We did it! I finished up the closet-to-mudroom transformation, and I have to say I am totally loving it. I may have to take a better picture later, because this really doesn't do it justice. But, as other working parents I'm sure understand, I had to work on this after my son went to bed, so my excited photographing took place at 9 pm, when the lighting wasn't very good. So here's the breakdown on what we did, how long it took and how much it cost.
We started by purging out the closet, probably the longest part of the process. We had twice as many coats in the closet before, but several were ones we never wear. Same with the shoes. We donated a bunch, and pared it down to just a few. This took us a couple weeks, because cleaning the closet isn't the most fun chore. Cost: Free.
Then I shopped for storage. I wanted a basket for shoes, but nothing in the stores was catching my eye. Then I hit up a thrift store, and found a big wicker basket (at right) for $5.99. It was perfect! I also wanted three storage bins for the top shelf of the closet to store reusable shopping bags and seasonal items. After much hunting (storage bins are so expensive! Most I liked were $20 a piece!) I found these on clearance at Target for $6.98. They're dark brown and have a rim of green, which matches the green paint color. What a happy accident! The shopping took a couple weeks too. Cost: $26.93
The closet was obviously in need of paint, and originally I'd planned to color match the fabric we used to reupholster our arm chair. When I went into the store to do that, I found mistinted paint was free! I found a green that was close enough, and snapped it up. Once I put it on the walls, I really loved it. It's more sage than it looked on the swatch, but it really works and is nice and soothing. I also found a mistinted off white to use to paint the bench. It took me about two or three days to paint the closet. I also had to paint the baseboards and inside trim. Thankfully, I had leftover trim paint. Cost: $9.99 for brushes, rollers and supplies. The free paint really helped!
I wanted to include a small bench to sit and put on shoes. We had this end table sitting in our bedroom closet that used to serve as a night stand. It was oak and had a gass top. I removed the glass and painted it off-white. I took a piece of foam I had leftover from another project and used the glass as a template to make a seat cushion. I took some leftover black and white toile fabric from when I made our kitchen curtains, wrapped the foam and pinned it together. It took one evening to do the whole thing. I listened to election results as I painted, and then I spent about 10 minutes making the cushion. Cost: Completely free!
A mudroom obviously requires a place to hang coats. The closet originally had a bar for hanging stuff. I took that down, left the shelf up, and then installed a coat rack we bought at Ikea for $9.99. The closet had one hook installed on the top right side, and I added two more hooks ($4.99 at Ikea for a pack of two) - one at the same level as the hook on the right side, which I am using to hang my purse and diaper bag, and another I hung on a small part of the wall at kiddie hight, so my son can hang up his coat himself. This took one night. Cost: $14.98.
So there you have it. We have a really functional entry way now, and it only cost us a grand total of $52! I am so excited. It's clean, it looks nice, and my husband is actually hanging up his coat now. Hooray!