Saturday, February 18, 2012

What's a Mud Closet?

I know, two posts in one day! What is the world coming to? But I owe you some posts and today is make-up day. Some folks follow only my Sunday treats while some only look for my cool tips and tricks. I felt it was unfair to please only one group. If you are a faithful follower who reads both, I hope you don't get bored!

A month or so ago, I saw an "I Did It!" column in Better Homes and Gardens where a mom turned her coat closet into a "mini mud room." She put in a bench and shelf. Under the bench, each kid had a bin for shoes. On the shelf, each kid had a bin for hats and gloves. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the brilliant beyond brilliant solution to our laundry room coat closet. Let me paint you a picture...

Imagine if you will a typically sized laundry room. Not one of those gigantic magazine layout laundry room / mud room / whatever room that could fit the whole family plus the dog plus a 9 foot grand piano. I'm talking about a regular, normal people's house, laundry room. The kind where the washer and dryer (and one cabinet - if you're lucky) are on one side and a blank wall on the other where the family traipses out in single file to enter the garage. That is my laundry room. However, the builders of my lovely home decided that they needed to add a second coat closet in this tiny "room." (The other, smaller coat closet is in the living room just inside the front door.)

This closet, in the laundry room, was built over the stairs to the basement. Thus, it has no floor. Well, it has a floor. Set at a 45 degree angle. Not super useful to have a closet without a usable floor. The real issue though, was the doors. Now, if you're paying attention, you should have counted two doors. The big, heavy, metal door to the garage and the closet door. That open into each other, by the way. We lived here less than a month when we dented the garage door with the handle to the closet door since they were both opened simultaneously. (I was inside getting into the closet, my husband was outside trying to come in.) But what you haven't heard about is the door separating the laundry room from the kitchen. I love that door. It closes off the sound when the machines are going and it's a nice place to stash mess when unexpected guests arrive. However, that door ALSO opens into the laundry room. So you end up with a regular sized laundry room with 3 doors that all open into the same space.

To top that off, I had this mirror with hooks thing that hung behind the door to the kitchen for the kids to hang their coats. Thus, that door never really opened all the way. So, small space. Lots of doors. Cramped, cramped, cramped.

Our "Mud Closet" After Picture
So when I saw the closet transformation in the magazine, I knew this was for us and off the closet door came! It took a little longer to complete than our typical projects mostly because of the painting and staining and the extended dry time due to our sudden onslaught of cold weather. Since it was a closet, it had not been painted so we had to paint the walls to match the laundry room. Thankfully, we had the leftover paint left by the builder. (I also painted the ceiling, because it's a closet, so why not?) We also decided to make the bench and shelf out of 2x4's and 2x6's to look like spa benches. Those were stained in the same color as the molding, also left by the builder.

After Pic of the Bench and Floor
The tricky part was dealing with the sloped floor. We discussed just painting it. Blah. We thought about putting a barrier at the base of the slope so it would become a bin. Also blah. So then we thought, make it look like the floor. That way your eye doesn't see the slope. So while, my mom and I were off getting my hair cut, my husband and father worked their magic and covered that slope with wood planks, also left by the builder. Thanks builder guy!

I have since added hooks for the kids coats, bins on the shelf for their hats/gloves/scarves, and a cool drink bucket (found on clearance at Target) to throw shoes in.

I am super excited about what we affectionately refer to as our "mud closet." The only sad part is the retirement of "the system." Our former method of shoe/hat/glove/scarf organization has now been replaced with a pretty cool bucket, some awesome bins, and another (lame) basket in the other closet for my stuff. The true test is whether or not shoes actually make it into the bucket...

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