Leaving the kitchen, we are moving on to the mudroom of your house, otherwise called the entryway. This is a high-traffic area where everyone comes in and out every single day. It is also the place where clutter tends to pile up. Make this part of your home the prime real estate asset it should be by clearing out unnecessary things and creating space for what is really needed. Jennifer guides us through it all as she shares some tips and tricks to make the most out of your mudroom without losing your personality in it as well as what to do during “seasonal swap.”

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We are back again to continue on the Organize Now Challenge. We’ve been hitting all those areas in our kitchen that needed to be decluttered and organized. We’ve covered everything from the countertops to the drawers to the cabinets to the refrigerator, the pantry. To everybody that’s been participating in this challenge, I hope that your kitchen is looking super clean, tidy and organized. I hope you have given away or sold all those things that you no longer love or use. I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this challenge with all of you in our private Organize Now Challenge! Facebook group. If you’re not part of that group, please feel free to send me a request to join. It’s on Facebook and it’s called The Organize Now Challenge! Everybody on there has been amazing so far. For those of you that have been taking this challenge seriously, I know it’s making a huge impact on your life. I thank you for sharing your photos and your stories and your highs and your lows. Your before and after pictures are so inspirational to me.


Please make sure that you let me know what else we could add to the challenge to help you during this and as we go along, what questions you may have, things that you’re still needing. I am blown away by the kindness and encouragement that you all are showing one another. If you joined the group and you haven’t done any organizing yet, we want you to join in the fun. Let me know if you’re stuck. Obviously, if you join the group, it’s something you want to do and you need more organization in your life. I always say it’s not going to happen overnight. That’s why these challenges are designed to do one area of your home per week. We focus on that from beginning to end. It may take you less than a week. It may take you more than a week, that’s fine, but you can always go back and start from where you left off.


The point of the challenge is not to beat yourself up. If you only have 30 minutes a day to get organized and follow along with a challenge, go ahead and set a timer and when the timer goes off, be okay with that. Don’t self-sabotage and look around the rest of your house and say, “That’s great that I organized two things but I still have all these other rooms to tackle.” You will be defeated before you even begin. I want to encourage you to keep pushing along. If you joined and you haven’t started, please shoot me an email. Message me in my inbox and let me know what’s stopping you, what’s holding you up because we want to be an encouraging group for you.


I want all of you to get to a point in your home that you walk in and you feel less overwhelmed and more at peace, more joyful, more happy, more proud of your home. I want you to be so proud of your home that you’re opening up that door and being hospitable to everybody in need and everybody that you love.  People will know that they can stop by for a cup of coffee if they’re having a rough day. You’re going to be that homeowner. You’re going to be that person that is like, “I’m not embarrassed by my home. My door’s always open.” Keep up the good work. If this challenge has been positive in your life and you’ve been clearing the clutter and getting organized, I want to say please share it with your friends. Post it to your Facebook wall, tell your friends in person or shoot them a text and tell them how they can find us because we want to use these challenges to reach a larger audience.




I can only help so many people one-on-one. It’s physically impossible to help as many people as I’d like to help. That’s why these challenges and this podcast is such a big deal to me because I want to reach as many people as I possibly can and help them realize that life is not about the things, it’s about the memories and the moments. Just keep that in mind when you’re taking this challenge and keep pushing through. Without further ado, we are leaving the kitchen and we are moving on to the mudroom or you may call it your entryway. It’s so funny because when I posted this question on the Facebook group, I was cracking up at all of your guesses and I was like, “How long should I make them wait?” You all had good guesses. The thing is that we are focusing on one section of our home.

Share: “Don’t self-sabotage or you will be defeated before you even begin.”

Normally, a mudroom or an entryway is probably a very close adjoining space to the kitchen, even if it’s not touching, it’s probably not too far off. What I want you to focus on is the door in the space that your family, the people that live in your home, enter and exit every single day. You may have a front door that’s more formal with a beautiful table, with a vase of flowers that you never go by because you’re always using the door to the garage for example, but that’s not what we’re focusing on. We’re focusing on this space in your home that your family comes in and out of every single day. This entrance to your home is crucial to organize.


It’s important because this is the space that you are coming in and leaving every single day. It’s the area where the shoes pile up and your kids toss their school supplies. Lots of clutter could be dropped off in and out in this area. If your guests use this area, they can often see all that clutter when they visit. It’s important to keep things tidy. When choosing storage for your entryway, you want to try to find pieces that close and that are efficient so that sometimes when you need it to look clean and organized, you can close a door. There also may be a coat closet in the area or near it. Sometimes I’ve seen in homes where this area where it’s supposed to be intended for coats is a dumping ground for lots of other goodies.


Making Space And Organizing


Let’s talk about what we’re going to find in this area and let’s tackle it like we always say, “Push it down to the bare minimum.” This is a high-traffic area. This is something where there’s a lot of action going on every single day, so we want to keep it simple. If it’s not simple, it’s going to become cluttered quickly because there’s so much activity going on. We also want to keep it simple so it’s more efficient. Every single thing has a home. As we always say, “In order to be organized, every single thing needs a home.” The floor is not a home for your coats. The floor is not a home for your backpacks. We’re going to give you a space for everything and the floor is going to be for walking.


The first thing I want you to do is to think about what should be in this area. I’m going to give you a hint. The things that belong in the mudroom or the entryway are things that you use every single week, if not every single day. If we’re not using it every single week, it shouldn’t be here. The things that don’t fall into that category, you want to remove first. You’re not going to get distracted and put everything away where it belongs. You’re just focusing on getting your mudroom or your entryway organized. Focus on removing it. That might mean you have a little pile of things that need to go on a bin that you’ll deal with later. It might be a pile of things you set in the basement. Things that I’ve seen in this area that shouldn’t be there can even be folding chairs, card tables, things that you can put in the basement. I’m pretty sure you’re not using those every single week or every single day, so those types of things, pull them out. I also want you to pull out anything that doesn’t pertain to the season. Everything that you are using daily or weekly in the season can stay. After you’ve done that, you’ve moved everything, I want you to start with the coats and go through the coats.


Here’s the thing about the mudroom/entryway area. Many families have lots of coats and lots of shoes and those are obviously going to be things that we need to make a home for. However, I’ve seen many times where things pile up and years go by and you don’t even realize what coats or shoes are still in a closet. I want you to physically handle every single coat or any clothing item in this space. I want you to pull out things that no longer fit you or your family. I want you to remove those coats that you haven’t worn in a year or more. If you haven’t worn a coat in a year or more, chances are you don’t like it or you don’t feel good in it. I also want you to think about those coats that maybe you only wear on special occasions because if you possibly have room in another closet, specifically a bedroom closet in another part of the house, consider taking out the coats that are for special occasions. Maybe you have a long coat you only wear for weddings. Maybe your kids have a coat that they only wear when they get all dressed up. Those types of coats should not be in this area unless you have a big coat closet and you have tons of extra room. If you don’t, consider moving those coats into another space. Anything that no longer fits, any coat you haven’t worn in a year or more needs to be moved from the space.


TMM 25 | Mudroom
Mudroom: The things that belong in the mudroom or the entryway are things that you use every single week, if not every single day.


The next thing I want you to look at is shoes. Shoes are one of those categories of things that we have an abundance of it seems like and more than we need. Truly, the shoes might be the hardest part to go through. Especially if you have multiple family members, lots of kitties, all those little shoes that take up more room away than we can even imagine, there are lots of them. I noticed a lot that families will get in the habit of keeping all their shoes. Every pair of shoes from the house ends up in the mudroom. That’s not what you want to do. You want to have categories down there. Maybe you have just the shoes they wear to school or maybe you have the shoes that you wear the most. Let’s say, for example, mom and dad. We have our everyday shoes or boots that we love to wear, but we also have shoes that maybe we only wear when we’re dressing up and it’s a special occasion. It’s the same concept. You want to remove those types of shoes and put them in your closet in your bedroom.


The mudroom entryway area of your home is the prime real estate of your home. It’s super important. We don’t need to have all our pumps and stilettos in the mudroom when we only wear every now and then. They can go to another area. What we want in this space are just the shoes and boots that we’re wearing to work, the kids are wearing to school. You’re wearing to maybe go step outside and do some work around the yard, those types of shoes. Go through shoes, remove all the ones that no longer fit, all the ones you haven’t worn in a year or more, and all the ones that are for special occasions or a different season. That should cut down. A lot of you have been asking what to do with shoes and there are all sorts of different storage.


I’m not a big fan of the shoe pocket organizers that go over the door, but I am a fan for little kids of baskets so that when they come in, even a three-year-old can put his shoes in a basket. As long as the basket isn’t too big, where the next day out those little shoes are lost in the basket and it takes too much time to find them, it will work fine. I also want to encourage you, if you do happen to have a garage attached to this room, maybe consider right outside of your garage putting a narrow shelving unit that is vertical. One of my favorites is from Walmart because they are the only ones I found that holds up. They’re not plastic, they’re decent looking and you can buy as many as you want and just keep stacking them on top of each other. Usually, in a garage, you have the height to play with. I’ve stacked them up to six, seven high.


The other thing for shoes could possibly be cubbies. You want to be careful of storage benches because usually they’re pretty big and they’re ending up like toy boxes where anything small is going to end up on the bottom or be hard to find. If you do use a storage bench, just use it for the bigger bulkier shoes. Other than that, I want you to make sure that your kids know where they’re supposed to put their shoes. I was in one of my Bible study groups and we were doing a study and we were talking about what makes us angry and little stupid things that can get your blood pressure going. We were laughing about one of the moms who said that she cannot stand when her kids leave their shoes on the floor in the entryway and then she trips over them. It causes her to get super annoyed and aggravated, then she yells and says, “How many times have I told you to pick up your shoes?” I know there are so many moms reading that can relate to her. There’s nothing more annoying than coming in from a long, hard day and tripping over somebody’s shoes.


Make sure that when you’re organizing, you’re going through and telling your kids the new rules of the space. For a mom to organize any room, then not share the new method, the new system, the new storage, the new home with the rest of the family, it will never last. Here’s the thing, kids aren’t going to want to do this on their own. Most children need to be trained. They need to have consequences for not putting things where they belong. They need to have consequences for not picking up or being a good steward of their things and being responsible. When you’re talking to your kids about where things are going to belong, come up with a little fun system where it’s almost like, “When we get home from school, our shoes and our coat go into their new home and they have to be in our home before mom can give you a snack or before you can help yourself to a snack or before you can go play electronics or play outside.” The hard part obviously is in the beginning when you’re trying to train them and you’re trying to get them to form this new habit, they’re going to forget many times and that’s okay. We’re going to keep reminding them until they get it right at first.

SHARE: “Life is not about things, it’s about the memories and the moments.”

The other part we can do is label things. Maybe you put a picture of their shoes with their name on it. Maybe when they’re smaller, you want to have like, “Johnny’s coat,” and put the little label where his coat goes or where his shoes go, where his backpack goes. When we’re organizing, make sure you’re sharing all this information and make sure you’re going over the new rules that are going to be put into place for the maintenance. We’ve done coats, we’ve done shoes, we’ve removed everything that doesn’t belong. The other thing I want to talk to you about is something I call seasonal swap. I use it in closets a lot but for the mudroom entryway, it’s very crucial because most mudrooms are not big enough. Maybe even if they are big enough, it’s still too much clutter to keep everything that you’re going to use on a daily or weekly basis for all seasons. If you live in a beautiful place like California where the weather is always fantastic and it’s usually roughly the same, you can disregard this part.


Seasonal Swap


If you live in snowy New York like I do or the Midwest where it’s cold, you know as well as I do that there are different things we use every day depending on the season. What I like to do is when it starts to get cold, I will take everything out that we’re not going to use until the following spring, summer season. For example, in the spring and summer, we have a swim bag ready to go for those quick days to the pool. We have ponchos, we have flip flops and spring coats, all those things that we use for spring and summer. That’s what I’m pulling out when it starts to get cold. When it starts to get warm again, usually here in New York, I do this probably not until April. I pull out those winter boots, those gloves, those hats, those heavy-duty winter coats and I remove them from this area because it’s going to save me so much time.


Remember, picture yourself wanting to find your daughter’s spring coat and you have to go through five winter coats plus lots of boots and gloves and hats just to find that spring coat. That wastes time on a weekly basis, which causes stress, which causes aggravation. It’s not efficient. Avoid that for the next four to six months by eliminating it and keeping it simple. When you’re setting up the seasonal swap for say spring and summer, it’s all things that you’re going to use in that season on a daily or weekly basis. When you’re setting up for fall and winter, it’s all those things that you’re going to use during that season every day or every week. Hopefully, that makes sense. You’re asking me, “Where am I supposed to put that stuff? I don’t have any room for it.”


I’m going to say there are all sorts of places you can put it. If you don’t have room or another closet, maybe it can go on a bin under a bed, maybe it can go into a storage area like an attic or a basement. Maybe it could even go in a space saver bag, which is one of those plastic bags that you suck all the air out with the vacuum and they work well. That is something that can make it super condensed. Think about being creative and how you can remove those things. Obviously, when you’re doing your seasonal swap, say for example you’re pulling out hats, gloves, boots, and coats getting ready for spring and summer, you want to make sure that you’re at the same time getting rid of all those things that aren’t going to fit the following season. If you have kids, that’s especially important because why store it for all those months if your kids aren’t going to fit into it the next season?




The other thing I want to talk to you about is personalization in this area. I like to tell people when it comes to that place in your home where you’re coming in and you’re leaving every day, it’s important especially when you have children to have it be a great reminder, a great message when they come home. They come home from school. You want to use this area to either explain to them at things like they walk in and they see something that reminds them of your family. Who is your family? What do they stand for? If I were to come in as a guest, what would I notice when I first walk in the door? That’s the same thing for your children. They come in every single day. This is an area where you want them to come home from school after a long day and feel love, peace and comfort. It’s a cozy home.


TMM 25 | Mudroom
Mudroom: There’s nothing more annoying than coming in from a long, hard day and tripping over somebody’s shoes.


Maybe you have things like their artwork displayed there. Maybe you have a family photo, maybe you have a quote, maybe you have a cross. In our mudroom, we have a sign that is our last name, Berry, made out of letters that have photographs behind them. It’s a nice personal touch. Every day when your kids come home from school, it’s something that will hopefully make them smile and make them remember that they are home and that’s where they belong. Think about making this a clean and organized area, but also use it to personalize the message that you would want your first message to be when you or your family members come in the door every single day.


As far as storage ideas go in this space, obviously giving every single thing has a home is easier said than done in some areas. Hooks are fantastic for this type of area because it’s easy to throw a purse, a book bag, a coat on a hook. If you have that closet, utilize it, put as much in there as you can, maximize the space vertically as much as horizontally because a lot of times we lose space vertically. If you have two feet or three feet between the coats and the floor, you can put some cubbies in there, you can put another bookshelf to put shoes on. You can maybe use it inside of the door for things. Back to the over-the-door pocket organizer that I don’t like for shoes, I don’t mind that for things like mittens, gloves, and hats because it makes it easy for kids to see what they need. If at all possible, set up an area for each individual child. Maybe it’s as simple as a hook on the wall for their coat and their backpack and a little basket underneath it for their shoes. Just so that you know who’s taking care of their space and it’s a visual to mom that Rebecca is the one that doesn’t hang up her coat and her backpack, but the other kids do.


Give them their own space to be responsible for to make it efficient so that when they need something, maybe they need to go and get their lunch bag out of their backpack to make lunch the night before, they know exactly which hook is for their backpacks so they can find it every single time. If you’re lucky enough to have cubbies, by all means, you can get a lot in cubbies. I give measurements for the size if you want to make your own cubbie, on page 104 in the book. The book that we’re falling along with for this challenge is called Organize Now! A Week-by-Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life. The entryway and mudroom is chapter twenty and right on page 104, you’ll see some dimensions for cubbies.


The other thing I want to recommend is to go on Pinterest and search mudroom or entryway. There are so many cool ideas for how to set up space, creative ways, DIYs. You don’t have to put a lot of money into things like cubbies and storage. You can skip lots of creative ideas on there. The other part of this sometimes leads into what I call the family launchpad, which is a paper management system and a place where you keep all those things that are coming and going every single day to school or to the mailbox. If you want to get a headstart on that, we’re not going to go over the family launchpad in this challenge, but if you want to get a headstart, that’s in chapter 53 in the book. There are also great ideas on Pinterest for that area.


I do believe I have a board on there under Organize Now! on Pinterest that will share lots of those ideas. I hope you have lots of fun clearing out that entryway and mudroom. You’re going to feel like $1 million when it’s over because this is something that you see every single day in your home. This isn’t like, “I organized this spare bedroom and closet.” This is something that is important. Make sure when you’re sorting and purging, you go down to the bare minimum. Let that stuff go that you hardly ever use. Just let it go. It’s so not worth it. You’re not going to miss it. You’re going to be embracing a simpler lifestyle and you’re going to be loving the fact that it’s so clutter-free and your children can put their stuff away when they come home from school.


Push yourself. If you have questions, make sure you reach out and ask me either here or on the Facebook group, Organize Now Challenge!. Also, don’t forget to share your before and after pictures because we want to see all of the different ways that you’re doing this in your home. We all can learn from each other. Somebody might see a mudroom that looks similar to theirs and they’re like, “I never thought of doing it that way, but now I will.” Great job so far. Keep up the good work. I wish you all the best of luck. Thank you for joining me on The 29 Minute Mom, where we know that every single minute counts.

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