Written by: Bruce Arant
My poor mother. She loved a clean house. Unfortunately, she had five kids who didn’t share her passion for order and cleanliness. To make things worse for her, we lived in the country where livestock, mud…and more…were just a part of daily life. Mom found herself in a constant uphill battle to keep the inside of our home from looking like the inside of a barn. Eventually…miraculously…her “clean gene” took hold inside of me and finally changed my filthy ways. Nowadays, I shudder to think of myself as an 11-year old, tromping into our house after spending the day with my cousins across the road….and their cattle and hogs.
Looking back, it would have been so much easier for my mom if we would have had what so many of us have today – a mudroom, or some type of entry area from the garage, to intercept whatever we were dragging in from the outside. These areas on a floor plan are often the unsung heroes of the home, when it comes to helping keep things clean and clutter-free. Of course, it’s up to those of us who live in the home, to actually hang up our wet coats, or take off our muddy shoes (Are you listening, kids??!!), but at least Mudrooms and Garage Entry Areas provide us a designated place to do so.
Mudrooms and Garage Entry Areas have been around for quite a long time and you’re no doubt familiar with their most common features: Built-In Cubbies for depositing school books, gloves, hats; uneaten bag lunches, etc.; Wall-mounted hooks for hanging jackets, backpacks, dog leashes, etc.; Built-In Shelves – possibly with baskets or tubs to optimize organization; Benches, to provide a handy place to put on clean, dry shoes – or take off muddy, wet ones.
Those features are all great and should be included in any mudroom, but let’s take a look at ten practical ideas that you may or may not have considered for that all-important room, just in from your garage. (These are in no particular order of importance. I’ll leave that up to you.)
Utility Sink. So, you’ve been out planting flowers or pulling spark plugs, and your hands are a mess. Washing up in the kitchen or a bathroom is going to be a messy challenge at best. A utility sink just off the garage will save you from dealing with dirty, drippy messes, in spite of one’s best intentions to get cleaned up.
Pet Washing Station. There never seems to be a great place to bathe Fifi…let alone Duke. Its one thing if you’ve got a dog that can fit into a sink (preferably the aforementioned utility sink), but doggy bath time can be quite another issue if you don’t. With any sized family canine, you might consider doing yourself a favor by including a dedicated, waterproof spot – like a mini tub/shower area – for spraying, sudzing…and of course shaking…and shaking…and shaking.
Ventilated Coat Closet (especially for us adults). Sure, it’s great to have a row of hooks for the kids to hang up their wet jackets, but that’s not what you’re going to want to do with your expensive camel hair coat. Save yourself a drippy trip to the front entry’s coat closet. Instead, plan space in your mudroom for a better alternative – a ventilated coat closet (with louvered door and bathroom fan). Even if your coat isn’t wet, a mudroom coat closet will be appreciated for its practical location as you dash into or out of the home.
Hanging Rod. If space doesn’t allow for a coat closet, perhaps there might be room for a hanging rod to allow rain-soaked coats or sweat-soaked sportswear to dry out.
Lockers for Sporting Equipment. If members of your household are involved in team or individual sports, it might make good sense for your mudroom to include lockers to house sporting gear. Golf clubs, tennis rackets, soccer balls, ball bats and the like will be kept neatly out of sight and ready to go when it comes time to get out there and show ‘em how it’s done.
Utility/Broom Closet. It’s called a mudroom for good reason. So, with that in mind, it would be logical to include a closet for housing brooms, mops, and other cleaning supplies to keep your mudroom’s mud to a minimum.
Fridge, Freezer, Pantry Cabinet, Counter Space. It’s not uncommon for a Mudroom or Garage Entry Area to be in close proximity of the kitchen. With this in mind, it might be worth considering the possibility of extending some of the kitchen’s features. You’ll never regret having an additional refrigerator and/or freezer, extra cabinets for canned goods, or counter space for setting grocery bags down after you unload them from the car.
Charging Station/Drop Zone. We’re all constantly on the move, right along with our briefcases, handbags, keys, cell phones, tablets, etc., etc., etc. With that, it’s not uncommon to hear, “Has anyone seen my phone…and my keys?” A dedicated spot for setting down those items – and charging them up – can help minimize the frustrating question of, Now…where did I put that?
Message Board. With all that coming and going, it’s easy for communication to fall through the cracks. The old-school solution of mounting a whiteboard or chalkboard on a mudroom wall can be a great option for keeping everyone in the loop.
Full-Length Mirror. While you’re at it, find a spot to mount a full-length mirror – perhaps with vanity-style lighting – for that one last look before heading out to the car. Who hasn’t been relieved to catch the occasional “wardrobe malfunction” before it was too late? Your Mudroom or Garage Entry Area is the perfect place to do so.
Here at Advanced House Plans, many of our stock designs feature Mudrooms or Garage Entry Areas. If you desire options that are in addition to those shown on the original design, we can meet your needs with custom plan changes. Or, if you’re considering having us custom-design a house plan for you, the options for this area of the floor plan are nearly endless.
Not all of these ideas listed above will help intercept messes tracked in from the outside. Some are listed purely for practicality and convenience. But in any case, I’m guessing you’re seeing the role of Mudrooms or Garage Entry Areas in a bigger way. Of course, if you’ve got a sloppy, messy kid (like I was), your only hope might be to just keep them outside from now on – or, at least until their “clean gene” kicks in.