Asked on May 29, 2013

Drop zone, mud room, non-existent utility closet

Deb GrifZLiz


My husband and I just bought a home - moving in July. We love the house, except for a few things. There is very little storage. There is just one closet on the first floor - just inside the front door. It's a small closet. There is a full bath on the 1st floor, but no linen closet. Where do I put towels, toiletries, etc?? There is no mud room and no space when you enter the house from the garage. Where do we put shoes, coats, backpaks??? There is no utility closet - so where does the vacuum. broom. mop, cleaning supplies go?? Where do we stock our reserve of paper towels, toilet tissue, extra food items, etc? The laundry room is on the 2nd floor and it's small. There is one small linen closet in the hall on the 2nd floor. I don't know what we were thinking when we bought this house. We are renting a house now and it has good storage. I am honestly at a loss. I am envisioning coats, purses, shoes, backpacks, keys, mail, items to be returned, etc., all over the place! Help! I need suggestions. It also has a flex space on the first floor that can be used as an office, dining room or formal living room. We don't get all 3. Thanks!
9 answers
  • Well you can add in a few armoire's or cabinets in key places to help with that. You may also consider bringing in a designer, contractor or space/organizational planner to help you see how to better utilize the space you got/ find out the options

  • Z
    on May 31, 2013

    Make better use of the space in the small coat closet by removing the rod and replacing it with good quality coat hooks across the cleat at the back of the closet that's holding up the shelf above where the rod was. These can be used for coats and/or back packs. Get two or three clear pocket over the door shoe storage units. Place one over the door for shoes and attach the other two against the wall by using screw hooks into the side cleats on either side for storing gloves, hats and other small items you need handy on the main level of your home. If you want to store hand tools then I recommend getting a sturdier fabric shoe pocket storage unit. Use the now open floor to store your vacuum. The shelf can be used to store extra TP and paper towels. For this to work your family has to realize they have a responsibility to keep their out of season coats in their own personal closet and only one or two pairs of shoes per family member can be placed in the closet (unless you family is small enough that more will fit), I recommend labeling the hooks and pockets with each family members name. Once their pockets or hooks are full they have to take the extra coat and/or shoes to their own closet. As for the linen closet, again buy an over the door clear shoe storage unit. This can be used for extra health and beauty aides and things like rolled wash clothes. If it works give each family member their own pockets. Make use of the the "add a shelf" coated wire goods found in kitchen supplies to make for extra storage on the shelves. Also baskets that can be easily removed to get to things behind them without making a mess. Use vertical shelf dividers to keep folded towels and sheets neatly stacked. You can get them via And yes, as SLS stated, use armoires. I have five in our home. I also have a six drawer dresser in the main entry and a nine drawer in the Gentleman's Parlor. Towels in the master bathroom are stored in a dressed up glass door armoire I remade just for this purpose.The possibilities are endless. If you need more ideas please share photos when you can and I'll see what else I can think of.

  • Gail Salminen
    on Jun 1, 2013

    @Liz that appears to be quite the dilema :P when you move in you may want to post some pics of areas you want to improve - would be easier to provide advice then. There are some unique storeage ideas on this site if you search them out. I do remember seeing one in particular that interested me - can't find it quickly tonight but basically it was adding a shelf over the doorway into the bathroom for storeage - very cleaverly incorporated into the room. Also above the toilet you could add shelves and baskets for storeage - I have done this in our bathroom - easier than adding cabinets. Keep us updated with your solutions that you have either created or used from others, everyone is interested in what works. Thanks for posing the question :)

  • Liz
    on Jun 3, 2013

    Thanks for the great ideas. They are wonderful. I will keep everyone posted and add some photos after we move in - last wk July. Thank you all again.

  • Liz
    on Jun 4, 2013

    I love all your ideas and will see what works once we see the completed home. I will also send photos. I love the armoire idea, but not sure I will have room for them. I like all the idea, removing rod from closet, adding shoe pockets, shelf in bathroom. Thank you all. Any other ideas are certainly welcome :+)

  • Z
    on Jun 5, 2013

    You're welcome. I'm glad to be of help. I'm quite obsessive about the proper use of space when it comes to organizing a home. Once you get settled please remember to share some photos of the "problem areas" and I'm sure you'll get some great ideas.

  • Liz
    on Jun 5, 2013

    Becky - I'm glad you are obsessive because I am awful at proper use of space. I will def be sending photos. I will have many problem areas!

  • Z
    on Jun 6, 2013

    Oh goodie! I'll be looking forward to helping then.

  • Deb Grif
    on Jul 5, 2013

    You can always get someone to come in and build some custom shelves or cabinets in the downstairs bathroom over the toilet etc..or on one or two of the walls for storage. If the bathroom is too small, you can consider having someone put storage between the studs and frame it out as a painting for a door. It could even become a seasonal thing to swap in or out with shower curtains or whatever.

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