Ok, who’s ready to get cleaning? AAAAhhhhh! Spring is here, finally…I think. Well, the calendar claims a week now, so let’s get busy!
My project this week was the mudroom. Eeww, the mudroom! It was the dirtiest, so I wanted to start there first so that I felt like I accomplished something.
Here’s the deal with the mudroom: It is the first place we step when we walk in from our garage. It is the land of muddy boots, snowy mittens, book bags, hats, coats, umbrellas, shoes that fit, shoes that don’t fit, snow pants, sandals, beach hats…well, you get the picture. Maybe yours is similar. We also tend to throw anything that we carry in onto the floor when we walk in or onto the table that sits there - things like mail, paperwork, bags from the store. Ugh, just everything. I had to get it in order.So, of course, I thought I would share with you as well! Maybe, give you a bit of motivation? :) I am waving my pom-poms and doing cartwheels just for you! LOL! (Oh, gosh, that would be a sight!)
Here are the steps I found to be most useful when cleaning out a mudroom:
1. WHAT DO YOU HAVE? First, I had to empty everything out to see what I had. I was a bit scared. But, I was still home recovering from surgery, so I had a day to do it in between feeding kids, naps, laundry, dishes…well, life!
So, I pulled everything out of the closets and off the walls, emptied the bins and laid it all out on the floor. I can say that a bit of panic and anxiety may set in when you try this at home. I had all SORTS of junk hiding in there! Just take a few breaths and chant “I can do this” over and over again! J Here’s a photo of mine just to make you feel better!
2. THE WALLS – Oh goodness, the walls! If you have a family like mine, the walls are used to balance yourself when putting on your shoes, they are used as a jungle gym for your 3-year-old and they are used to bounce hockey pucks off when your kids are playing hockey IN the house! Our mudroom walls USED to be yellow. They were now a lovely shade of “bumble bee”! Black streaks everywhere!
I honestly have used soap and water to clean walls, but this time I was reaching for my magic eraser. I wasn’t fooling around! I knew it would work well and remove most of the stains. If only it could fill in the holes in the drywall from smashing the door against the wall when we first were moving in...beggars can't be choosers...
Here is the "after" photo of what the magic eraser did for me!
You can get a bunch of them sent to you through Amazon or Walmart pretty cheap and they are worth it!
3. THE FLOORS – After you do the walls, you are definitely going to want to do the floors! All of the dust flying around from the walls lands here. And, you want to get rid of it before you move everything back in. Make sure you vacuum and mop…don’t forget the base boards!
4. WHAT’S THE POINT? So, once the mudroom is ready to be filled again, you need to figure out what it’s true purpose is. What do you want to go back in there? Is it used for anything other than storing your outdoor clothing and shoes? Do you have adequate space for everything you want to put back in? Here is what I decided for ours:
a. It had to house our outdoor clothing as well as our shoes for both seasons. I decided that it would hold all of my stuff as well as my 3 kids’. My husband has his own hall closet that has his hunting/fishing/manly gear, so he could keep most of his stuff there. Still, 4 of us had to share this closet.
b. It had to hold the every-day essentials as far as grab-and-go items, mainly bags. My daughter’s book bag for school had to go somewhere as well as my son’s bag for his preschool and my baby’s diaper bag. These needed to be handy and had to go here.
c. The last thing I needed was a place to put incoming/outgoing mail and papers as well as the notes for school that had to be filled out for days my daughter had appointments or became a “walker” at school. I also wanted to keep a place there for the “Box Tops for Education” we save for her school. Everything else had to go!
5. STORAGE – Now that you know what you want to put into the mudroom, do you have adequate storage and a place for everything? I knew I needed a place for the mail that I mentioned before. I also didn’t have a place for the book bags other than hanging them on a coatrack. The other issue I had was the hassle of getting out and putting away mittens easily for the kiddos. My fix:
a. I bought a clear, plastic mail organizer to hang on the wall in the mudroom.
b. I bought 2 unfinished wooden crates from Joann.com to hang on the wall to help out with storage for the bags…I just knew that we’d be crawling over them on the floor forever if I didn’t!
c. I scrounged around for something to keep our mittens and hats in that the kids could easily access. I was done having them throw their things on the floor because they were too busy to open the closet door and put them away! I found a few matching baskets that would work perfectly!
6. KEEP, DONATE OR TRASH? Now that you know what you want to put into the mudroom, you have to make sure you actually NEED what you are putting back in. The task now is to sort through all of the “stuff” and really ask yourself if it is worth keeping. I think the easiest way to tackle this is to start with one item, let’s say “shoes” since there were so many! I looked at EACH pair and gave myself 5 seconds to decide whether to keep, donate or trash them. I have to say that there were SEVERAL pairs I trashed. I was slightly surprised that I had held onto them this long!
The other thing that will be helpful is when you are deciding to “keep” something, make sure it is clean. If you need to wipe it down or throw it in the laundry, do that right then so that you aren’t bringing dirty items back into the mudroom.
7. LOAD ‘ER UP! Once you have sorted through all of your items, it is time to start bringing them back in and organizing them. Aaahhhh. Make sure you find a system that works for you. Make kids’ item “easy-access” and at their eye-level so that they will be more inclined to pick up after themselves when they enter or need something.
Reload section by section. Start with shoes, then maybe hats and mittens, etc. Make sure you have all of the like-items done before moving onto the next. In no time, it will be finished!
8. REMAINING ITEMS that didn’t make the final cut for the mudroom need to be put into a new place. Chances are, they already have a place and they were just shoved there for lack of time or energy to put them away. Well, at least I hope that is the reason because that was mine! LOL! J I found myself putting away shoes that my son hasn’t worn in over a year – they went into the “baby” bins down in the basement for the next boy of the family! I also found a kite, a yo-yo, a hockey puck (surprise!) and a bunch of coins! OK, I found a bunch more things, but I can’t let you know how really messy it was! But if I can do it in a day, you can, too! I did it in about half-hour increments and just decided to live with the mess all day until it was done.
Here’s the final outcome:
Each of us had a pair of shoes out (right now it’s boots). The shoes dry on the mat and then if we don’t wear them the next day, they go back in the closet. We also have a place for each child’s bag and a basket for their mittens and hats that they can easily access. The two oldest have eye-level coat hangers and there are 4 other ones for the rest of us and our guests. (Each one holds 2 or 3 coats)
In our hanging file, there is a slot for incoming mail that we can just dump it in when we walk in the door instead of throwing on the table or the kitchen counter. We also have the outbound mail to go into the mailbox, and a slot for school notes and boxtops.
I whittled down our coat collection by about 1/3 (CRAZY!) and hung them up nicely. I also organized all of our shoes and folded the snow suits and placed them overhead in the closet. Wow.
I also had made this crazy key holder out of a canvas from Joann.com and some paint and mug hooks from Walmart. This was really fun and it is personalized to our family. I LOVE having the keys all in one place!
I hated every minute of cleaning, but it was so worth it! Give it a try, just hang in there!
Check out my other Spring Cleaning posts!