Creating a Mud Room—even if you don’t have one.

How to Create a Mudroom in the Hall ClosetOur next house will have a mud room. Even if the kids have to live in a tent in the backyard.


I’m not a shoes-in-the-house person. I just feel more comfortable with my shoes off, and it seems that the kids prefer to be barefoot even in the middle of winter. I don’t ask that guests remove their shoes, although many do when they notice that ours are off. Our home is primarily wood flooring now, but our last 2 houses had off-white carpeting throughout, and the shoes-off policy really helped to keep the carpeting looking fresh and clean.

The challenge with this habit is shoe storage.

Most people house shoes in their closets—and we do have some in there, too— but the shoes that are kicked off at the front entry or in the garage need to go somewhere.

So we have shoe stations. I keep a basket on the front porch for shoes, we keep our everyday shoes in the hall closet, and some of the heavier outdoor shoes in the garage. The nice shoes are housed in the bedroom closets. garage-shoes

One of our other really cool things (thanks to my father-in-law!) is the garage kid sweatshirt-and-jacket rack. I was getting annoyed at how the kids would open the hall closet door and throw their sweatshirt or jacket inside then shut the door, hoping that I wouldn’t notice.

I noticed.

An easy solution would be to mount a few hooks on the back of the closet door kid-height, or to attach a wire extender thingy to the jacket hook thingy that we already have on the back of the door.

Instead, I did something even better. I asked my father-in-law to make a coat rack out of some PVC pipe at kid-height to keep in the garage. I LOVE it. The bar is 4 feet wide, and it’s 3 feet tall. For extra support, insert a wooden dowel into the pipe (Adam says it’s  3/4 inch-wide PVC). The kids now have no choice but to hang up their coats (because I’m terribly mean and make them), and I love it that since it’s in the garage the clothing can still be hung if slightly damp from fog or rain.

What do you do in your home? Are you a shoes-in-the-house person?

Make a Coat Rack out of PVC Pipe for Kid Jackets



  1. HAHAHA!!! We live in the country. Usually, we are barefoot…but I am the WORST about remembering to take my shoes off as I enter the house. I am trying to be better about it, but it hasn’t really happened yet! Yet, all of our shoes end up by our back door, which is the entry door we use most in the living room, where we usually are! We always had tons of shoes piled up near the back door. (We are lazy, I know!) Sooo, David recently built me this storage bench. We can sit on it, it has three lids across the top that all open, and shoes can be tossed inside easily. Finding our shoes (the right one AND the left one from the same pair) can sometimes be a challenge, but they usually stay off the floor.

    Besides, we can’t have EVERYTHING we want, right?

    I also want a mud room in my next house!

  2. Your bench sounds lovely! “Finding our shoes (the right one AND the left one from the same pair) can sometimes be a challenge…” us too. I’ve totally left the house with one brown and one black clog on. 🙂
    xoxo steph

  3. Shoes in the house? NO WAY! We learned that living in Asia. And, we love it! And, I do ask guest to take them off (of course this usually isn’t necessary, they notice our bare feet, too :). It helps keep our floors so much cleaner.

    Now, if I could just get the dog to wipe her paws at the door!!

  4. I’m lucky to get my daughter to wear shoes OUTSIDE, let alone in the house. My husband and I, on the other hand, tend to keep them on. I don’t like cold feet!

  5. I prefer bare feet, and leave my shoes in the entry. Most people take their shoes off when they see that mine are off. But DH always wears his in the house!

  6. It’s funny, I ALWAYS kick my shoes off when I get in the house, but my son, who is 2, wants his shoes on ALL THE TIME. We have to debate with him for him to be barefoot when he’s in his jammies.

    I think I need a downstairs shoe station to justify my habit of leaving my shoes all over the downstairs. Officially they all live in the bedroom closet, and occasionally I do a shoe round-up and take them up there. But then I just get mad when I don’t have any shoes downstairs that I can slip on.

  7. LOL…I just found out this can be a controversial subject when I posted the same thing on my blog a couple of weeks ago. Here in Canada (in my neck of the woods anyway) it goes without saying that shoes are off. It is very disrespectful for anyone to keep shoes on. Plus I can’t even imagine all that extra work of cleaning the mess up!

  8. We have a old pew type seat that my father in law made in the corridor near our front door. When you open the seat bottom there is a storage box underneath and that is where we keep our shoes. Looks pretty and is functional, plus handy for the children to sit on when I’m helping them tie shoelaces.

    Baskets outside to keep shoes in would freak me out – same for storage of shoes or clothing in the garage. They’d end up as home for spiders or snakes or other nasty aussie critters.

  9. Hi Stephanie,
    I love this post. We are city dwellers and live in a 2nd floor walk up that is about 800 square feet. My husband is incredibly smart when it comes to storage space and proactive about turning out of season things over. So, sandals and boots only appear in our living space when they are appropriate and are otherwise packed in bins in the basement. We have one hallway and it it we place a 3 ft long bench with a hinged compartment that we bought at a Mill Store. We keep all of our in season every day shoes in there and my daughter (who is 2 1/2) has a basket in her room which is easier for her to access on her own. One problem with the bench is that we used to just drop our bags on it, making it “too hard” to put the shoes away. Recently, Scott installed hooks above the bench so we each have a place to hang our “school bag.”

  10. I definitely want a mudroom in my next house! Right now we have a “shoe shelf” in the front hall where we each keep 1-2 pair of shoes. Otherwise, shoes stay in the bedroom closets. We tend to be shoe-off people, though I don’t ask my guests to do so.

  11. I love my house but the one thing I have always wanted is a mudroom. It was on the wishlist when we last house-hunted–15 years ago but was one of the things that was compromised on. We do have a good sized entryway with a 4 x 6 rug by the door. Every family member is allowed to have 2 pairs of shoes on the edge of the rug (behind the door). It gets out of hand occasionally but all it takes is a reminder. Backpacks and sports bags are lined up back there also. We used to have a cedar chest along one wall but it became a dumping ground for everything and the wall behind it (the first thing you saw when you entered our house) became battered. I’ve redecorated and moved the chest to remedy that problem. I’ve come to accept that it’s just the way my cluttered entryway is a sign of an active and happy family. My daughter has left for college and my son will be gone in a couple of years and I know I’ll miss the clutter then.

  12. I’m suddenly extra-happy to only have boys. They have one pair each of runners and seasonal shoes out at a time that fit nicely on the closet rack. The out-of-season pairs are stored on a rack in the basement (if there are no holes and I think they will fit ever again). Sports shoes go in the appropriate sports bag.

    I have more shoes than the rest of the family combined, but even they fit into the entry closet. It is the books, magazines, knitting, hockey sticks. and baseball gloves that cause the problems!

  13. We are a no shoes in the house family…and even ask most guests to remove their shoes! I love the idea of a basket, as even with a mud room and foyer and foyer closet, shoes still seem to be all over the place (and that is just with 2 adults and 1 one year old. Thanks for the great tips!

  14. We do wear shoes in our home much to my dismay. We have a mat on the carpet next to the door that I attempt to make the family use. The one thing that I do have that works though is a over the door shoe holder in our front closet. We each have our own row and we put our mittens, scarves, hats in. There is 2 extra rows that we put the dog leash, extra collars and things like headphones and ipods that aren’t charging. It works great and we love it. In summer I put every ones row of mittens and hats in there own glad bag and store in a box for the next season. In the summer we put each kids different summer accessories such as sunscreen, goggles, flip flops, bug spray.

  15. I guess it is all a matter of the culture or family customs you are raised with. I was rarely barefoot as a child unless I was outside; I was taught that, inside the house, civilized people wear shoes. As an adult, I sometimes go barefoot in my own house, but I feel compelled to cover my feet if anyone who isn’t very close to me comes over. I was raised in a fairly conservative and monied community with old-fashioned parents who also considered it appalling to eat in the living room, wear jeans to church, eat with your fingers, or leave the dining room table without excusing yourself.

    I have since gotten used to the fact that other people were raised differently and can (mostly) ignore it when someone takes off their shoes in my house. But I will admit that I was horrified the first time a casual friend kicked off shoes in my house (both because it seemed to be crossing a boundary, and because it made me wonder how much dirt from my floors would appear on their socks!!). Now, I manage to only cringe internally, and ask that shoes are at least put somewhere out of the way.

    I just thought I’d throw out a different perspective, since everyone seemed to be so much on the same page about this – and it surprised me a little to see that!

  16. We are all usually barefoot around here, but we live in Florida so it is to be expected. Shoes are a constant source of frustration… tripping over them and not being able to find them. I would like to be able to blame the kids, but it’s me. I haven’t found or created the perfect solution just yet, but it is incredibly comforting to know that I am not alone in this! haha. I have several places that I will kick my shoes off around the house, which means that we play “let’s find mommy’s shoes” a lot. I do, however, also have a nice big basket that I am never sure what to do with, and I think it is going to find a new home in the front hallway…. for shoes. Maybe if I actually HAVE a place to put them, they will make it there….

    I am glad that you posted this because it has brought me peace. I am very easily influenced at times, and another “very good but didn’t work for me” website about cleaning and organizing had a rule about always wearing shoes… so I always feel like I am breaking the rules when I go barefoot. You have just given me permission to be free of that rule! Thank you for that! It’s silly, I know, but it’s me. haha.


  17. Oh, the other thing I forgot to mention is to wonder how you all go about asking guests to remove their shoes, and what you would do if they didn’t feel comfortable with that. Honestly, if someone I didn’t know well asked me to remove my shoes in their home, I would be embarrassed, and would probably suddenly remember an appointment somewhere else and leave. (And yes, I realize that they do have the right to set the standards for their own house; but I also have the right to feel uncomfortable with that request and to leave.) Part of why I would feel uncomfortable is my upbringing, and the fact that I see that as very informal conduct that is inappropriate in front of someone I don’t know well. But part of it is also that my feet have some really unattractive scars on them that I don’t really want to show off. (And a host who doesn’t know me well would have no way of knowing this.) So – I’m curious – what do you all who have this rule do if someone does seem uncomfortable with the request?

  18. That’s a very good question, Christina. I haven’t had that experience first-hand, but I believe that as a hostess, my responsibility would be to have my guest feel comfortable. If he/she weren’t to remove shoes, I wouldn’t ask again, or press the issue. I’m pretty laid back about this kind of thing, but if it really bothered me, I would suggest meeting at a park, coffee house, etc. the next time we got together rather than stew about shoes.
    xoxo steph

  19. I’ve always been a barefoot kinda gal – free your feet and your mind will follow! If I’m stressed, my first step to chillin’ out is to check if I have shoes on. Must be genetic because if my 7 month old is crabby, I just have to slip her feet out of her clothes and she immediately starts smiling and coo-ing.

    We don’t wear shoes on the carpets in the house, but if we’re just stepping in onto the kitchen linoleum, we don’t take off our shoes. We have a large coat closet with shoe shelves in it to house our collections of footwear.

    I don’t ever ask a guest to take their shoes off. I think it is a hostess’ job to make guests feel comfortable and welcome. If they happen to ask if they should take their shoes off, I say if they want to but it’s not required.

  20. We decided to renovate our old laundry room and double the size by taking some of the outdoor deck. We ended up putting in what looks like a kindergarden classroom with a wall of 5 “cubbies”. There is a place to put shoes on the bottom, a hook for backpacks and coats, and an upper cubbie for things not needed everyday. Next to that are big built in bins to sort colored and light landry with a dowel above to hand clothes to dry. LOVE it! When we have guests we clear out of one of them and let the guests have their own cubbie!

  21. We are shoes-off in the house, though guests can choose for themselves. Unfortunately we live in a 800-sq-ft apartment with a normal (tiny) closet by the front door, a wall a/c unit (with a huge plug) right by the door as well, just where a nice storage bench should go.

    So we have a small set of shelves as close to the door as can be, which holds our hat basket and all our shoes. Rain and snow boots have ended up lined up in the tiny entrance space right by the door, where there is tile instead of carpet. Our challenge is also the need for so many shoes at once: school sneakers, snow boots, church shoes, etc. Plus the lack of child-friendly places to hang up coats (don’t get me started on snow bibs!). We have some beautiful wood peg sets for hanging up coats, but they’d make our already tiny entrance way too crowded.

    I’m just waiting for summer, when most of this will be a non-issue! And I swear, no matter where we are living, when we finally buy a house we WILL have a mudroom!

  22. I love reading through all of your entries and then comments. There are so many perspectives out there and this seems to be a forum where people can speak their minds without being judged. Thanks for managing this site Stephanie!!

  23. We are a no-shoes house. And we were very lucky when we moved into this house nine years ago that the person who lived here before us had a shelf-building passion. There is a four-tiered shelf right next to the garage door that we most commonly use coming in and out of the house. Before my step-daughter moved out, there were four of use living here and each of us had space for all of our shoes (plus some drip trays for the wet or snowy months).

    The previous owner also left behind the biggest swingset you can imagine, amazingly well constructed. And you should *see* the shelves in the basement. Never met the guy, but I sure would like to than him!

  24. You must live in a mild climate. In areas that have hard core winters, hanging coats in the garage would make children cry! We do have a mud room w/coat hooks and the kids still pre-warm their coats, mittens and boots in the kitchen before putting them on in the winter. It would be too painful otherwise!

  25. You’re right, Jane, we do! We live in CA, where we begin complaining when the temp dips into the 50s. We’re complete light-weights…

  26. I am a shoes off-season but my husband is not. He keeps one pair on his feet and about five on the shoe rack by the door (though he is not always the one to put them there). I have never seen a guy with so many shoes and coats. I tried getting him slippers but that hasn’t worked out. It is hard for me because all he tracks in and I imagine what might be coming in unseen (like germs).How do you get a shoe wearer to become a shoes off person?

  27. Hi Cassandra, hmmm. idle threats? 😉 I’m not sure — if slippers are a no, would he change shoes a la Mr Rogers? or you could point out how disgusting male restrooms are, and ask if he really wants the kids crawling around in that kind of stuff…

  28. I was thinking the same thing. I live in south Florida where not only northerners come south but all critters live here too. The only thing is that the critters never leave!

  29. I was raised pretty much the same way. I walk around my house with shoes off most the time but when company comes, I go grab my shoes. I was raised to NOT take my shoes off in someone’s house. It was bad manners. As an adult, traveling overseas has made me ask what todo with my shoes at the door. Yes, I usually observe because I get crazy looks.
    Own daughter and I live out of our shoes and the other prefers shoes on like her grandmother. I like the shoes at the door idea and my one daughter would love that but still not sure………..

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