...because home doesn't happen overnight.

This is the second post in a series I’m devoting to all things closets. {You can see the first here.} Since downsizing and adding another person to our family, the majority of questions I receive have to do with how we edit / where we keep our belongings. Today, I’m sharing one of two wardrobes in our mudroom / dining room.

wardrobe 1

Our mudroom doubles as a dining room and triples as a laundry room. It is directly accessed from the garage and backyard so it is a natural dumping zone for outerwear, shoes, backpacks, mail, deliveries, etc. Having a designated place for everything is essential.

wardrobe 2

We added a pair of freestanding wardrobes to the closet-less room. One acts as an everyday coat closet while the other holds less frequently used items. {To avoid a too lengthy post, I’m discussing them in separate posts.} Most mudrooms utilize open cubbies or shelves but I wanted ample closed storage so that when we we’re eating meals in here it doesn’t feel like we’re eating in a mudroom. Which, in reality, we are. The PAX wardrobes are from IKEA and the great thing about them is that they can be customized with a range of organizational add-ons. From the outside, a pair or trio look identical but open them up and the possibilities are endless.

wardrobe 6

wardrobe 4

We added hanging rods at adult and kid heights. Not only does the lower rod make it easier for the kids to hang up their coats, but it also utilizes what is normally wasted space under a single rod. The kids’ rod doesn’t extend the full width of the wardrobe to allow for tall cleaning tools. The higher rod holds mine and HH’s coats, reusable shopping bags and my apron.

We upgraded to matching wooding hangers. The hangers are sturdy enough for heavy coats and keep hanging items from becoming one huge tangled mess.

wardrobe 7

wardrobe 5

We utilize baskets for bulky and loose items. Hats, gloves, scarves and ear warmers are kept in baskets on the top shelf. A woven basket at the bottom of the wardrobe holds the broom, Bona mop, and umbrellas. This helps to keep the bottom of the wardrobe from becoming dirty. A plastic laundry basket corrals swim gear, athletic bags and the kids’ bulky cold weather vests.

We rotate seasonal items. In an effort to make the most of limited closet space in the bedrooms, we keep all seasonal wear in this wardrobe and out of the bedrooms. Winter wear, swimsuits and swim gear is all in here, all the time. {The exception is snow suits. They hang on a rod in the garage.} I bring whatever we’re using at the moment to the forefront and slip the out-of-season garb to the back.

wardrobe hook

We have a designated spot elsewhere in the room for items currently in use. There is a trio of double hooks and a floor basket next to the back door for backpacks, outerwear, shoes and bags that we use on a daily basis. These items may change day to day depending on what we have going on. In the summer, you will find our swim bag and flip flops here. During the school year, this space is loaded with backpacks, jackets and shoes. I have a rule that each person gets to keep one item from each genre out in the open. One bag, one coat, one pair of shoes, etc. This keeps clutter from getting out of control and taking over the dining table.

We keep shoes out of the wardrobes. Something that has really helped us make the most of our closet space is keeping shoes out of closets. The same goes for this wardrobe. We have a shoe rack in the garage, a shoe basket next to the back door and a shoe cabinet in the master bedroom. This frees up space in our closets and keeps the house cleaner, too.

Implementing all of these things helps us get the most out of this multipurpose space while keeping clutter at bay. You probably noticed a few ideas repeated from our master bedroom closet – customizable organization, matching hangers, keeping shoes elsewhere. Those are the things that really work for us so don’t be surprised if you see them popping up again throughout this series. Next time, I’ll share the other mudroom wardrobe. Currently, it’s in disarray so I have some work to do!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



I love your bench by the wall hooks! Where is it from?


please share where your black jacket, and bag are from!


This is going to seem like a very silly question, but do you still use the B&D steam mop? I have been contemplating buying one and I remembered you had one a while back that you loved. I didn’t see it in the pictures, and was just curious as to what may have swayed you from using it.


It just quit on me last week!!! I loved it but wish it would have lasted longer! I haven’t replaced it yet. I used it on our tiled floors.


Wayfair…search “saddlers bench”, I think ;)


Black coat is from Forever XXI a few years ago. My faux leather purse was a TJMaxx find. I bought it this past summer when I no longer needed to carry around the big diaper bag.


Organisation is the key to a clutter free house! Love all your tips and love your new website profile pic!


Thanks for the great ideas. One quick question: if this is all attached to your garage, what’s your reasoning as to why you don’t put this mudroom-ish stuff in the garage? I ask b/c I think my home’s layout is VERY similar to yours. We just moved in this summer, and so far I’ve been making everyone keep coats, bags, shoes in the garage, just outside the door that attaches to our dining room. It’s (kind of) working so far, but I don’t know if it may get too frigidly cold to keep this up comfortably in the winter. Was weather your motivation or something else? Thanks!


AGGGHHHH! I just saw the solution for the brooms and sweeper in my kitchen closet. I always feel like it makes the whole closet feel dirty to see them in there… but your basket idea feels like it would keep things feeling tidier. I have been thinking I need to install one of those broom-hanger thingys, but that still leaves the yucky bottom of the broom exposed and the closet feeling gross.

Okay too much excitement about a broom basket. But seriously I am going to put a stinking basket in my kitchen closet tomorrow and I guarantee it will change my day.


Great tips! For those customizing non-Pax closets, I was able to do the “kids height” rod in my daughter’s closet by using a shower tension rod (we rent, so I didn’t want anything permanent).

I’m trying to keep us to one item out at all times too– but it’s been tough in the New England fall, where it seems we need a different weight jacket every day!

I’m one of those strange people who get so excited when I get to see the insides of people’s closets! Thanks for sharing how you organize. I love how functional and beautiful this room is for you guys.


Using tension rods at kid height in rental closets is a great idea!


Haha! It will make your day. My broom basket catches everything and I shake it out outside from time to time.


Our garage is a total disaster zone. For instance, we have a full kid / guest bathroom in there waiting to be installed! Along with a bunch of other garage and non-garage stuff. There is a short hanging rod and shoe rack just outside the man door to the garage where I keep snowsuits, boots and other shoes but the garage is just too dirty and cold right now for daily use. We aren’t parking in the garage yet so we always come in through the set of french doors at the back of the house. It makes more sense for us to put the majority of our belongings in the mudroom. I can’t wait to get the garage cleared out and functional – after we tackle the kid / guest bath – but I probably won’t move too much outerwear out there. We need the room for bikes, at least one car, HH’s many tools and gardening stuff. Currently, I give the garage my stink eye every time I look at it.


Dana, I haven’t been reading blogs lately but popped in today. I absolutely ADORE how your back room has come together. It really is amazing.

I really have appreciate the fact that you used the space that you have and optimized it to fit all of your belongings instead of having to remodel it. Great idea for a blog post!


Love seeing solutions to the “dumping ground” room. Where is that lovely basket from by your french doors?




From our own experience in making the most of every bit of storage in our tiny house, your approach to maximizing your closet is perfect (and very close to what we tend to do). When we were building our master bedroom closets we looked at various closet “systems” and realized that building our own and using our specific sizes/needs as the guide, we’d create something fare more effective than anything we could buy as a system.


The wardrobe looks almost like a built-in. And it’s way nicer looking here than other incarnations of the PAX I’ve seen.


[…] am one for two in the tidy wardrobe department. The coat / broom closet is organized enough but the other wardrobe? Not so […]

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This really looks beautiful and has such great functionality! I was looking online at the Pax system but wasn’t able to find one that looks like this (I found one with 3 doors, not 2). Do you happen to have the item number? Thanks! I’m potentially buying a house without a coat closet so I’m trying to figure out my best options here.


Perfect- thanks so much! I hadn’t realized that the same model had all those options for different doors… whoops! I certainly see a few good trips to Ikea in my future.


[…] *https://www.housetweaking.com/2013/11/14/making-the-most-of-small-closets-mudroom-part-i/ […]


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Where do you store things like your vacuum and luggage? We are currently downsizing and having a hard time finding good storage spots for those type of things.


The vacuum (a standard upright) is in a small linen closet just off the main hallway on the way to the main bathroom. Steve keeps a small duffel bag for daily workouts in our bedroom closet. Larger travel bags and suitcases are stored in the attic, near the door for easy access. Steve does a fair amount of traveling for work (I wish we traveled more as a family!) and this setup works for us.


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