Trying to make sense of a wet pile of winter boots strewn across a household entryway can be a parent's worst nightmare. Winter arrives with a flurry of snow and sleet, and also with a flurry of hats, coats, mittens, scarves, snow pants and boots, as children scramble for their winter clothing. Logic and organization, along with the right furniture, storage systems and preparation are key to keeping winter clothing accessible and in good condition.
Effective Foyer ("Mudroom") Design
Prevent children and visitors from tracking mud, slush, snow and salt into your home by creating a comfortable, convenient area where winter clothing can be removed, preferably just inside the front door. Position a bench, chairs or built-in window seat in this area so guests can sit comfortably while removing their shoes. Add rubber floor mats or trays where guests can place their shoes to avoid leaving puddles on the floor.
Add coat racks, mitten pegs, hat racks, cubbies and shelves to your foyer. Encourage children to arrange wet mittens and scarves on pegs or racks so they will air dry more quickly. Rather than leaving boots in piles on the floor, encourage children to place their boots in individual cubbies or shelves.
There is nothing worse than putting on a cold, damp pair of boots. Cold feet can also raise susceptibility to winter colds, flu, viruses and even pneumonia. Invest in a boot dryer for your foyer, or make your own with a fan and some PVC piping. When purchasing winter boots, seek brands with liners that can be removed and dried separately.
Basket of Clean Socks or Slippers
Keep a basket of socks or a selection of slippers in your foyer. While boots are left to dry neatly by the door, your family and friends will be warm and comfortable in indoor footwear. Mud, snow, salt and slush will remain in your mudroom, while the rest of your home will remain free from the winter elements.
Clean Boots Before Storing
As the winter season comes to an end, it is crucial to clean and store boots and winter clothing so you will be prepared for next year. You don't want wet winter boots clogging up your foyer all year long. Carefully wash the mud, dirt, sand and salt from winter boots. Over time, salt can damage leather and synthetic materials. Use any special cleaning products recommended for leather, suede and other fabrics. Remove any boot liners, shake out grit and sand, and wash them. Allow interior liners to fully dry and air out before reinserting them. Once they are clean, some boots may also need re-waterproofing or polishing.
Once all boots are clean and dry, place them in large, water-tight, moth-proof plastic storage containers. Boots and boot liners may be stored separately. Make sure the boxes are spacious enough to fit all the boots, as winter boots can be permanently damaged by prolonged bending or squishing. Save space in your foyer by moving these storage boxes to your attic or basement.