photo: Pottery Barn
I have shown you my mudroom before. It makes me happy whenever I go to use it, or when it's raining and the kids can bring their soggy selves in and let everything momentarily fall in a puddle. Before I had a house with a mudroom, they used to come in my front door (horrors!!) as we had a front porch where they could at least kick off their muddy shoes before tracking themselves through the house. It wasn't ideal, and it was one of the reasons we built again... Now they each have their own locker where they can hang their coats up on hooks (so much easier for my slack brood) and throw their ballcaps and skipping ropes into the baskets above. It is very functional and exactly what I always wanted in a mudroom.
Since I've only lived here a year, I have had plenty of opportunity to improvise "mudrooms" in my previous homes. I have used attractive hooks for each of us for coats and I have used an old wooden milk crate with sections to put our everyday shoes in. I have hung hooks on a beadboard wall and spelled COATS over the area in wooden, painted letters. I always store my umbrellas in a pretty container (I've used tall metal buckets, wicker "vases", and even plain milk cans). I've added yard sale chairs and benches for a place to sit and tie your shoes. In other words, I've improvised and made do with the space I had.
Years ago, my husband made me a storage unit which looks like a small chest of drawers, except the drawers are seagrass baskets. We each have a drawer, and it is here we store our hats and mittens, scarves and sunglasses. It was a great fix for an everyday storage dilemma. I love the idea here from Pottery Barn of using a small chalkboard (slate, really) and hanging a nail from it for bookbags, etc. Pub style mirrors, with hooks below, are great for when you need a mirror to take a quick peek at your self before going out the door. I also like to hang a clock near the door, so you can see if you are running late (or in my case, just how late I'm running...).
If you don't have an actual mudroom, take heart; and carve out a small space where your family can enter and exit your home with some semblance of order. Use some of the ideas I've touched upon, ore those you see in the photos. Sometimes you really can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear... just make sure you have a hook to hang it on!!
photo: Cottage Living