Sunday, August 11, 2013

Entropy: the Accidental Mud Room

Once upon a time, in a previous house, we had a mud room: a vestibule that was mostly entered by those of us who lived in the house. It was allowed to get messy. Hats, jackets, and boots were jumbled willy-nilly.

It was great, especially for a family with four young-ish children. I am nostalgic for those days.

This house has a moderately large entry hall -- one of the deciding factors for our purchase -- which we have fitted out with a few storage solutions.

Unfortunately, the human element kicks in - and those storage solutions are seldom as well used as they ought to be. This house is home to five people, a dog, and a cat. We come and go at every hour of the day. (Except the cat; she is housebound.) And this is what happens:

Most of this mess is mine - can't really blame it on the kids.

We come home. We are tired. We drop our bags on the floor and kick off our shoes rather than putting them in the shoe-hanger in the closet.

We're running late, so we grab a jacket and dash out the door without closing the closet.

We take off one jacket and hang it on top of our previous jacket, rather than putting either away.

That cone-topped thing on the floor is a mitten dryer.

We don't like hunting for frequently used items, or putting away things that we know we'll be using in a very short time.

And what happens is that our entry hall ends up looking like a mud room. The messier it gets, the less likely I am (or anyone is, for that matter!) to take care of where I put things. I just grit my teeth as I walk through.

Until, that is, I reach my limit. Today was that day. In a 15-minute flurry of tidying, it went from what you saw above to this:

I do confess that most of the mess that was in the "before" version of this picture was mine. My handbag, my overflowing basket of shoes, my "bring upstairs" pile. But a few things belonged to the kids; those I brought to their respective rooms.

This took far less time to tidy up than I expected. Most of the things went into the closet, a few were brought to the kids' rooms. Yet other things were tucked into the (almost empty) storage baskets.

Here, I compromised. After putting the mitten dryer, Peter's work bag, and the extra dog-poop bags away, I left it as it was. There really is no better place to put the dog's "walkies" things.

It didn't take long to do, but I've already received some pushback from the kids.

"What's the point of having the coat hooks if we aren't supposed to use them?" one asked.

"They are for guests," I answered, "so they don't have to go digging through the closet." I'm not sure he's convinced.

"But I'm going to be using that bag later this afternoon! Why does it have to go upstairs?" asked another.

"It doesn't belong in the front hall," I replied. "And you have to go upstairs to get ready anyway, right?"

[Son grumbles but stops arguing.]

For my part, I will miss my shoe basket. I've brought it up to my room (and have tucked a few of my favourites into the shoe-hanger in the hall closet). But I was able to point out to my kids that I've moved my crap as well - which went a long way to stopping the whining.

All of which contributes to this.

Much, muuuuuuuuch better.

Steve just got home from church and (after asking about Scooter, who has a sore hip today) immediately commented, "Wow! It's tidy in here! Only one pair of shoes per person!"

To which I replied, "You didn't close the closet door," which he had left very slightly ajar.

"We have a Front Hall Nazi!" he retorted.

So be it.


  1. I would have thought my only comment would be "well done" but in fact what I have is a question: does that phone work?

  2. Yes, the phone does work. It is a push-button made to look like a dial phone. The main reason we keep it is because it is the only phone in our house that is a landline that doesn't require electricity to work. (It's my small concession to survivalism.) It means we can make or receive calls even when the electricity goes. It weighs about 40 pounds.

  3. Beautiful front entry!! It looks great. Wade is a stickler for a tidy front entry too. I think he spends most his time putting my things away!


What did you think? Any comments?

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...