Today I am revealing something I’ve been working (and dreaming about) for a long time. We converted our entry closet into a mudroom! And it is beautiful, and magical, and most of all FUNCTIONAL. I’ve known for a long time that our traditional closet/hanger system was not working for our family. When you are walking into the house carrying a baby on your hip, a toddler hanging from your leg, 2 daycare craft projects in one hand, and today’s mail in the other hand, who is going to take the time to set all of that down, open a bi-fold door and politely hang your jacket on a hanger? Not this girl. Everyday I would walk right past the closet and dump everything on our kitchen island then throw my jacket over the nearest stool or dining chair. If I knew company was coming I would throw everything into our closet and quickly shut the door before everything toppled out. Please do not judge, but I’ll show you a picture so you can get a better visual.
I mean, look at the floor. Out of control. Do you like my attempt at organization by labeling the baskets on the shelf? This worked for about one week (probably more like one day). The problem was you couldn’t see what was in the baskets, everyone’s things were mixed together, and you could NEVER find what you were looking for. Opening this closet made me feel stressed and unorganized, and I knew we were desperate for a better system.
We started by emptying the closet, I already started feeling so much better. Then we removed the closet doors. Bi-fold doors don’t come cheap, so we saved and re-purposed the doors (more to come on that later). Once the doors were removed it felt like we gained 2 extra feet in our entryway! The room felt so open.
As long as I was going to convert the closet, I thought I might as well make it pretty too. I taped off the lower section of the closet and painted it a light gray color. We used white shelving, so the gray color really helped break up all the white.
Next we did the measuring and figuring. First we measured the back wall of the closet, in our case it was 5’8″ wide, so we cut a 1×8 board that length and painted it white.
Once we found and marked where the studs were, we were able to screw the long board onto the wall.
Next we screwed on a 1×8 board on the two ends of the closet, again make sure you are screwing into studs. Once you have all the 1×8 boards in place you can cut a piece of white shelving to be the exact width of the closet (we used a 11-1/4″ deep white shelf). It should automatically rest on all the 1×8 boards you just installed, but we put a screws into the top edges of the white shelf to make sure it stayed in place.
Once you figure out how many cubbies and how tall you want them to be, cut white shelving to the appropriate lengths. We cut 5 pieces that were all 7″ tall. Carefully screw from beneath the bottom shelf to keep the cubby walls in place. Next place one more full length white shelf to the top of the cubby walls, place one screw into the top of that board so that nothing shifts around.
After we had all the supports and shelves in place I took the white paint and dabbed paint over all the screws and holes, this just hid all the screw holes and gave it a cleaner look. We then added two metal shelf supports to the 1×8 board, and planned and marked where we wanted all the coat hooks to go. This is the point where I started seeing it all come together and got really excited. Hooks are SO much more functional than clothes hangers, especially when you are dealing with small toddler jackets. It only takes one hand and little effort to throw a jacket on a hook, compared to the two hands it takes to hang a coat on a hanger.
Speaking of toddler jackets, we wanted a set of lower hooks for our boys to hang their jackets. But even as the kids get older, having hooks at this lower level will be an awesome place to put backpacks for years to come. We attached two 1×6 boards (painted white) to the closet, making sure we screwed them into studs. Because the white 1×8 and 1×6 boards were screwed into the wall studs, it doesn’t matter where the hooks are placed on the board, everything will be nice and secure.
And just like that our entry closet was converted into our very own mudroom! I can’t tell you how excited I was to complete this home project, it is already making such an impact on our everyday life.
The boys love their lower hooks and have even wanted to hang their own jackets, can I get a Hallelujah?
The cubbies are working so great. Everyone in the family has their own cubby and it is easy to see inside of each one. Before we struggled with having to dig through a bin to find everyone’s separate hat, and I didn’t have a great spot to keep little things such as sunglasses or headphones. Now I can put it in my own cubby and not worry about it getting buried or lost.
Something else we customized was turning one of the cubbies into a mail sorter. Now when I grab the mail, but don’t have time to look through it, I don’t have to throw it on the kitchen counter and create clutter. I just place the mail in the bottom shelf and I know where it will be when I have time to sort the mail. I’m telling you, it has been a lifesaver for the paper clutter.
The last piece to the mudroom puzzle was the awesome rustic bench that T.J. made out of reclaimed wood. It is the perfect place for the boys to sit while we are helping them get their shoes on.
One question or concern might be where to keep all the jackets you have crammed into your current closet? When we started talking about converting our closet we realized that we basically wear the same jackets everyday, so we felt ok about moving all of our extra jackets to a different location. We built a closet in our garage, and now that is where we keep all of our extra jackets we don’t wear very often. I love that we got that extra coat clutter out of the house.
Thanks for taking the time to check out our latest house project, I hope it gave you a few ideas of your own.