The One with the Mudroom

Do you remember the first time your teacher asked you to draw a house on a sheet of paper?

Most of the houses we drew then were made of four elements: a small box and a small rectangle which were both inside a huge box, and a triangle on top of the huge box. These serve as the window, door, wall, and roof, respectively. Back then, this was quite the masterpiece we can produce, although admittedly, it looked like everybody else’s.

Who among us even drew a tree beside this house and a sun on the upper right hand side of the paper, with the requisite puffy cotton candy-like clouds to finish?

Such were times when conceptualizing a house was as easy as putting together a few shapes on paper.

In our respective Home Economics classes in elementary and high school, this task became more challenging as we were asked to enumerate and draw the parts of the house. This time, we drew the living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and dining room the best way we know how – like the ones in our own houses.

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A few weeks ago, we found our way to our very first #NeatProject in Laguna. It felt so refreshing to finally head South, as most of our past projects are Northbound.

The house sits in a vast area where it’s all so quiet and peaceful, you’d really feel you’re out of the metro. We enjoyed the moments where there was little to no traffic, and the air was fresh. Little did we know we were in for a more pleasant surprise:

The house looked like it was pulled out straight from a magazine.

Before I move further, allow me to mention that the house is organized to begin with. Items were already sorted. The owner just asked us if there’s still a way to improve the way things are stored in the house.

In today’s generation where professionals have the option to work from home, we can’t help but build specialty areas in our homes where we can fulfil our tasks without compromising the movement in the other areas of the house. Good examples of these specialty areas are home offices and homeschool areas. I wonder how many specialty areas a Home Economics teacher encounters from children’s drawings nowadays. Some outputs may even bear a father’s man cave, a mother’s she shed, a sister’s reading nook, a brother’s car or collectibles museum, or a family’s entertainment room.

In this dreamy house in Laguna, there were a number of specialty rooms, but the house did not feel crowded at all. As we were spending the day in it, I realized how impactful it is to have a well-thought of space. The house spoke volumes of how mindful its owners were, because they know what they want and they live within their ideals. What was initially drawn in their heads and on paper came to life very beautifully.

A specialty area in a house is a functional room, assigned a specific task the way a kitchen is for food preparation and a dining room is for dining; needless to say, it should not consume a precious space in a house to serve only as a decoration. It is a physical translation of the owner’s personality, hobbies, and priorities that the owner actually uses and benefits from.

I couldn’t choose which specialty area, or which area in this house for that matter, is my favorite. But let me tell you that their mud room really caught my attention.

BEFORE #NeatProject

While this mud room is picture-perfect, believe me: it’s more functional than it is aesthetic.

A mud room, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, is “a room in the house designed especially for the shedding of dirty or wet footwear and clothing and located typically off the kitchen or in the basement.”

Although this particular mud room we are talking about is neither in the kitchen nor in the basement, nor does it have any wet footwear on the day of our project, it serves the purpose the family intended it to have nonetheless.

AFTER #NeatProject

Because of the shelving, the family’s shoes are properly housed. Because of its strategic position in the house, the owners would not find it difficult to look for shoes whenever they will step out of the house. Items which are needed everyday or needed to be grabbed before the owners step out their door are in this same area: shoe cleaners, coats, hats, sports accessories, and pet accessories. Like in every part of this house, this mud room has its own scheduled cleaning, too.

It was all properly planned, and the proper planning displayed by this area extends to the other parts of their home, too.

PANTRY

OFFICE

BEDROOMS

When closets are not full to the brim, drawers can easily be opened, things have a designated space – it is easy to execute a system. When there’s a system in place, your motivation to do the things you need to do is set to high. Imagine:

You easily identify things in your storage bins.

You locate the board game you need in a few seconds.

You know which drawer to open when you look for coffee in the kitchen.

You instinctively look at the right shelf where a particular book is located.

You know which file case to grab when you need a specific document.

Your mind is put at ease.

Your heart is more inspired to go beyond the things that need to get done.

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Do you have a specialty area in your home?

Having a specialty area in your house helps define who you are. It gives a more personalized touch to your house. Like what I always say, adding that dream space in our house is always possible. All we need is imagination and drive to execute the dream space we always wanted in our homes.

I think I also have to highlight here that some specialty areas do not really require their own room. If your space allows that your home office is right inside your bedroom, then go for it. However, you have to make sure that you are comfortable and happy with this decision, and you also consulted the other members of the household – your spouse or your kids – regarding this.

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Our Home Economics teachers do not just want us to familiarize ourselves with the parts of the house just so we can tell them apart. They also taught us how each of these rooms function. In hindsight, this small activity on drawing the house and its parts laid the very foundation of homemaking in our young minds.

Whether or not we thought of drawing specialty rooms back then, we thought of a place to go home to and customized it the way our freedom of imagination allowed. Back then, it was enough. Right now, it’s time to make those dreams happen, not necessarily by purchasing things or by renovating the entire house, but by a little rearranging, imagining, and organizing… in truth, these three things put together go a long way.

When these dreams come true, we go back to the people who initiated the tasks that bridged our young minds us to the very things we want to achieve in life.

This may be weeks late, but I believe it is always relevant:

Thank you, teachers, for the contribution you made in our lives. You helped us draw our own dreams, and encouraged us to live the life that is not just a copy of everybody else’s.

Happy World Teachers’ Day to one of our favorite superheroes most especially to MY WORLD’s best teacher, my Inay. ♥️