The word is out: The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting that Old Man Winter is coming to the Hudson Valley with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, bringing colder-than-average temperatures and higher-than-average snowfalls. For the skiers and snowshoers and ice climbers, this is fantastic news. But for others, it means wet clothes and snowy boots piled up next to the front door. And it means gear: snow pants, coats, boots, hats, wool socks, gloves, ski masks, gators, and so on. Old Man Winter is giving us one more thing to tend to in our already busy lives.
However, VISITvortex offers a simple solution: THE MAKESHIFT MUDROOM. Cheap and simple to create, anyone can add a spot to the entryway of his/her home to store winter’s accessories and voilà-have a mudroom.
The Floor The first rule of thumb is to protect your floor from wetness. As much as we try, snow and ice are bound to get inside of our homes. Boot trays and mats can help to keep water contained, but ideally it’s best to design a space where melting ice and snow will not wreck the flooring. A tile entryway, which can be designed to fit many different budgets, can be a perfect way to protect the floor regardless of where wet boots may travel. Some other snow and ice friendly floor options include slate, concrete, brick, linoleum, and vinyl. If you really wanted to do it up right, you could install radiant heat in the floor of your mudroom. Eco-friendly and efficient, radiant heat will help to dry your wet boots in a hurry.
An even easier solution is to simply buy a couple of area rugs. Just make sure they are washable! You will need to toss those babies in the washing machine every now and then. Also, buy rugs with some color. Avoid whites and beiges and grays; you need those poppy reds and royal blues and chocolate browns-or preferably a mixture of colors-to disguise the muck that will drop off those dirty shoes. Sometimes you might even be able to find a contemporary looking bathmat with absorbent tops to catch the sludge and rubber backing to keep it in place. Parents have even been known to buy cheap microfiber rugs and cut them into stepping-stones to guide those little feet in the right direction and keep the snow off the floor.
Try to catch the snow before it comes indoors. Invest in a durable welcome mat to place outside the front door.
Hooks You need them, especially if you don’t have a coat closet near your entryway. And hooks come in an array of colors and styles to fit any home décor. The convenience of that hook near the door will surely simplify your life, especially if you are prone to losing things. Hang car keys, dog leashes, hats, and backpacks. Hang hooks lower for kids’ items and higher for adults’ things-just don’t hang hooks at anyone’s eye level. Consider assigning everyone in the family a hook, and install a few extra just in case. There’s no need to scrimp on these affordable solutions.
Storage Space A mudroom can’t be tidy unless there’s a place to store all of those accessories that don’t really have a home … so you have to create a home for them! Whatever method you decide to use, keep your storage space as close to the entryway as possible to keep mud and ice near the door instead of inside your house.
One solution for the makeshift mudroom is to stock up on baskets and bins. Hiding your muddy boots in a tasteful basket can definitely make your living space more pleasing to the eye than a series of rubber mats lined up against the wall. Bins either lined up on shelves or the floor can be handy too. Just group similar items into baskets and bins to make things easy to find when you’re in a hurry. You also might be less likely to lose that mitten if all the mittens are in one place.
Cubbies can also maximize the efficiency and storage potential of your mudroom. Cubbies come in all colors and sizes and certainly help to reduce clutter. They also allow for open storage and good air circulation, helping to dry those wet and heavy items more quickly. An open storage also allows you to find your gloves and hats a little more easily.
Clean out your collection of winter accessories! Donate any unwanted winter jackets, hats, and gloves to schools and shelters. If you take a moment to call the school nurse at your local school, it’s almost a guarantee that she will know of a child who can use your unneeded gear. And, by all means, throw out that favorite mitten; the other one has been lost for a year now, and you are not going to find it!
Add a seat to your mudroom. Putting on and removing boots need not be a balancing act. Salvage a chair at one of the many Hudson Valley antique stores or-if space is tight-add a slim bench. Your legs will thank you.