Transform that busy dump zone by your door into a high-efficiency entry that adapts to every season.

1 Top shelf A high shelf keeps gear accessible but also up and out of the way. Keep it low enough that smaller adults can reach without a step stool.

2 Off the bench You don't need seating for three here. Put the space to better use by cutting the bench short and replacing it with storage and a flat surface for setting mail or keys.

Mudroom entryway

3 Hats off Corral all the summer caps in a basket overhead. When fall comes, trade out the contents for a backup stash of warm hats and gloves (you can never have too many).

4 Safety first Keep sunscreen, bug spray and a first-aid kit for backyard scrapes together. Double up on most-used items, so if one tube goes on an outing, another remains at the house.

Mudroom detail

5 Tray chic Use trays or dishes to hold the small stuff that inevitably collects by doors-sunglasses, loose change, keys. Just as in the kitchen, allowing yourself one hide-everything drawer can be a blessing.

6 Framed fun We've packed lots of utility into this entryway. But one thing is pure fun-the framed paper. Every few months, jot a new bucket list of activities your crew wants to accomplish that season. After all, this harried to-and-fro space in your home is also the one where every family adventure starts.

Mudroom detail

7 High and dry Never mind the linen closet: Store beach towels by the door where you need them when you're dashing to the pool or lake.

Mudroom detail

8 Keep by the door Hair ties and bobby pins; pool and park passes; portable snacks; change for meters; reusable shopping bags; spare charging cords; compact umbrellas

9 Quick glance Find a spot to tuck a clock and small mirror for checking time and makeup before you run out the door.

10 Pop a wheelie Attach casters to a shallow box so it can roll out from under the bench for easy rummaging. Use it to stow favorite toys and sports gear or stray pairs of shoes. In winter, line it with a towel or newspaper to absorb drips from slushy boots.

Mudroom detail

11 Stock a pet zone Fuel up: Stow a canister of treats in one of your compartments for taking on walks for training. Have a collapsible water bowl handy for trips. Wash: Always be ready with an old towel for muddy paws, plus dry dog shampoo (such as Burt's Bees) for a refresh after outdoor play. Play: Keep loose essentials out of view in a basket: leashes, disposal bags and dog toys (don't forget floating ones for water play).

Dodger in mudroom
He's just 10 weeks old, but Dodger knows an inviting entry when he sees it!