Nice & Neat

Behind the scenes of every well-organized home are hardworking spaces with a place for everything. Unfortunately, the spot where coats and shoes are stored tends to look like a mess, whether it's a coat closet, mudroom or hallway with a bench and a few hooks. Learn how one of our staff, Alison, solves her family's mudroom dilemma.

“Large families—we have four kids—generate a lot of stuff. Our old setup didn’t have a place for out-of-season coats, scarves and boots, so everything got stuffed into cubbies. The open shelving put everything on display, making this place a visual storm. If you have a place like this, assess what really needs to stay. Limit shoes and boots to only those worn on a daily basis. Good shoes worn infrequently can stay in bedroom closets. Sometimes this space just needs a good edit—especially if you have growing children and have outgrown items as I did.”

Problem & Solution
Here’s how Alison fixed her problems:
1. Removed items that don’t need to be stored here.
2. Painted the room and shelving and changed the lighting. Dark wood and lack of good lighting made this space feel small and unwelcoming.
3. Added custom drawers for hidden storage. The lower cubbies now have easy-close, hardware-free drawers to hold shoes and keep the space visually clean.
4. Placed two extra-large bins on top of the lockers. The goal was to find the largest bins to fill the space, These are perfect—they are light-color so they add height and light to the space.
5. Added storage in a rolling bin, opposite upper right. We topped it with a custom stainless-steel lid to hide kids’ yard toys and to work as an entryway table.

Hidden Storage: Drawers & Bins

Adding drawers to a built-in shelving unit seemed pricey, but the cost of storage bins over the years and the difficulty finding those that fit the cubbies made them a smart move. Drawers also provide a clean facade in tight spaces. Without hardware, they reduce the chance of snagging things or scraping legs. More storage is available in the large bins on top of the shelves and in the rolling bin.

Style Brings Order

A fresh color palette in blue, gray and white makes this space welcoming. “By making the entryway more inviting, I’ve already seen changes in the kids’ behavior,” says Alison. “They like keeping the space neat and knowing where things go. It helps them put things away. It’s a happier place to spend time, too, with pillows and an indoor-outdoor rug (there’s brown tile underneath). The decor slows people down and encourages good behavior—items are no longer flung off or piled up on the bench when kids come into the house.”

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