Talk to any avid outdoorsman or mom of active kids, and one thing would likely top their domestic wish lists: a mud room. Unfortunately, most houses are short on space and mud rooms don't often make the cut when it comes to cutting into other essential spaces, such as kitchens and dens. The perfect place for a mud room? Your garage. Here's how to make it happen.
Is your dream mud room lurking behind these doors?
Consider Your Needs
Before planning your mud room, it's important to first understand your space needs. Will you merely be tucking away coats and boots, or do you need storage for all of the other detritus of daily life -- from laundry and gardening supplies to backpacks and sporting gear?
Likely, you'll need the latter, which is why garage makeovers are savvy choices for many homeowners. They're comparatively large in square footage just waiting to be put to use in a meaningful way. Even better? Keeping these items in your garage helps contain clutter outside of your immediate living space.
Mix It Up
Once you've assessed your space and cleaned it out, it's time to choose your storage pieces. Going with one type of storage mechanism misses the point entirely: different types of goods require varying needs of storage.
For example, coats, hats and backpacks can be inexpensively kept off the floor through the simple addition of wall hooks. Just make sure to keep them at a height that's easily accessible for smaller children. This also helps you maximize vertical space -- a smart move on the part of any space-challenged homeowner.
Mounted shelving is another way to use your walls; this is the perfect way to tuck away seasonal gear, such as hats, gloves and scarves.
Other mud room must-haves, including everything from umbrellas to soccer cleats, may not be used as frequently so they can be tucked away in an enclosed storage space, such as a today's heavy-duty cabinets.
Just remember to keep like with like, and to label everything. A truly functional mud room is well-organized, accessible and easy to maintain.
Some families also find it useful to designate a storage cabinet for each member of your family. This way they'll know where to look before turning to you for help finding their tennis racquet. After all, you could probably live without ever again hearing the words, "Mom, I can't find my lacrosse stick/ski boots/fishing pole!"
Think Up...And Down
We've already established the importance of using vertical space, but don't forget about your floors. When planning a mud room, it's important to select flooring that can hold up to everyday wear and tear -- particularly since it will be used four seasons out of the year, and subjected to everything from sand and gravel to snow and ice. Make sure it can be mopped with ease, and is relatively scratch-proof.
We've all been there, but the right flooring eliminates the problem...and keeps it out of your living space.
Speaking of down, don't forget places for people to sit. If there is no place to stop and remove footwear, your home's inhabitants will inevitably make their way into your house with their shoes on, defeating the purpose of your mud room. A simple bench works fine, although choosing one with storage functionality adds an additional element of usefulness.
The best part of transforming your garage into a mud room is that it doesn't have to break the bank. There are plenty of small steps you can take to begin making use of your garage immediately. Then, you can can continue to make additional improvements along the way until you've achieved the space of your dreams. Of course, if you do have the budget now, your dream garage mud room may be just some planning -- and a bit of elbow grease -- away.