Sometimes the success of one project (such as finally replacing a shade in a bathroom) can lead to another successful project, such as tackling a this-is-not-working mudroom.
Here's the mudroom Before:
There are hooks along the left wall, and stackable-cube-unit shelves/drawers/cubbies along the right. The door to outside is directly to the right. (The blue splotch at lower right is a bag of reusable bags hanging on the doorknob.)
This plan was good in theory: each child has a hook, and then the cubbies are used for things that don't hang on hooks (boots, bike helmets, etc.) and for things someone might need to rummage for (there's a drawer of hats, a drawer of gloves, a pile of spare lunch boxes, etc.).
The problem with this set-up was that it made the mudroom too narrow to comfortably walk in---and then there's stuff on the floor too because the children are slobs who don't listen, and that makes things even worse. And the cubbies went too close to the door, so it was awkward to go in and out. And people kept putting stuff on top of the cubbies, because that area was right there when people had their hands full. And the cubbies were mostly near the floor, which in a narrow area makes them really hard to get to. And yay, it's the first thing people see when they come into the house, so that's pleasant.
The first step was to take everything out:
I left the stuff on the hooks, because I wasn't planning to do anything with those; and I left the stuff on the windowsill, because that wasn't the day's project.
This took a million years, and revealed spiders. It also made this mess in the dining room:
I sorted things into piles as I went: a pile of boots, a pile of lunch boxes, a pile of umbrellas, etc. I also wiped down the cubby things.
I got rid of some stuff: bike helmets and sandals that didn't fit anyone anymore, a couple of semi-broken umbrellas, miscellaneous trash that had fallen behind the cubbies. I didn't try to go through the hats and gloves in the drawers, because ONE THING AT A TIME.
I relocated some stuff: bin of sandals to a downstairs closet, EXTRA extra lunch boxes to another closet, gardening/potting stuff with the rest of the gardening/potting stuff, winter boots to a couple of boot trays I'd bought recently and hadn't made anyone use yet, lightweight jackets to hangers in the coat closet.
Then I put some of the cube units back in. But I put them on the far wall instead of on the side wall, and I built them higher (three cubes high instead of two cubes high) so we wouldn't have to stoop as much to rummage in the drawers.
One downside is that now we see the contents of the cubbies head-on. That will be even more of a problem in several microseconds, when they get all jumbled/crammed instead of being tidy. But there it is: it wasn't working to have them sideways-so-we-can't-see-the-contents, because as it turned out, that meant we couldn't see the contents.
Another downside is that it's fewer cubbies. But quite a few cubbies were being used for things we didn't really need in the mudroom. Yes, it is good to have spare lunch boxes where we can find them quickly when we realize 10 minutes before the bus comes that one has been left at school, but do we need SIX spare lunch boxes within easy reach? No, we do not. Yes, it is handy to have all the sandals in one bin, but do we need them stored in the mudroom year-'round? No, we do not.
The next step will be to put more hooks on the right-hand wall. For one thing, having the cubbies at the end (even with them shoved to the right instead of centered) means that Henry's hook area is squashed. For another thing, we need more hooks: each child's hook situation has not been sufficient for each child's hook-related possessions. It would also be nice to have a hook for my own coat and purse, and another for Paul's coat, and another hook or two for guests.
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