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Don’t have space for mudroom storage inside your home? Why not use your garage?

If you’ve got an older home – like I do – and wish you had space for a mudroom for household supplies, coats, hats, and boots – but know there’s NO WAY your hallway from the garage is going to work, you’re not alone!

For homes built more than 20 years ago, a mudroom off the garage simply wasn’t included in house plans at that time. And I know – for one – in my house – trying to add a mudroom off the garage (which IS THE family entrance to our home) ain’t happening because my hallway is 3’ wide and sandwiched between our kitchen and a bathroom. And eliminating a bathroom – or making the kitchen smaller would not be a smart idea to add a mudroom storage system.

And if you’re like me – and thinking – a mudroom storage system would be the ‘bomb-diggity’ – but are wondering where you can find room for one, I’d like to share an idea with you which as a home storage designer I added to my own house and have loved it. This idea is…..

A mudroom storage system INSIDE your garage!

At first this may sound like a crazy concept, but it’s not as crazy as you may think. And I’m going to share the secrets on how to do it effectively AND gain storage you never knew you had. In this article I’ll address the following questions to make a garage mudroom a reality:

  • What should you include in a garage mudroom system?
  • How deep should the cabinetry be?
  • How tall should the cabinetry be?
  • How can you add style so you can FORGET this storage system is in your (currently) nasty garage?
  • How can you get the storage to ‘live’ better for you?

Let’s look at these 5 questions and learn the formula for a successful mudroom storage system in your garage.

Question #1 – What should you include in a garage mudroom system?

While mudroom or entryway storage systems should be designed specifically for how your family will use them, there are certain popular components you should consider adding. They include:

  • A bench seat –I love being able to sit down on my garage mudroom bench seat to take off muddy shoes after working in the yard. What’s also nice is you can combine the bench seat with an open – or closed – storage area underneath for shoes. Your spouse or partner will LOVE YOU NOT tracking mud inside!

Question 1 slatwall by garage door to hang coats | Innovate Home Org | Storage Organization Systems | Mudroom Entryway | Storage Shoe Shelving

  • A shoe storage cabinet – Some people love to store shoes outside the home (and in some cultures shoe storage in the home is a ‘no-no). So, adding a storage cabinet which is deep enough for the ‘big foot’ in your home is a smart way to design this cabinet. And if you’ve got someone with size 14” shoes, DO NOT get a storage cabinet which is 12” deep. You don’t want shoes hanging off the edge or not being able to close the door if you have cabinets with doors.

Question 1 mudroom bench with shoe storage in garage Columbus | Innovate Home Org | Storage Organization | Columbus Storage | Shoe Storage | Bench Seat for Garage

  • A slatwall system to hang coats, hats, or your storage bags for shopping – A big reason for a mudroom system is to relieve the pressure of your closets which are already often packed like sardines. Using a slatwall system you can add hooks for coats, hats, your kid’s stinky athletic clothes, or storage bags for the grocery store – or to add baskets for frequently used items. You can also include a magnetized tool storage attachment to quickly and easily (believe it or not) find a hammer, or screwdriver without needing to fish through the ‘junk drawer’ inside your home.

Question 1 counter in Columbus garage mudroom cabinet and shelf design | Innovate Home Org | Storage Organization | Slatewall | Storage Organization | Mudroom Columbus Storage

  • Add a cabinet for bulk storage – Do you have crammed into your laundry room, or laying on your dirty and damp garage floor extra rolls of toilet paper, paper towels, or cartons of water and soda? If you’re looking for an efficient place to store these items which can be hidden behind doors, a garage entryway system can be your answer.

Question 1 cabinets for bulk storage New Albany garage | Innovate Home Org | Columbus Storage Organization | Tip And Tricks for Storage | Garage Organization Systems | Columbus Garage

  • A storage counter to stage bags or packages before you bring them in– Do you hate packages sitting on your garage floor which get wet from the moisture of the concrete floor? Or would you like a ‘staging area’ to put packages or bags of groceries before you bring them in? This is where a storage counter in a garage mudroom can be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Question 1 counter in mudroom cabinetry design | Innovate Home Org | Home Organization | Garage Storage Solution

Question #2 – How deep should your garage mudroom cabinetry be?  

I’m first going to give you a ‘P.C.’ (‘er Politically Correct) answer to this question and tell you ‘it depends.’ And if you’re asking right now; it depends on what, Mike? Well, it depends on three things.

  • It depends on the distance between the cabinetry and (in most cases) the vehicles parked inside. When you’re thinking about cabinetry depth you want to not only make sure you have enough room to shut the garage door when you park cars inside, you also (in a perfect world) want to make sure you can open the cabinet doors WITHOUT moving your cars, trucks, and SUV’s outside. And this is especially true if you live in Columbus Ohio (where our home organization business is located) or in the East/Midwest where it gets ‘booty-freezing’ (yes, I’ll bet you’re impressed with my use of technical terms there!) when evil ‘Old Man Winter’ rears his ugly head.
  • It depends on the type of cabinetry doors you choose for your bulk storage system. If you’re on a tighter budget it’ll be smarter to use pivoting doors which come out from the cabinet when you open them. But if your garage depth is not what you’d wish – a more costly- but smarter way to go is sliding mudroom cabinetry doors (since they won’t extend into the garage when you’re looking inside the cabinets).

Question 2 sliding mudroom cabinetry doors | Innovate Home Org | Storage Organization | Sliding Door for garage cabinets | Columbus Storage

  • It depends if you use single door or double door cabinets. If space is at a premium, you should use double door cabinets because they’ll be ½ the size of a single door cabinet. For example, if you have a 24” wide cabinet – with double doors, each door will only be 12” deep when it’s opened so it’ll work in a shallower garage.

Question 2 double door garage cabinet doors Columbus | innovate home org | storage organization | Double door garage storage

Question #3 – How tall should your garage mudroom cabinetry be?

Ok, not to redundant here – or to repeat myself – or to say the same thing over and over again (something my wife of 39 years says I NEVER do – ‘er, I’m lying!), but like in question #2 the height of your garage cabinetry depends. And it depends on what you may ask? Well, it depends on what purpose the cabinetry is serving.

For example, if you’re adding a mudroom bench seat, install it approximately 20” off the garage floor (comfortable seating height) – unless you have someone with a wheelchair using it, then the seat should be raised.

And if you’re adding a storage counter (and/or mini workbench), set your mudroom countertop at 36” above the garage floor (like the height of your kitchen cabinets) or at 42” above the floor (like the height of your kitchen island).

And if you want to know how tall to make your storage cabinets for bulk storage – make them as tall as you can get away with….AND reach (without the top shelf being a safety hazard for you to get to). One of the wonderful things with garages is they’re not only often the biggest ‘room’ in the house, but they often have the tallest ceilings as well. So, I’d make your cabinets 84” to 90” tall (which usually is still safe for most people to use) so you can get take advantage of the storage ‘volume’ in your garage.

Question 3 tall garage mudroom cabinets for storage | Innovate Home Org | storage organization | custom garage storage

Question #4 – How can you add style, so you FORGET this mudroom storage is in your (currently) nasty garage?

Let’s be real – most garages are train wrecks. They’re where stuff gets thrown and discarded. And they’re generally not neat. And if you think about it – if you’ve got a standard 2 car garage (which is about 20’ x 20’) or a 3 car garage which is say 20’ x 30’ this is 400 to 600 square feet of area which is often poorly utilized.

So, how can you make your garage (and the mudroom system inside your garage) a ‘room’ you love vs. a place you have to ‘put up with’ to get inside the home? Here’s how:

Start at the bottom (the garage floor) and work your way up

Well – ‘re-imagining’ your garage often starts with refusing to ‘live with’ the pitted, cracked, and bug infested floor. Look into a polyaspartic floor coating system. It’ll create an entirely different vibe and you’ll even be able to walk on your garage floor in bare feet. Believe that!

Question 4 polyaspartic garage floor system | Innovate Home Org | Storage Solutions | Garage Storage | Home Organization Ideas

Use cabinets with doors 

I don’t know about you – but I know my wife of 39 years (and yes, we did get married at the age of 9 – so, now you know we’re not that old!) and seeing clutter in the garage gives her anxiety. And after we put as many rakes, shovels, paint cans, and jugs of windshield wiper fluid and added our garage mudroom system and our contents were behind closed doors, the feeling of our garage was totally changed. Rose now likes it. Yes, that’s crazy, yet true!

And if you have open shelving in your garage today – think about what a change you could make if you didn’t see the ugliness which is your garage storage items because they’re hidden behind doors.

Use a color scheme in your cabinetry which compliments the exterior of your home

Does your existing garage shelving or cheap store-bought cabinets look tacky? Do they look good with your siding, brick, or stonework? When you see an effective (and dare I say stylish) garage (and garage mudroom system) it’ll look like it was designed to go with the exterior of your home AND built from a materials which’ll stand up to the harshest weather your local area can dish out.

For my money – I like the laminate mudroom cabinets because you can get them in a number of designer colors which’ll compliment (not take away from) the curb appeal of your home.

Question 4 garage mudroom system from outside garage | Innovate Home Org | Storage Solutions | Home Organization | Garage Storage

Stop being embarrassed to leave your garage doors open!

Question #5 – How can you get the mudroom garage storage system to ‘live’ better for you?

There’s nothing worse than spending money only to find out (after the fact) your mudroom system doesn’t ‘live’ well for you. So, what ideas should you consider to make sure the function even surpasses the ‘fashion’ of your system outlined in question #4? Here’s a few ideas:

  • Know what thickness of shelves you’re getting. Unlike shelves in your closet, you’re NOT storing jeans and t-shirts in a garage mudroom system. No, you’ll be ‘pilling’ in cartons of waters, sodas, and staging heavy packages. It’s for this reason, insist on 1” thick shelves for your garage mudroom.

Question 5 shelf thickness Columbus garage mudroom storage system | Innovate home Org | Storage Solutions | Garage Shelf | Garage Storage System | Columbus Garage Storages

  • Consider pull out shelves or baskets. Oh, the ‘pleasure’ (sarcasm intended) of trying to find what’s in the back of deep shelves. The way to solve this depth problem is adding a few pull out shelves or baskets.
  • Add a small item storage drawer. A mudroom storage drawer can be a smart place for tools, screws, extra keys, you name it. It can (hopefully) be the ‘junk drawer’ without the chaos (especially if you put a storage compartment tray inside the drawer).

Question 5 drawers for small items garage mudroom design Columbus | Innovate Home Org | Columbus Organization | Storage Organization |

  • Add a lock if you’re storing dangerous liquids and have little ones (kids or grandkids). Maybe you’d like to store glues or other potentially dangerous liquids in your garage mudroom storage design. Well, a way to keep the little ones safe is to add a lock on a door or drawer which will house these items.

 So, is a garage mudroom storage system a crazy idea for you? If you think it’s not crazy, would you like ‘professional help’ (and no, not that kind of professional help) designing a garage entryway and mudroom system?

I know most people don’t think about their garage as the ultimate ‘extra storage’ area for their home – but it can be an untapped resource you’ll be glad you finally took advantage of. It’s far less expensive storage space than building a room addition or tearing walls out inside your home.

However, I know designing a plan and building a garage mudroom may not be something you’re equipped to tackle alone. And if this is the case – and you live in Cleveland or Columbus Ohio, contact Innovate Home Org at 614-545-6888 for a Free 3D garage mudroom plan (and/or a complete garage organization system).

And if you don’t live in Columbus -you’re NOT out of luck! Ask me for a referral to one of my buddies in the industry who do this work in your town.

Finally, thanks for reading – and living through my personality in the process!




Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

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