How To Make A Fully Functional Kids’ Mudroom {in a teensy closet}

We are blessed to have a hallway closet right near the door we always use to enter and exit our home, so this space is designated as the kids’ shoe closet. It is gloriously functional to have such a conveniently located space dedicated to their shoes, coats, backpacks, gloves, lunchboxes, etc… It’s like an entire mudroom packed into an itty bitty, less than 28” x 25” space.

01 mudroom in a closet before

But—oh my—it looks to have gotten a little out of hand. And while the kids don’t seem to mind fishing their shoes out of the mound of footwear, my back-to-school organizational sweep of the house demanded that this closet get a thorough shake down!

02 mudroom in a closet the sort

So I pulled out every last pair of shoes and sorted them into six piles:

*one pile each for the kids’ shoes that fit

*a pile of shoes that no longer fit (or will fit anyone) that we can pass along to friends

*a pile of shoes (just two pairs, thankfully) of shoes in such sorry disrepair that the only humane thing to do is chuck them in the garbage

*a hand-me-down pile that Big Bro’s grown out of, but Li’l Bro might one day use (this will be stored in the attic in a labeled tub with Big Bro’s outgrown clothes)

Then, since the shoe closet looked as though it had gathered up every bit of dust and dirt from all those shoes, I gave it a good sweep.

03 mudroom in a closet finding solutions

Next, I looked for an inexpensive solution for the shoe mayhem. For a hunt like this, take a few measurements before you leave the house and carry a tape measure & sketch when you shop. First, I hit a couple of dollar stores to see if they had tubs to fit the bill. I was hoping for three oblong plastic tubs (for each of our three kids to have one tub). But I struck out at the dollar stores: the tubs were just too small.

04 mudroom in a closet drawers

Although not as cheap as a few dollar store buckets, I found an even better solution at WalMart for $18. It’s a three-drawer rolling cart (I left off the casters… but I bet I’ll use them for another project!).

05 mudroom in a closet after

And it even offers a perfect shelf for the boys’ lunchboxes.

06  mudroom in a closet hooks before

The lunchboxes used to hang on the boys’ backpack hooks on the inside of the door, so it was nice to have a new, better slot for them because one hook had a hard time holding a backpack, a lunchbox, and a coat.

07 mudroom in a closet  hooks after

I also moved the command hooks over and up a bit (since the boys are getting taller and their backpacks are getting bigger–*sniff*), and I added a second hook for each boy (one each for backpack and an everyday coat).

08  mudroom in a closet top shelf and coats

Then, we moved onward and upward. I pulled out every coat that wasn’t labeled the right size. Some might still fit, but I’ll have the kids try them on to be sure.

09  mudroom in a closet cleaned out coats

Wow, and that ended up being every single coat for every child. OUCH. I am hoping several from the three “try on” piles still fit! When the coats do go back in, I will sort them by weather, not by child (so it’s easy to grab three winter coats on cold days, three rain slickers on rainy days, etc.). The top shelf holds a seasonal tub of winter gloves and hats and a pair of Li’l Bro’s snow boots.

10 mudroom in a closet  photo labels

Of course, we needed a finishing touch. Each of the kids has his or her own drawer, so I labeled them each with a photo. Ahhhh, much better!

As kids head back to school, it’s great to have a central location—especially like this mini mudroom tucked into a closet–where all the kids’ shoes, backpacks, and coats are easy to find (and easy to put away themselves)! Wheeeee!


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12 responses to “How To Make A Fully Functional Kids’ Mudroom {in a teensy closet}

    • Thanks, Diane! I get a huge “pay-off” when I can help our family run in a more organized manner, help encourage kid responsibility, and do it all for very little money! YAY! Thanks for coming back here after reading to share your encouragement!!


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  6. Question…I have had some of those drawers before, and find that when they are filled with heavy things, they don’t open and close well. Did you find this with the shoes? I love the idea and in a search to find a solution!


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