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Turn Your Coat Closet Into a Mudroom

Get Hooked: Turn a Coat Closet Into a Mini Mudroom

How to Reorganize and Restructure to Create a Functional Closet Mudroom

The entryway to your home is often a dumping ground littered with shoes, backpacks, umbrellas and more. If you use something daily, it's most likely stashed somewhere by the front door. 

At first glance, a coat closet seems like a reasonable place to hide the clutter. But more often than not, it's already stuffed to the brim. A great alternative may be to convert your crowded coat closet into a 'mini' mudroom. We know what you're thinking, but turning your catch-all closet into a functional space with plenty of storage is easier than you think. 

Here's our step-by-step guide:

Creating Your Coat Closet Mudroom

Step 1: Envision What Your Space Needs

There are plenty of closet mudroom ideas out there, but some may fit your space better than others. Decide what your mudroom needs to make it work for your particular type of entryway clutter. For example, if shoes always pile up at your door, focus on finding a shoe organizer for your mudroom. Keep your closet's dimensions in mind: do you have room for a small storage bench or is a classic shoe organizer a better fit?

Organizational Elements to Consider for Your Closet Mudroom:

  • Shoe rack
  • Shelving unit
  • Storage baskets
  • Coat hooks
  • Umbrella holder
  • Lockers
  • Cubbies
  • Dirt-grabbing mat
  • Plastic bins

Step 2: Empty the Closet and Declutter

Before starting a closet-to-mudroom remodel, take everything out of the existing space. Start at the bottom of the closet and work your way up to the hanging items. This will free up room quickly and show you what you have to work with. 

Get rid of items you don't use and coats that no longer fit by creating a donation and trash pile. If you come across anything damaged or broken, toss it in the trash pile. Once you've taken everything off the closet shelves, wipe them down. 

Now that you know what you're keeping, group related items together and use a sorting system of bins or baskets to keep it all organized for later. 

Step 3: Remove Closet Doors and Existing Shelves

Have these tools on hand before you begin. 

  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar (if needed)

How to remove a closet door:

  1. Close the door to access the hinges.
  2. Remove the pin from each hinge. Work from the bottom hinge up to the top. If a pin is stuck, gently tap it out of place using a hammer and flat blade screwdriver. 
  3. Remove the hinge piece attached to the door frame using the screwdriver and, if necessary, a pry bar.

If you don't plan to keep your existing shelves and clothes rod, remove them using the screwdriver. 

Stepp 4: Paint or Wallpaper Your Closet

To make a space feel brand new, sometimes all it needs is a facelift. Any knicks and scratches will be more visible in your new closet mudroom, so you'll want to cover those up. Choose a light paint color, or vertically textured wallpaper, to create the illusion of more space. 

Our Recommendation: Wallpaper is back in style. Use it as a simple way to transform any space, but to give your mudroom more depth, try an embossed pattern. 

Step 5: Install Shelving Units and Hooks

Using a level, carefully mark where your shelves and hooks will be installed. Keep in mind that hook heights should accommodate both long and short coats. 

Your mudroom should function as a catch-all area, so account for all the items you need to store in that space. For example, if you will only need space for a few coats, shoes and bags, you might install two levels of hooks for coats and bags while leaving room for a storage bench where you can keep your shoes. You could also install a high shelf for extra storage when needed. 

Pro Tip: Install hooks and shelves only along the back wall of your closet. Using too many can make your mudroom feel cluttered, which is the opposite of what you're aiming for. 

Step 6: Bring in Other Storage Elements

No closet mudroom is complete without proper storage. You'll want all your items to complement each other, so remember to purchase matching baskets or bins. 

To figure our how many to buy and what sizes you need, take a look through the items you sorted in Step 2. 

Traditional mudrooms include benches where you can relax after a long work day. But a multi-purpose piece of furniture is a better choice for your closet mudroom. Start by measuring the longest closet wall and use that to select your storage bench. Look for options that include built-in shoe storage, either open facing or with drawers. 

Other Mudroom Storage Items to Keep Clutter Out of Sight:

  • Lockers
  • Cubbies
  • Cabinets
  • Drawers
  • Laundry Basket (with a lid)
  • Key Hanger
  • Mail Organizer

Step 7: Sweat the Details

With the essentials taken care of, tackle the fun details that bring the space to life. 

SHould you add a chalkboard paint calendar like Carmel from Our Fifth House? Or do you need a plastic mat to keep dirty work boots from trekking mud down the hallway? Think about what items typically collect in your entryway - or if there's one thing that's always missing - and customize your space. 

Step 8: Organize Your Closet Mudroom

Once all your storage pieces have been installed, it's time to organize your belongings. Be sure to keep like items together: one basket for pet supplies; another for hats and gloves. 

Pro Tip: Store items in your mudroom according to the season. No need to keep snow boots out in summer or fall jackets during the winter cold. 

Adapt Your Closet Mudroom Design Over Time

Finding the right mudroom design can take a bit of trial and error. See what you use the most, what you don't use at all and adapt over time. Add more shelves, take out a few hooks or maybe add a faux countertop that folds flat against the wall when not in use. 

Ready to organize the rest of your house? Read our series on How to Organize Your Home Room by Room, for expert advice covering every room from the kitchen to the basement.