The laundry room is probably the most overlooked functional space when it comes to organization. Many families treat the laundry room as emergency “out of sight, out of mind” storage or for anything that doesn’t have a designated place elsewhere. Taking some time to carefully plan out and organize the laundry room may prove to be a long-term time saver as well as a way to remove some of the clutter that diminishes your enjoyment of your home.
Most people start by looking at the spaces around their appliances, but it is a better idea to look directly at the washer and dryer and make some decisions about them before doing anything else.
Are they too big for the loads that you are running? Are they old and inefficient in water, energy, and time use? Could you replace them with a stacked unit to free up space? On front-loading machines, would reversing the door to open the other way make loading and unloading easier?
When considering the appliances, take a few minutes to think about the sink, if you have one, as well as where you store and use your ironing board. Ask similar questions about the sink as you did for the washer/dryer and consider mounting a pull-down ironing board on the wall or door to save space.
Identify Storage Needs
Before you run out to buy high end storage containers, bins, and cabinets, take an honest assessment of what you need to store in your laundry room and where it will go. Laundry supplies should be in a cabinet or shelf near the machines while general cleaning supplies may go under the sink or in a separate closet or cabinet. Many families use the laundry room to store off-season clothing, pet supplies, sporting equipment or even convert part of the room into a food pantry.
Once you know what you’re going to store, you can make choices about what types of storage you need and begin to put together a coordinated plan.
Remember It’s a LAUNDRY Room
Your goal isn’t to make a general purpose storage room. You need to be able to do all the tasks associated with laundry here with storage as a secondary purpose. Make sure you have counter space for folding clothes. If there isn’t room to install a counter, you can purchase a folding table, add a pull-down counter, or have waterproof board that you can put over your sink to convert it into a counter.
To save time on sorting laundry, install several hampers clearly labeled for darks, lights, and whites and get everyone to sort their own dirty clothes into the appropriate bins.
You will also want to consider what drying system will work best for your needs. You can install an indoor clothesline, use a collapsible drying rack, or buy a portable rack. You can even put a rod across the doorway for hanging clothes while they dry.
If you find yourself with too many tubs of off-season clothing or other general storage bins and boxes, consider moving these to an attic, basement, or garage or even renting a self-storage unit.
One last tip: Designate a bin in the laundry room as your household’s “lost and found.” Since you will undoubtedly find more than loose change when you empty pockets, it makes sense to put all found items together and teach your family where to look.