Mudroom Bookcase Trick
Ha! We don’t really have a mudroom. Our house has a nice foyer halfway between the ground floor and the basement. It has a nicely sized closet, too, and we tend to own a little less stuff than most people, so you might think the closet would do the job… But.
But we’re four. And we all have winter coats, and rain coats, and snow boots, and rain boots, and sandals, and sports shoes, and flip flops, and caps, and tuques, and mittens, and scarves, and snow pants, and gloves, and ski goggles, and and and… and try as I may, I can’t get the kids (and Frank!) to hang their coat in the closet.
Enter the bookcase. It’s an old bookcase from when I was a kid. It’s not especially pretty, it doesn’t even have equally-spaced shelves, but it’s sturdy and painted white (over an old fake-wood look). Once turned on its side, with a hook screwed in the back, it provides 4 locker-style spaces.
I added wire baskets from the dollar store on the side, each held on 2 hooks. These are useful for mittens, hats and scarves: they keep air flowing around those items, helping them stay dry.
Each kid has 2 “lockers” for coat and pants (although Frank often borrows a locker) and a basket for everyday things; spare mittens are stored out of the way in the big closet. Boots fit underneath, which helps with overall tidiness. I like that there’s no bench under the hooks (like our previous setup), since the kids are now older and their pants can hang all the way down.
We’ve actually used this setup for a full season. I figured we would test with the bookcase before building a more serious piece of furniture with this layout. Which is why we never even fixed it to the wall (I know… wrong, wrong!)… but we’ve had no problem with it. This old bookcase is heavy enough not to wiggle too much and the kids are old enough not to pull on the bookcase.
The paint wasn’t nick-free to start with, and it gained a few more nicks along the way, but so far it’s not as bad as I was expecting. The bottom of the lockers does get brownish with mud, but a good part of it comes off with a good wash.
In short, if you don’t have space for a formal mudroom, a bookcase on its side does a great job at picking up the slack from your official closet.