By Jaimie Bauer
My family spends many hours outside working and playing on our homestead. That means we get dirty. Mud, snow, hay, woodchips, and animal poop (my clean house nemesis) all get tracked into the house. As the keeper of my home, it seems that I am always trying to figure out how to keep the outside … well, outside!
In my mind, I see an old-fashioned mudroom attached to a farmhouse. But I love my small house and it does not have a practical mudroom area to transition from outside to inside. So we needed a back door mudroom to organize and contain the mess, especially this time of year when coats, sweatshirts, gloves, hats, scarves, and boots come out of storage and find their way to the back door.
I had a few goals when I created my back door mudroom space. Most of all, it needed to be affordable. There are gorgeous built-in shelves and custom cupboards, but I was on a budget.
Second, it needed to be compact. I don’t have room for benches and lots of storage. I only have room to store the necessities of what we use daily.
Finally, it needed to be functional, even for the smallest members of the family. It is important to me to teach my kids to be responsible for their things and put them away so that they can find them again when they need them. Getting ready to go out is hard enough without searching high and low for a lost shoe! Everyone needs to be able to reach their things and put them away when they are done with them.
Here’s how I created a back door mudroom for under $100.
Shoe & Boot Storage, $20-40
I have been using a shelf by Seville for years. You can buy these online, at Bed Bath and Beyond or Amazon.
It has seen a lot of use, but it is durable and in great shape. This particular version also has the added feature of folding up when not in use. Everyone in my family knows where to keep their shoes, but only the most used pairs get stored here. Even my toddler knows how to put his shoes away, and that makes Mama happy!
Bins for Hats, Gloves, & Personal Items, $5
My shelf has room for three small bins purchased at the dollar store. My husband and oldest son each have their own bin and I share one with our toddler. These are perfect for storing winter hats and gloves, but we also use them throughout the year for things like sunglasses, keys, pocket knives, flashlights, and wallets. Whenever my husband is looking for something, my first response is usually, “Look in your box.”
Coat Racks, $5-30
You can create your own by painting scraps of wood and adding hooks. If painting and scrounging is not your thing, you can purchase something similar at your local hardware or big box store for $20 to $30.
I mounted one high on the wall for my husband and me and the other is the right height for the kids. The important thing to remember is to screw your rack into the studs in the wall. Coats are heavy!
DIY Rock Tray for Snowy and Muddy Boots = $9
This is the place to store wet, dirty boots. It helps them to dry while also keeping the mess off the floor. The water and dirt filter through the rocks to the tray as the snow melts. It couldn’t be simpler! I used a large baking tray ($5) purchased at Big Lots and filled it with four bags of river rocks ($4) from the dollar store. When boots are dry, the tray slips under the shelf until we need it again. I love it!
Creating a back door mudroom doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. I created my back door mudroom for a total of $52. If I had needed to purchase coat racks, it would have been slightly more.
Having a place for the dirty boots and winter coats goes a long way toward reducing the dirt in the house and keeping the mess under control. As an added bonus, my family always knows where to find their shoes, making getting ready to leave the house so much simpler.
Jaimie is a homesteading and homeschooling mom of two boys. She enjoys cooking, organizing, and reading stories to her family by lantern light. She and her husband write articles for their website http://anamericanhomestead.com/ and make videos for their YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/AnAmericanHomestead, sharing their adventures in homesteading and off-grid living.