When we built our house over a decade ago, we created a little mud room space in the pass-through entrance from the garage. It had a long bench, open shelving, and cubbies below. Sounds perfect, right? Well, for some mysterious reason, over the years it became the spot in the house that always felt disorganized, and my countless attempts to get it in order with baskets and bins never seemed to stick. I needed some major mudroom organization ideas, STAT.

Here’s the challenge: whenever any of my family members walk in the door, they throw everything down: backpacks, lunch boxes, coats, hats, sunglasses, shopping bags, empty Starbucks cups – you name it, it gets tossed in this spot. The overhead shelves we’d installed were too high for the kids to reach, and the 6 hooks that I’d hung above the bench only held, well, six items. Which didn’t really cut it. So when it came time to prioritize areas of the house for our mini remodel last year, I knew that the mudroom was one area I wanted to whip into shape. I asked the California Closets team, who I’ve been working with on our closets and pantry, if they could help with the mudroom too, and of course, they had a solution.

Considering that it’s the first thing many people see when they enter our homes, it’s funny that many of us put our entryways last on the priority lists. It’s not until the packages are piled up, the shoes are scattered, and the keys are missing that we finally realize that this one area of our house could be making our lives so much better. And with the right organization system, it can look beautiful, too.

Think getting this space right is as simple as buying a console table or hanging a few hooks? Think again. The ideal mud room is one that fits both the space and your lifestyle. Keep reading for 8 mudroom organization ideas that will have yours looking better than ever, and the California Closets-designed mudroom that makes me happy every time I arrive home.

Determine your entryway needs.

The first step is simply asking yourself: what do I need? If cubbies, hooks, baskets and benches sound like just what the doctor ordered, nothing is more functional than a mudroom for a family on the go. All that’s needed to bring this look into your own home is an empty wall and just enough depth to allow for some built-in storage.

I personally wanted tall cabinets with doors that would conceal everything out of site. Yes, some families have only chic scarves, jackets, and straw sunsets that look beautiful displayed on visible wall hooks. We are not one of those families (haha.) I knew that we needed some mudroom organization ideas to conceal all our stuff.

My California Closets designer went floor-to-ceiling with our cabinets so that there was plenty of room for both overhead storage and cubbies under the hanging space. It’s super efficient – those shelves below hold sunglasses, sports equipment, and other items we frequently need to grab as we’re heading out the door.

Create zones for each person.

This has been game-changing for our entryway. Each member of the family has their own designated hooks for outerwear and backpacks, plus their own shoe drawer. There’s just something about having a specific spot earmarked for each item per person that keeps things next-level organized, and that’s certainly been true for us. There’s a reason why Montessori classrooms are so tidy all the time…

This is a great shot to point out the lighting inside our cabinets. I’ll be honest, I may not have thought that interior cabinet lighting was necessary here… until I saw it in action. It was included in my California Closets design, and the difference is night and day (pun intended) — especially when we’re all grabbing iPads and winter gear in the early pre-school hours, having everything illuminated is key.

Make room for a bench.

Rest on it while you put on your shoes, or drop your handbag on top of it. Either way, a narrow, low-profile bench will always come in handy next to a highly-trafficked home entrance. If you don’t have a full organization system like this one, a cool wood bench is the perfect decorative (and affordable) piece of furniture to grace an entryway.

Stash shoes in lower storage.

If your family is like mine, it’s inevitable: shoes will get kicked off the moment my kids walk in the door. A major key to keeping this thoroughfare clear is to have an easy spot to stash shoes — and easy is the key word here, since that’s the only way it’ll actually get used. Our answer? Deep, roomy drawers – one for each member of the family (except me — I keep my shoes in my own closet, thankyouverymuch.) Not only is it an easy way to corral shoes; it also ensures that everyone’s shoes are ready and waiting during the mad dash to get to school.

Personalize it.

In such a functional space, one or two thoughtful, pretty touches go a long way. This is a great spot for a bulletin board, a big plant, or a vintage runner. Each adds character to the space without sacrificing the clean, organized vibes.

Hooks or Hanging Rods?

For us, the ideal answer was “both!” Since we had quite a bit of room to work with, my ideal setup allowed for me and Adam to hang our heavier coats on a hanging rod so they’d be easy to grab in the winter; and not take up precious closet space in the summer. And since I knew it wasn’t realistic to expect my kids to hang their jackets on actual hangers (let’s be real), I knew hooks would be a better system for them. California Closets designed a system with one tall cabinet on the right side that’s deep enough to hold a full size hanging rod for the grown-ups. The left side has plenty of hooks for the kids to hang outerwear, backpacks, lunchboxes, and tote bags. Which equals zero excuses for anyone not to hang up their stuff!

Use overhead space wisely.

If you really want to max out the efficiency in your space, your mudroom organization ideas should consider both high and low storage. Our tall overhead compartments are too tall to reach without a step stool, so they’re the perfect spot for things that we want to keep on-hand but out-of-sight. We have a big basket of pool towels, sunscreen, other backyard stuff. Another basket holds out-of-season outdoor gear like mittens, hats, and scarves.

Have a catch-all.

Even though I honestly have all the storage here I need, there are still the inevitable odds-and-ends that get dropped on the bench when my family walks in the door. Things that I want out-of-sight, but I may not have time to organize or put away in the moment. Think: library books, masks (sooo many masks), random toys, lip balm. You get the gist. Enter, the huge structured woven bag that I keep sitting on the bench. Not only does it add a pretty decor element; it’s the perfect place to toss random items into, then I cover it all up with a faux sheepskin. On the weekend, I walk around with the bag and make everyone put their own randomness away.

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Thank you to our partner California Closets for bringing my mudroom organization dreams to life! 

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