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What To Do With Muddy Wet Shoes In Your House If You Don’t Have A Mudroom

The mud can be totally maddening if your house isn’t set up for that designated drop zone. I feel like I sweep and mop every other day right now. When my Oregon friends would come visit in LA, their kids would take their shoes off immediately without being asked and I thought it was from good parenting, but now I realize that it’s an unbreakable habit due to the almost daily mud swamp that can be tracked inside by little monsters. These days my general MO in life is to look at all the things that stress us as a family and figure out systems to avoid them. So instead of focusing on the best cleaning products or booking a service, I want to create systems to not have them in the first place. So we need both an outdoor solution (a tray or rack) with a bench so we can take some off before coming in on the hyper muddy days, as well as an indoor solution when it’s not quite as wet. Now to be fair, from car to door is not cement, it’s mud. So I know that my situation might be worse than most (and it’s good to know for the farm so that I can be sure to create a clear hardscape path to the back door). Don’t get me started on these mud pups. Meanwhile, as I’m finishing up Robyn’s basement makeover which includes a mudroom through the garage, she ALSO was having boot tray woes so I figured we are not alone.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: 8 steps to building a smart, organized pantry & mudroom

The Inverted Boot Rack

Now I’m not totally sure if an inverted rack is better or worse than a tray that you just set them on except maybe the soles dry out faster? Critters can’t get inside them if you leave them outside? I do think it looks cool though and is something I’m considering just for wellies outside our front or back doors (which are both covered). If we were here more long-term or if I gardened I’d consider a hanging one as this one is so lovely.

1. MyGift 6-Pair Natural Wood Inverted Boot Storage Rack | 2. 6-Pair Natural Boot Rack | 3. Oak Welly Rack

The Big Boot Tray

This is a no-brainer both inside and out, but I was surprised by how ugly so many of them are on the market. I have one at the mountain house via Hearth and Hand with Target that is GREAT (high-lipped, simple with cute handles) and would buy that again in a second, but they didn’t put it out this year. So here is what I’ve found with a few that I’m pulling the trigger on.

1. Marquetry Boot Tray | 2. Metal Boot Tray | 3. Natural & Recycled Rubber Boot Tray

1. Classic Galvanized Multi-Purpose Boot Tray | 2. Bamboo Rolling Plant Tray | 3. Galvanized Boot Tray

The Shoe Shelves I’m Eyeing

There are a million on the market but so few that I really love enough to see first them when I walk in or near the front door.

1. Household Essentials Bamboo Shoe Rack | 2. Rustic Z-Frame 3-Level 9 Pair Shoe Rack | 3. Entryway Rack | 4. Lucy Mango Wood Shoe Rack with Bench | 5. Corrugate Shoe Tray | 6. Helga Wood Shoe Rack

I have this one from West Elm and it’s super sturdy and looks really nice. It only holds a few pairs of shoes, but can be sat upon and I think would look nice outside next to the boot rack or boot tray.

The Sturdy Basket

I’m a massive fan of woven wood baskets, even though they are much more expensive than wicker. They are wide and low, making them easy to sort through and feel more modern and yet organic. Anytime I see one at an antique store I snag them because new can be super expensive. I just find them visually so appealing and more utilitarian. I’ve used these forever.

1. Aubrey Woven Oversized Rectangle Basket – Natural | 2. Chunky Round Woven Basket Natural | 3. Decorative Round Rattan Basket Gray

The Metal Basket

For full visibility and to be easy to maintain and clean, we have a couple of these inside our armoire full of shoes and I think they look really really nice, modern, and utilitarian (and I don’t mind hoarding these because they last a long time and can be used for laundry, cleaning supplies, etc).

1. Spectrum® Utility Basket in Grey | 2. Black Wire Wilson Storage Basket | 3. Wire Storage Basket Black | 4. Large Wire Milk Crate with Handles Copper – Threshold™ | 5. Metal Storage Basket | 6. Extra Large Round Wire Decorative Storage Bin with Handles Copper

So these are some of the solutions I am considering, but I am curious what you do to keep the mud out of your house? HELP. xx

Opener Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria Tramp | From: My Secret Front Yard Finally Revealed

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2 years ago

have got great ideas for home decor and furnitures , i have also used these ideas for my house this also helped to maintain best furniture store in raipur.

2 years ago

My family has a dual issue. We have no mudroom AND we have a mischievous dog who goes after any shoes that he can reach. We’ve been desperately searching for something big enough for all of our shoes that’s either higher up or enclosed so that our pup can’t get to. But, it’s been hard to find something to fit our narrow entryway. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

2 years ago
Reply to  Brittany

Ikea has some great shoe holders that fit on the wall, are quite narrow, and open/close to keeo shoes away from pup mouths.

2 years ago
Reply to  Brittany

would an elevated Steele canvas bin with a wood cover work?

2 years ago
Reply to  Brittany

We have the IKEA Kallax (positioned vertically) with wicker baskets in each cubby. We can’t keep aaaaall of our shoes there, but the daily pairs fit nicely.

we are a shoes off at the door family. and in our old house (we just moved), there was no real entryway/foyer; the front door just opened into the living room. there was a tiny little front closet. living in michigan, we get all the seasons and the wet or snowy ones are the majority of the year. that little closet was not going to hack it. so along that wall right after the closet, i made that an “entryway” with a really long bench to sit on to take off shoes (or more often for everyone to throw backpacks and other stuff on as they walk in), metal shoes bins for the kids’ shoes, rubber boot trays for adult shoes and all wet/snowy boots/shoes, and a coat rack (because it’s much easier to throw your coat on a coat rack out in the open than to open the tiny closet, get a hanger, hang the coat, and hang in closet – also, coats are often wet and I don’t want wet stuff in a closed closet.) you can make an entryway/foyer in any house and i think it’s SO super important to flow and function of a home. also,… Read more »

2 years ago

I have a front porch, but no room for a bench/shoe rack anywhere in the porch or hallway as it would block a door wherever it was. I am looking out for shoe storage that can be hung on the back of the door, and I need a row of nice hooks for wet coats too. I really like the hanging wellies rack and that might work for me. I’d also recommend a boot jack at the door so you can get muddy wellies off without having to touch them with your hands or the toes on your other foot. I need a couple of hooks for a dog towel and to hang up his lead too so his paws can be wiped before he runs into the hall.

Nancy S
2 years ago

Don’t forget the boot scraper! Insert it in the ground by the first step up to the door to get the caked on mud off the bottom of your boots! They’re awesome! So are boot jacks!

2 years ago

I live in MN, so we only have to deal with mud/snow seasonally. I have a vintage shoe rack and hanging coat rack in our garage that we use for dirty/soaked boots and coats (we heat our garage during the dead of winter for many reasons, so this works well). Inside, we have two inverted boot racks (one might actually be a sheet pan organizer, but it’s cute and works:) that we put on top of the in-floor heat vents in the mud room when in use–they’re great for wet insoles, gloves, and hats.

2 years ago
Reply to  A

I was stumped on the usage of an inverted boot rack until reading your comment. That’s so clever to use the floor vents to dry out things on the rack!

2 years ago

I feel in love with the inverted boot racks at Montessori schools. So sweet.
We have one (the upside down mounted kind-ours is from Etsy but metal) mounted on the house by the door with a plastic boot tray below it for extra room. (We live on a farm.) It works great with lots of room and makes me smile. Like a happy family of shoes.

2 years ago

Mainer here, with 2 kids and a host of wet boots/clothes/”treasures” the kids drag inside. Three suggestions:
If you get a boot tray, don’t spend $100 on it and feel like you have to be delicate with it. The purpose is to hold mud, pretty much. Get something that you can take outside and hose off as needed.
A steel mat outside your door is great if you have a place for it.
A heavy-duty waterhog floor mat in your entry will help as well. I like the ones from LL Bean.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

I second the Waterhog mats! They are pricey but it is the best mat for our foyer. We get heavy snow in upstate NY and it keeps our hardwood floors clean and dry.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

We have had a Waterhog mat for at least five years at our front and back door in south Mississippi. They still look and work like new, even in a house with nine people and a dog!

2 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I have two dogs that go in and out the back door which is in the mud/utility room. I finally broke down and bought the waterhog last year and it was well worth the money and will definitely help with your muddy dog feet. I got a fairly large one and it
keeps mud and dirt out of my kitchen which is the
next room they come running through.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

We have a large Waterhog mat spanning the space between back door and garage door to create a mudroom zone with bench, shoe cabinet, etc. It is AWESOME. Love that you can get it in basically any dimensions and some great colors.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

Another Mainiac who loves the Waterhog doormat…you can order them in custom lengths! If you have forced hot air heat, those upside down boot racks can live over a floor vent…good for mittens, too.

Sarah H
2 years ago

We live in a market town in England with our boys who are two and five, so mud aplenty. What works for us is a wicker basket just inside the front door for mucky shoes, then a wardrobe for coats, nice shoes, waterproofs, etc. We also have a chest of drawers that we use as a console table but with extra layers stored inside. So really when I think about it, our hallway is basically a bedroom without the bed! 

2 years ago

We are in the New England area so there is precipitation across all 4 seasons. We are a shoes off family. We have a mudroom (shared with laundry room which is a real pain to me – need to be really careful not to drop wet clothes transferring from washer to dryer) off the garage. Shoes are left there as well as jackets. Two three-tier shoe racks (with a boot tray underneath) plus a shoe tower. There is also a utility closet in the mudroom and off-season shoes are moved there. With 4 people (2 adults-2 teens), there’s always a lot of shoes! I don’t mind if the shoes are left on the floor instead of put on the racks. There is also a skinny tall shelf – with a basket for each person for their gloves/hats. We use the front door to take out the dog so there is a boot tray on either side of the front door and a big rug (5 x 7). Big rug is machine washable. Shoes are taken off while on the rug (standing up) and there is a coat rack for jackets. There is a towel for the dog during rainy days.… Read more »

2 years ago

We are fortunate enough to have a mudroom and we use one of those wire utility shelves that you can get at any big box store for our shoes. Our problem is more of how do I get everyone (including myself) to not also leave shoes outside the front door, the back door, the side door, next to the trampoline….?

2 years ago

While it seems like a good idea, shoes in baskets are a nightmare. Especially if they are muddy. All it takes is one muddy sole to muck up every other shoe in there. Tiered stacks and boot trays work! Are boot racks upside down so the boots don’t fill with water when they are left outside?

2 years ago

I cannot recommend enough the LL Bean waterhog mats! I live in Ottawa, which ranges from hot summer (==sand), crisp fall (== leaves and mud), cold winter (== snow), and very little spring (ha!). The waterhog mats come in a ton of sizes and colours, and they really keep mess contained! Definitely worth the price, and I have tried many, many solutions over the years.

2 years ago

“Mud pups”!🤣🐾🐾🤣 I’ll bet they are!!
I have something similar to the hanging boot rack in my gardening shed (It’s actually part of the original wash house way out in thd back yard) only about 3 metres long. I keep all my gardening tools on it (electric cords, rakes, hedge trimmers, hoes, spades, electric chainsaw, all sorts!). It works brilliantly for this.

I dunno about boots outside… … but then I live in Australia, the land of creepy crawlies, including poisonous spiders. IF I ever kept my gumboots or other footwear outside, I’d have to use covers of some sort.
I know some farmers that collect shower caps from hotels and pop those over their wellies/gumboots that are left outside = no creepy crawlies in there for unsuspecting toes! 🦎🐍🕷🐜🦂

2 years ago

My door (only one) opens up into one of those L-shaped halls in the middle of the place. Walking in to the right it opens into the living room, and to the left is the hall closet’s wall and the bathroom door and a few feet down the bedroom door. There’s no room for any real landing pad because it’s not only the entrance it’s the hallway. I have 2 floor mats. One at the door and one under a coat rack. There’s a tall narrow Ikea shelf unit (they don’t sell anymore). The lower shelves are for shoes, in the middle are some of those bucket drawers for things like hats, sunscreen, keys, etc., and above are more shelves for odds and ends. I keep a wooden Ikea folding chair by the door in case of needing to sit. When not in use, it folds up out of the way. It’s less than ideal. Just a poorly laid out floorplan. Wouldn’t those inverted racks get all the wet muddy drippings onto one’s hands when putting the shoes on them. Also multi layer shoe racks seem like the ones above would drip into the ones below? Right now I don’t… Read more »

Reply to  anon

Wouldn’t those inverted racks get all the wet muddy drippings onto one’s hands when putting the shoes on them.” I thought this too. I wouldn’t want that.

2 years ago

It’s a constant struggle with the Portland weather. I agree with those who say get boot trays (you’re going to need more than one) you can hose off. Wellie hangers are a good idea. Honestly, I came to really love the Bogs ankle boot. Wellies are cute but you rarely actually need a knee high boot and they take up a lot of space, always falling over and looking messy. I like things to look orderly and what worked best, especially coming in and out alot to deal with animals on the farm, was to have a set pair of boots/jacket that is your go to, have them ready to go so you can hop in and out, and not have to much other pile up in the shoe/jacket area.

2 years ago

Similar to the LLBean mats others have mentioned, Crate&Barrel has similar door mats. I think they’re called thirsty dots. I’ve also bought some from another company years ago that I use outside on covered porches. They last forever. I also got a boot brush. It’s bolted to my back porch, so I can brush off dirt and mud, then use the mat for most of the moisture outside. There’s another mat inside where I remove my shoes/boots. And I don’t even live somewhere with a lot of mud or snow. The problem is getting my family to properly use the system.

2 years ago

Loving these comments and suggestions!

Alaskan and two 4-legged 80lb mud-magnets here.

I also recommend the waterhog style mats on the inside and outside of every exterior door, and boot scraper/brush on your way in.

Maybe it’s different in less frigid climates…but the idea of slipping my foot into a cold (or frozen!) slightly damp welly that’s been left outside is not an awesome experience.

With dogs I’ve found the really visually unappealing astroturf style exterior runners on the path into the house helps shake loose some of the debris prior and keeping their paw pad fur trimmed up reduces the volume of material their “paw mops” can collect.

I’m excited to hear what you land on!

Michele Paris
2 years ago
Reply to  Meg


2 years ago

Boot tray and shoe shelf in our small sunroom. Have an outdoor couch in the sunroom that my kids sit on to take shoes on and off.

2 years ago

The wood shoe racks and woven baskets are cute but if you live somewhere muddy/rainy/snowy they will get ruined by mud and water damage just fyi!

2 years ago

We leave them outside (all our shoes). Working in healthcare I can tell you how dirty the bottoms of your shoes are and I’ve never wanted that tracked into our home. Also, I don’t want a dirty/muddy mud room – I know…🤣
Instead I love having a porch we put a rack or tray and place our shoes on. Something easy enough to also hose off because it gets dirty. Shoe baskets gross me out and I don’t like digging through shoes to find mine. Also baskets and wire baskets allow dirt to fall through and as you slide them out of cabinetry it can scratch. In addition (bc we live in MN) where everyone has a garage – we have a whole shoe rack out there. Call me insane but the “nice” shoes that do live in our home, I sanitize the bottoms before they can come in. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Also I know…(when you work in and out of hospitals and clinics it wears on you) 🤣

2 years ago
Reply to  Lea

I should also state that our garage is attached to the house and heated so there is that. It’s easier to deal with and leave the shoes out there and they stay dry and warm in the cooler cold months.

Reply to  Lea

shoe baskets gross me out too. i hate touching bottoms of shoes, so i definitely don’t want to dig around in one.

2 years ago

Seems to me like the biggest pro for the inverted boot rack would be no boots falling over all over the place! I currently put my rain boots on a boot tray, but they are always falling over/ getting knocked over, which is quite annoying. I also have an Aussie who always steals shoes… I think that would make it much harder for him to grab my boots!

My biggest unsolved shoe issue is that I have a husband who runs and has multiple pairs of sneakers that are very stinky and wet at times. Ideally they could air out outside, but if I can get him to leave them outside, inevitably they get forgotten and rained on (our garage is not attached). What we need is some kind of storage solution that would allow them to air out but also protect them from the elements… I haven’t found anything yet.

2 years ago
Reply to  Katelyn

We dry wet or stinky shoes on a Pete shoe dryer. It is a lifesaver! Plastic boot trays aren’t pretty, but they contain the melting snow/mud/grit and are easy to hose off. Target and Bed Bath and Beyond usually have some that match neutral floors. We have enough to line around the foyer when company comes in winter. The front door isn’t blocked and my wood floors stay dry.