On a serious note: My thoughts are constantly turned toward my friends and loved ones in the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine right now. I love and miss you, and I pray for your present safety and your future prosperity.
In civilized countries like Ukraine, everyone takes their shoes off when they enter a private residence. Beside every door is some kind of shoe cubby with house slippers that you switch into for the duration of your visit.
Now, I hear your American qualms squealing, “Ew! Sharing shoes is unhygenic! What is this, a bowling alley? And doesn’t that take like a gazillion years out of your day to take your shoes off and put them back on every time you go into someone’s house? You’re seriously chipping away at your Candy Crush time with all that added work.”
I thought so when I first moved to Ukraine, too, but you know what is actually unhygenic? Traipsing those shoes that have been all over the Metro across the bedroom carpet your babies crawl on. In my house, we’ve been obeying the no shoe rule for years. In combination with the food stays in the kitchen rule, the no shoe rule has kept our carpets here virtually as pristinely renter beige as the day we moved in–Ack! Knock on wood! Knock on wood! There is not enough wood in the world to knock on!
I will admit, however, that the taking off and putting on of six shoes and six socks every time I want to take the boys anywhere is a big fat pain that keeps me relatively housebound in the winter. (Which reminds me, I have pictures from our annual Presidents Day trip to the National Museum of American History, and last Saturday’s trip to the National Gallery of Art to post.)
One of the reasons I am so excited about the mudroom is the prospect of building a single, giant tower of power that will house every shoe in our possession. Now, when the boys start playing football, I may need a door on the mudroom to keep that smell out of the kitchen, and I may need a mini version of Shoegri-La at the patio door, basement walk-out door, and front door, too. I might even buy a bunch of flip-flops at Old Navy and provide them to guests as house slippers. I’m pretty sure if I can just get my mudroom right, all my wildest dreams will come true. I might even win the Nobel Prize for Mudrooms. Finally!
So here’s what I invision. The mudroom is just over 10 feet long, so that means one wall should be divided into 2ft mudroom cubby/lockers. I like the bench style lockers with open shoe storage underneath, dividers rather than just corbels between, and two rows of hooks, one up top and one half way down, so that my preschoolers can hang their own darn coats and backpacks up for crying out loud.
What I love about this picture is that despite the extraordinary effort that has gone into storage solutions, there is a bunch of crap piled up beside it in the garage.
On the opposite wall, I want the tower of shoe shelves, several shelves higher than this because both I and my mudroom are very tall.
The mudroom opposite wall will also need a sizeable magnetic white board (because a fridge covered in flyers about the school’s latest blah, blah events is not in my kitchen design plan. Ever hear of email?), and maybe a few of those wall file thingers for library books and stuff–except maybe not because take your junk up to your room! The mudroom is mom’s special place to relax. Like the living room, study, morning room, laundry and pantry.
I also want some key ring hooks. I have never had a key ring hook, but I’m pretty sure I would never lose my keys/cellphone/glasses again if I had one. Ooh! And maybe the electronic charging station. Plus a final-check mirror. After all, the mudroom is right next to the garage door which is the main method of egress for the house, so a mirror is a must.
What I’ve learned from looking at everybody’s mudroom online is that
- Mudrooms must be staged empty, or with a few choice pieces of color-coordinated clothing.
- The only acceptable color for mudroom built-ins is white.
- The vast majority of people in the world are shorter than I am. (Library ladder? Really?)
- Figuring out how to best use the storage under the shelf of the mudroom locker/cubbies is tricky.
The last one is the kicker. Do you keep the under-bench storage fully open and hope you’ll be able to locate the other shoe in that 18x24x16 swirling vortex? Do you divide it into two shelves and hope mice don’t move in to the bottom corners which become wholely inaccessible to man? Do you put in a white drawer that gets filled with shoe dirt? A basket that gets destroyed from over use?
I think I’ve decided that with the tower of shoe power, I can leave the under bench storage essentially open for the most used shoes.
I’m also a huge fan of the bench being either stained or painted a darker color. I love how the espresso looks against the white.
Anyone care to chime in on what has worked in their mudroom? Anything you wish you had done? Anything you splurged on but never use?
Nobody suggest chalk paint or chalk boards, because I have a thing about chalk. Even drawing on a chalkboard gives me the fingernails-on-the-chalkboard willies. I just can’t take it!