Monday, March 12, 2012

My problem area

Ug.  I couldn't sleep last night!  Wanna know why?  Because I was thinking about my problem area (OK, so I have more than one problem area, but this is the one that bugs me the most right now).
It's our Mud/Laundry Room.

I had a helpful and inspiring conversation with J this morning about this very room, which made me want to share these pictures because:
  1. I'm hoping you'll have some ideas for me
  2. I'm so excited about the changes I already have planned, and I wanted to take some "before" pictures just in case I ever get around to an "after" post
  3. This is an area that lots of us struggle with, and if you struggle with how to control the inevitable chaos in your entry or mud room, just know you're not alone
Keep in mind, as you're looking at the pics, that I am the only one home right now, so most of the boots, gloves, backpacks and jackets that live in this room are currently out with their owners. (So what I'm saying is, if you're tempted to look at the pics and say, "oh, that's not so bad," really, it is.  Bad.)
 Here's our huge bulletin board, on which important papers are to be posted.  I had grand visions, at one time, of dividing the board into 3 sections, one for each child, but it hasn't happened.  And no one looks at this bulletin board except for me.

Under the bulletin board are 2 hooks for backpacks.  There used to be 3 hooks, but one fell off and we've never replaced it.  Why?  Because there is a pocket door behind this wall, and nothing stays, even with anchors.
 The door to the garage is to the right of the bulletin board.  We have baskets for the kids' gloves and hats to the right of the door.  These bins also hold swim goggles, shin guards, cleats, and bike helmets in various seasons.  This particular containment system actually works pretty well for us.

Our mop, broom, and dustpan are hung on this wall, behind the utility sink, along with umbrellas (it's raining today so most of those are out, too) and a fly swatter.  I have never liked this particular hanging thing--the stuff falls off whenever I try to remove one thing, plus, if whatever you're trying to hang doesn't have a hole, it can't be hung.  In WV we had something like this that gripped the handles instead of having hooks, which worked well, but I'm wondering if we can put the cleaning stuff in the closet in our entryway instead.

Just to the right of the entry door is our utility sink.  This is the one blank wall in the room, only because it would be kind of hard to reach whatever we wanted to put up there.  The sink becomes a catch-all for things that need to go out the the garage, plus this bucket lives there permanently.  Maybe I can move it with the mop... We also need a cute jar for Hubby to put his lava soap and whatever else into--the cream cheese spread container has got to go.

 Under the utility sink are all of our shoes.  And yes, we need our snow boots AND flip flops right now!  The shoes drive me nuts.  I instituted a "three pairs of shoes per person" rule, and it still just ends up being a huge mess (remember, there are 4 people currently out, with 6 pairs of shoes and boots that will be tossed under the sink when they get home).  I think I'm going to take a cue from J and get some baskets or bins for the kids--whatever doesn't fit needs to be stored somewhere else!

 Our mud room is also our laundry room, with the washer and dryer just to the right of the utility sink.  I love having these shelves to stow stuff.  Hubby and I keep our hats, gloves, and mittens on bins on these shelves, as well as cleaning supplies, a few miscellaneous things, and of course laundry supplies. 

 Keep in mind that today is laundry day, which is the only reason the washer is cleared off. Usually the washer is the dumping ground for any and everything that comes into the house.  The ironing board stows nicely between the dryer and the wall, but I need a better place for the boot dryer.  And you don't want to know about everything that's fallen behind and between the washer and dryer.  I should really clear that out sometime.

 To the right of the dryer is where Hubby and I hang our coats, snowpants, and purse.  The hooks aren't quite high enough up, though, because our snowpants drag on the ground, making the floor space along this wall unusable.

To the right of our coats and the kids' coats and snowpants, plus a bunch of reusable grocery bags, which really should be kept in the vehicles, or maybe on a hook in the garage.

So what do you think?  Got any suggestions for me?   The major issues, as I see them, are the out of control boots and shoes, and the lack of backpack space.  Pretty much everything else has a place to be (although I'm not completely happy with some of those places).  I also need to get a handle on all the paper that comes into the house--some kind of sorter or mailboxes or something.   

Thanks again J, for showing me your mud room and providing just the inspiration I needed to get this project going.  It takes courage to show others your problem areas (especially in the aftermath of the mad morning dash to get the kids out the door to school).  Have I mentioned I want to be more like you?

1 comment:

  1. You're much too kind to take the Pamalama approach and say, "If you don't find a place for this by the end of the day, it's going in the trash!", and I suppose, most kids wouldn't care much about such a threat either, since they aren't the ones buying their own gear. We have a 1 shoe 1 coat at a time rule, 1 pair of shoes and 1 coat can be left at the door for each person. The rest needs to go in the bedroom or coat closet. Which wouldn't work if you didn't have a coat closet. "Or I'll take all your ______ away" works as an additional threat. Moving somewhere that didn't require so much warm clothing would help too. I hate finding places for stuff. I wish you the best.

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