A lot of New England and Cape Cod style houses have an entry space which is commonly referred to as the “Mud Room.” The problem with most of these spaces is that they go from neat to disaster very quickly. Being the first room, you come into from outside, it is usually where shoes get thrown, the jackets tossed, and the book bags left behind until morning. While no solution will force your family to be neater, if you set up the room to make it as easy as possible, you might be surprised with what they are capable of!

The best tip we can come up with is to make it as “user friendly” as possible. For example, a specific place for shoes, a specific place for clothes, etc. With any of these elements, make features as decorative or simple as you want the space to be.

A necessity, especially in places where seasons change, is somewhere to fit jackets. If you don’t have a closet space for that area, a hanging coat rack can work great. A tip that is helpful, is to label each person’s name above two/three hooks. That will designate that each person is responsible for hanging in that space. Install a shelf, either above or below the coat rack, that will be home for a basket assigned to the same person. This will be specifically for hats/gloves/scarves. On the floor below, use separate mats that will be wear any shoes will live. It’s good to keep this all in one area, so when the kids come in from outside you will keep all the wet/dirty/snowy clothes in one place.

In a separate area create a space for everyone’s “things.” Whether it is your work bag, your husbands golf clubs, or your kids backpacks, designate an area where these things will belong. Consider your family, and decide whether hooks, hangers, or baskets would be the most useful.

A great feature I like to include in this space is a calendar. A whiteboard/chalkboard are great options, so you can update every week with any activities or events that everyone needs to remember. This can be your central space to fill in the family about what’s going on. I’ve seen some houses use this area as a space to write down any supplies/groceries that are needed or even what is for dinner on what night.

Hopefully, if you take these steps to neaten up the space, everyone will notice and try to pitch in. Good luck!!