I was with a client yesterday working on some photo organizing, and she asked me to give her some ideas for her mudroom/ back entry / coat hook area. She thought this little mudroom-nook area of the kitchen always looked messy, and wondered if there was something else we could do or buy or build for the space to help declutter and organize the mudroom nook.
We talked about maybe adding some built in cubbies or cabinets in the vertical space above the windows. Maybe swapping out the bench for something a little bigger. Discussed moving the trash and recycle bins, but for a number of really good reasons, this was the best spot for them.
We discussed the space and stuff for a few minutes, but then my hands started to…well…move stuff around. It just happens.
This, by the way, is the PERFECT project for a little SORT and SUCCEED organizing action. I mean, really, just START with the goal of organizing this tiny little area of the kitchen. Not the WHOLE kitchen. JUST this little area. Are ya with me?
Organize into groups. We counted no less than 15 coats. For 3 people. It’s not a judgement. During the crazy days of spring, we might need a jacket, a winter parka, and a light sweater…all on the same day. But we’re past that now, so all of the coats are either getting washed or getting hung in the main hall closet. (I know, not every house has one, but surprisingly, most do!)
Reduce, release and reset. This is where we call the Instant Pot into question. Is it useful? Absolutely! Should it be hanging out with the coats and shoes and the bike pump? Not a chance.
One of the other offenders? A bag of bags. Sorry, no picture, but you can review what I recommend to condense that big bag of plastic bags down to a contained set of useful bags.
This little update took about 10 minutes, and the two of us were problem solving…brainstorming the whole time. The bag of bags to recycle went in the car. The big tote bag in the back of the photo had to stay; it was the all-important busy bag to keep the kids quiet in church. All the sports gear was rounded up and stored in the single bin nearest the door on the bottom left. Mom’s purses were rounded up and hung on the higher hooks on the left, leaving the lower hooks for the kiddos.
The big tweak in this space is adding a new chore option for the boys. While we may not want to make this whole space their responsibility, they can certainly help out by doing something simple. In this case, just asking them to take all the coats and hang them up in the coat closet is a great, simple chore that’s easily accomplished in just a few minutes. And it makes the rest of this little mudroom nook look amazing. Look how cute!!! She already had the monogrammed bags here, which work wonderfully for holding hats and other small items for each family member.
Another simple little tweak was to place all the reusable shopping bags into one tote bag, like this cute monogrammed D bag. They are still in the same place, and they are easy to get to, but now they aren’t diving off the organizing bins.
So, sure, we could easily build some mudroom storage cubbies into the space above the window, but they would only be good for off-season storage, since they’d be tough to get to. But just by getting the extra coats out of the way, we’ve already made plenty of space for the boys to hang their backpacks when they get home from school.
If you noticed that I only went through the first 4 steps of the SORT and Succeed process, you’d be right. The reward for me for this successful project was getting to tell you that it only took about 10 minutes.
If you are thinking that all we did was remove the coats…you’d also be mostly right. (We also moved some winter hats out of the way.) So this one little tweak, hanging coats up in the hall closet, has a big payoff. It only took about 10 minutes, and you get to enjoy a decluttered space for the next 3 or 4 months! So there’s no reason to put it off.
The reward for the homeowner may have been that she got me to tweak this area, while some of our photo projects were updating in the other room. I’d call that a win-win and a success.