furniture to exclude a small area where I put a shoe rack, etc. It keeps the mud/wet/salt by the door, and prevents mittens and keys from living on the love seat (most of the time).

  14. posted by Andamom on

    Given that I live in an apartment in Brooklyn, I’m obviously not able to even given this question much consideration. However, we do have a related issue —

    How can we prevent clutter and dirt from making its way into the apartment?

    We’ve been trying to remove our shoes either before entering the apartment or at least right next to the door — to prevent the dirt from getting all over the floors. I added a place to hang keys and put letters next to the door (thanks Target!) and we moved a bookshelf next to the door: the bottom will be lined with plastic and we will start to put our shoes there, the next shelves have toys and books, and there is still space for random other things that need to be stored without entering the true apartment — ie. where we really live.

    Small areas to handle things that need to be on hand is a good plan — but an entire room is definitely overkill — in my not so humble opinion.

  15. posted by GMB on

    I’m currently living in Japan, and the vast, vast majority of houses and apartments have a ‘GENKAN,’ the Japanese equivalent of a mudroom. There’s a hard, easily-cleaned surface just when you walk in. As many might know, it’s quite taboo to wear “outside” shoes inside many places in Japan, including schools and private homes.

    My apartment’s main floor is a few inches above the genkan’s level, so there’s an obvious separation. It also functions as a cold-trap during the winter. My genkan is really small, but does the trick.

    One issue I’ve had with the genkan is that it’s culturally considered “outside” the apartment, so the mailman has zero problem opening up my front door and poking his head inside to see if I’m available to pick up my mail. Since the toilet room is also located off the genkan, I had a few close calls before I learned to reflexively lock my doors, even for quick stops home!

    But the genkan is everywhere, and is a small and efficient ‘mudroom’ that is simply an integral part of the culture.

    On the downside, it’s been quite a long time since I’ve had the luxury of tighly-laced sneakers that don’t slip off at every opportunity.

  16. posted by Sarah M on

    I have 4 kids, 2 dogs and a husband… I need both a mudroom and a large pantry. If just to contain the clutter THEY create in one area. 🙂

  17. posted by Broken_Lock on

    When I break into homes I always look for a landing strip. If I find one I leave everything as is and move onto the next house. I can’t steal from the well organized.

  18. posted by Max on

    The best mudroom I ever saw had a grated floor and a hose that could be used to wash off boots. This was for a home in a very rural environment where this was often a necessity.

    I think a mudroom type space is more of a necessity in rural environments. Those of us in cities can get by with a simple landing strip area to ditch out cellphones and take off our shoes.

  19. posted by Jasi on

    Tiny coat closet is the perfect landing strip.
    -IKEA Luns board mounted inside door (mail, keys, chalkboard, magnets)
    -Hook for purse
    -Hook for baby’s FP Healthy Booster Seat (to go)
    -Hook for spare umbrella and lint brush
    -Standing shoe rack (4 pair/ea. – for everyday wear)
    -Top tier of shoe rack (basket of baby shoes/socks, sunscreen, sidewalk chalk, bubbles – namely outdoor toys)
    -Wooden hangers for guests and 2 coats each
    -Top Shelf – large basket for hats scarves gloves
    -Top shelf empty for returnables (Angie’s Empty Dish, Bill’s missing glove)

  20. posted by Katie on

    Mudrooms definitely seem a regional thing.

    Growing up in California, the small entry way in our home was more than sufficient for dealing with home entry clutter.

    However, when I went to school in freezing cold Idaho the need for a mudroom quickly became apparent. The combination of snow + walking around campus meant our living room carpets were constantly wet and/or muddy in the winter. You also ended up with a huge pile of shoes and coats right next to the door since this was the only way to keep said muddy/wet carpet under control. Since apartments were already cramped, mudrooms would have done wonders in keeping the house more livable as well as avoiding roommate conflicts.

  21. posted by verily on

    Mudrooms make sense for snowy/rainy climates. Our Southern house only had an entryway with a hall closet, which is where we stowed our winter coats and some larger objects like band instruments.

    But we entered the house from the rear (due to the front door always being sticky/uncooperative from poor construction). It opened directly on the dining room/kitchen, so more often than not, bookbags and shoes got stowed next to the back door. It was sufficient for us. If your shoes were wet/muddy, we’d kick them off on the porch.

  22. posted by Nikki on

    I wish I had one. I have a doormat to put shoes on in my combination living room/kitchen/diningroom when you walk into my tiny apartment, and I would love to have a place to take off my shoes, hang up my coat without going into my bedroom closet to do so, and have everything set and ready to go when I walked out the door down to my keys. It also would decrease the snow and dead leaves that come into my home. Mudrooms, or at least a small entryway with a closet, are a good thing, and if I were going to buy or build a house I wouldn’t exclude it. Sometimes making things more simple makes life more complicated.

    I also do not have a pantry, and my cabinet space is extremely limited. Coming up with ways to store the staple food such as flour, sugar, and rice that we use in addition to our weekly food creates more clutter and chaos than a pantry ever would.

  23. posted by disconnect on

    We redid our kitchen 6 years ago and opted to take down the wall separating the (4’x6′) mudroom from the (12’x12′) kitchen. In retrospect, it was a mistake. I miss having the buffer zone that it represented, and we don’t really use that area of the kitchen. If we ever redo the kitchen again, it’s going back in. We live in Connecticut; not horrible weather, but enough rain, snow, and salt get in that we have to wash the floor mats twice a month.

  24. posted by Mrs. Micah on

    We had a “front hall” growing up. For coming in either the front door or from the garage. It was where the boots/shoes went and where the coat closet was. Definitely kept the house cleaner.

    I’ve heard people in PA call them mudrooms, but that was mostly for farmhouses. I know I’ll judge entrances whenever I look for a house.

  25. posted by Anonymous on

    My front door opens right up into a small, wood-floored hallway and then right into the rest of the house (open floor plan.) Many a time I’ve wished for a mudroom where I could put dripping wet shoes, coats, dog-items and such to keep it all off the good wood floors and out of the way. Went to a home show recently (one of those things where a different designer takes one room each) and they had the most amazing mudroom/laundry room area with built-in cabinetry, places to hang wet clothes, sturdy tile floors with radiant heat, a washer/dryer and an ironing/folding area, a small TV, plenty of windows and a special area just for washing dogs — constructed with special showerheads and easy step-in access. Out of the whole house THAT’S the room I remember — I even took the designer’s card because someday I want one just like it.

  26. posted by Kris on

    We use a boot tray at the back door and all shoes go there, particularly wet/muddy ones.

    We also have hooks there for backpacks, dog leashes, coats, and anything else we think needs to be in that area. It’s not an entire room but simply an area by the garage door that functions well. I keep my keys and cell phone in my purse, which has its own hook in the kitchen; my husband keeps his cell phone and keys in a drawer in the kitchen that is specifically for him. Mail is handled immediately upon entering the house .. bills go on my computer desk, junk gets shredded .. we keep the shredder right under the counter in the kitchen.

    It took me years to get here but it runs like a well oiled machine now.

    I used to live in New Hampshire and there we DID need an entire room, or hall, or closet sans door, for a mud room as you have parkas, boots, hats, scarves, gloves, etc .. it takes up alot of room. We live in the south now and never need more than a heavy sweater .. maybe four times a year.

  27. posted by scrappy on

    I had the pleasure of working with a professional organizer last week, and she created room in our closets and converted a large shelf with cubbies that we had been using for toys, into the backpack and sports landing area. For the first time since we had kids, our floor in the family room is clear of shoes, bags, and coats. I have really learned that a lot can be done with some clear thinking; much cheaper than adding onto the house!

  28. posted by lucille on

    We just need somewhere for people to put their wet muddy shoes. The nice and small entryway is all traffic pattern so leaving shoes there just doesn’t work. We also don’t have enough room in the garage for a whole mudroom/coat area. A place in the garage for shoes is probably going to be done before winter. That is the main offending item I don’t want in the house.

  29. posted by SMB on

    I’m late to this topic, but I just had to say how much I miss having a mudroom! I lived in Massachusetts for 5 years with a mudroom, and I LOVED it. I kept coats and other outergear out there, but also my recycling bins and milk crate. I left the outside door unlocked so that delivery folks could leave packages inside and off the front steps. I had a bench and a rack for shoes, so I didn’t trail dirt into the house. It was fabulous!

  30. posted by allen on

    I think that people who don’t think a whole room is necessary, need to get out of their own cultural/societal bias: In cold areas, it is very necessary.

    In Wisconsin, you don’t want to open the door from the heated house right outside! (or vice versa!) In addition, if you’ve never been in a house with 5+ people in a Real winter (aka, you have to wear 2+ layers, and 2+ socks, &c), then you don’t really understand the amount of space it takes up.

    That being said, do you need something like this in LA? No, of course not!

  31. posted by jacqueline on

    I grew up with a combination mud room/laundry/utility room. It is nice to have a “contaminated” area in the house. (I don’t mean disorganized, just a place for dirty things like shoes and cleaning supplies.) As an adult, I feel lost without it. I work as a nurse and come home with all sorts of germs; I like the ability to strip, throw my clothes in the washer, and shower all before entering my clean home.

  32. posted by Someone on

    Seems to me that (at least in places where I’ve lived) criticizing a mud room as a “uni-tasker” is similar to criticizing a toilet as a “uni-tasker”. Yes, it only does one thing, but it does that one thing well, and there are reasons why you don’t mix it with other aspects of life.

    Also, NOT having a mudroom — or whatever-you-want-to-call-it — is darned expensive. Every time you open your front door, all that expensive heat goes rushing outside! Something of an airlock makes a huge difference on heating bills, and is much more “green”.

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