Love it or hate it, laundry is a task that everyone must do. In fact, many of us spend hours a week handling this function. Therefore, it is worth taking time to maximize both the efficiency and visual appeal of your laundry space. Here are my suggestions:
BE SURE TO HAVE THE BASIC NECESSITIES…
- Washing machine
Regardless of where it is in your home, it is always a good idea to put a drain in the floor in case the machine breaks, leaks, or overflows. If you laundry is upstairs, it is a must.
Be sure to properly vent the machine, and periodically clean out the dryer exhaust with a brush or vacuum. Also, clean out the lint tray before each use. Dryer lint is highly flammable (a fact I learned when I was asked to bring it to a Girl Scout overnight to help get the fire going!)
- Place for hanging clothes
This can be a wall-mounted rack, a rod anchored between cabinets, or a rack that sits on the floor. You can even install a few hooks from which you can hang waterproof hangers. Keep a small bin or basket of clothespins on or near the rack.
- Horizontal space
Sweaters and delicate items often need to be laid flat to dry. This can be a section of a counter or even on top of a machine.
- Mesh Bag for holding delicates
Have a bag or two that you can use for keeping delicate items safe when in the washing machine.
A variety of tools are needed for cleaning garments, including detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, stain fighters, and bleach. Establish a location where these supplies will live, such as in a cabinet or on a shelf. If you are space constrained, you can keep small containers in the primary laundry area, and the larger/refill containers in another location.
- Location for “single” socks
We all have these, and the missing mate often shows up. Designate a hold area into which you can quickly toss singletons while you wait. This can be a basket, bag, or series of clothespins on the wall.
- “Lost and Found” spot
Frequently, small items get left in pockets and end up coming loose during the laundering process. Have a dish or jar nearby for collecting anything you find, such as change, collar stays, thumb drives, cash, cuff links, jewelry, erasers, etc. If someone complains about a missing object, you will know exactly where to look.
- Sink or bucket
Periodically, it is necessary to pre-soak or hand wash garments. It is handy to have a sink in the laundry room, but if you don’t have space, keep a bucket nearby. When needed, squirt some laundry soap into the bucket, add the garment, and then carry it to a sink to complete the process.
- Trash can
If for no other reason than to hold the dryer lint, it is helpful to have an easily accessible trash can.
Anytime you have water, it is smart to have towels within reach. Keep a couple on a shelf or hook for the unexpected. They are also useful for spreading underneath items that need to be laid flat to dry.
IF YOU CAN, ADD THESE…
- Folding surface
Designate some space where you will be comfortable folding clothes. This space should be large and flat, and also be a location where a basket of clothing can sit without disrupting family activities. A counter works well, but you can also fold on a bed or table.
Hampers should live where you take off your clothes (e.g. a bedroom or bathroom.) When it is time to do laundry, you need a way to relocate the dirty clothes to the laundry area, either via portable hampers or laundry baskets. Once the laundry is gathered, it is nice to have a sorter so you can quickly categorize pieces for washing. Sorters can also “hold” clothes while you are waiting to compile a large enough load.
EXTRA TIP: If you know a garment has a stain, hang it over the edge of the hamper/sorter to remind yourself to pre-treat it.
- Ironing board and iron
If you iron frequently, establish a convenient location to keep your board and iron, such as an over-the-door or wall-mounted rack, or a built-in fold-down option . If space is tight, consider a tabletop board.
Many laundry supplies can hang on the wall, including ironing boards, mesh bags, hangers, and towels. Be sure to look around your space and add some hooks wherever you can. Pegboard or other wall-mounted storage can also be a nice solution.
- Stain chart
These are easy to print out and hang on the inside of a cabinet door or on the wall. Here is a good one from Martha Stewart.
- Storage Jar
If you use laundry pods or clothespins, a nice way to store them is in a glass jar with a lid.
- Folding board
If having clothing folded “just so” is important to you, tuck a board such as this next to your dryer or in your folding area.
Keep these on hand for stray threads, hanging tags, and other uses. If you lack a drawer or counter space, run a string through one handle and hang them on the wall.
CONSIDER FINISHING TOUCHES…
- Visual appeal
This isn’t necessary, but since we spend a lot of time here, it is nice to make the space pleasant. Consider adding something that will make the space enjoyable, such as a piece of artwork, a few favorite photos, a window, or even just a cheery paint color.
- Sewing kit
We are most likely to spot a loose button or ripped seam while doing laundry, so this is a good place to keep a mending kit or sewing basket, along with your button jar.
Again, this isn’t required, but it is handy to be able to glance up and keep track of the time.
Inevitably, the phone rings when you head to the laundry room. Consider a portable unit, and maybe also an extra charger for your cell phone.
A FEW VISUALS TO GET YOU MOTIVATED…
What helps you “love” your laundry?