Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Tale of the Wet-Mitten Takeover & How They Were Defeated

Well, winter finally came. With it comes the plethora of mittens, hats and scarves needed for three kids. And so begins the daily battle of what to do with all this stuff.

Some moms find those pocket organizers you can hang on your door a good solution. And it is, if your kids keep their mittens and such dry. My kids don't. Their stuff gets wet. Very, very wet. And thick mittens take FOREVER to dry.

For many years, our solution was to toss it all on the various large heating grates around the house. Which means they are in the way and getting scattered all over, while we all freeze because the vents are down to a quarter of their capacity.

"Mudroom" is an ambitious name we use for a tiny little space between the kitchen and entry, about 5' x 5', off of which is the bathroom, the kitchen and the great outdoors. So there's no place for a drying rack.

I saw the solution in an issue of Handyman Magazine a few years ago.  A reader submitted his idea for utilizing wall space to handle all this wet gear. Wall space I don't have either, but I do have the back of the door. Bingo!

The reader used a permanent installation of eye hooks and wire. If you want to look at it all year, this will work well. Me, well, I don't need that reminder of winter in the middle of summer, so I use a strictly utilitarian, temporary method: nylon twine and 3M hooks. It isn't pretty, but it works. If you care about the aesthetics, use some of the pretty 3M hooks and the colored butchers twine.

Begin by placing your hooks in rows, lining up both vertically and horizontally. Use a level if you really care about it being straight. As you see in the photos, I don't really care. Add a hook in the middle (or more if you are going wider), which will help bear the weight and lessen sag when loaded with gear. If you are using a wall and have more horizontal space, you can add more hooks than I have here.

Tie the end of your string to the upper leftmost hook and thread it horizontally to the next hook and wrap the string around it. Then continue to the next hook(s) in a row. At the end, you can either tie off and do the next row just like the first, or, as I do, you can run your string down to the next row, wrap and head the other direction. The particular string I had on hand unravels and it's a pain to tie, so I try to keep the need to knot to a minimum. And I've actually used the vertical runs, too.

Once all your hooks are covered with line, you can hang your gear with clothes pins. Voila! Drying mittens, hats and scarves. Oh, and you'll be able to find them again in a rush to get to school. Bonus!

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