Loving Laundry

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.

  • Dryer

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.

  • Storage

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.

  • Towels/rags

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/baskets/sorter

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.

  • Hooks

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.

  • Scissors

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.

  • Clock

Again, this isn’t required, but it is handy to be able to glance up and keep track of the time.

  • Phone

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…

swivel towel rod to hold wet clothes
ikea.com
Clothespins to hold single socks
Decorganizercrafts.blogspot.com
long hooks to hold clothing
bhg.com
laundry room
marthastewart.com

What helps you “love” your laundry?

26 thoughts on “Loving Laundry”

    1. I think they are inevitable pretty much everywhere. I always laugh when a singleton shows up a year later… never ceases to amaze me! I thought that was a cute solution as well:)

  1. My dream is to have one big room to do laundry in. Right now, I have decent space, but I would love a whole designated area to wash, dry and fold and then separate into baskets depending on whose rooms things go in.

    1. Yes, a full laundry room is a luxury. Many of us do laundry is smaller nooks, often in a basement or less-than ideal space. Nonetheless, having laundry access at all is a wonderful thing, and if you can make an improvement here or there, even with a couple of hooks or a photo, it can actually have a big impact. You never know, Amberly… maybe some day your laundry room will be in a photo somewhere:)

    1. Exactly, Jill. I was shocked to see how easily it lit up at camp, and that it was widely known that this was the “secret weapon” for campfire starting. I’ve bee diligent ever since. It is an easy thing to do, but sometimes we get lazy. Now I know, it just isn’t worth the risk!

    1. Your machine reminds you digitally to clean your lint filter? That is pretty amazing… no such luck over here, but I think that is an excellent idea. I hear you on the bra costs – I took two young adult daughters bra shopping and couldn’t believe what it all cost!

  2. What a thorough evaluation of laundry! I love that this has been processed to evaluate where you might get stuck. Many times it’s an issue with the tools that holds people back. The folding table idea is brilliant because it gives you an easy to fold spot. I love all the hooks and hanging spots because delicates can be a problem for drying. By analyzing your laundry area, you will knock out laundry regularly.

    1. Writing a post like this is always a bit of a challenge since everyone has such unique needs and spaces. I never want to “over simplify” and make it sound like everyone can have a perfectly gorgeous laundry room. However, we do spend a lot of time in this space, and I find many clients are working around unnecessary obstacles when it comes to their laundry room. A few small changes really can make a big difference! Thanks for the comment, Ellen:)

  3. This would be a great list for a young couple with a new house! I have the two bases that go under the front loaders and sometimes I think about moving them somewhere so my husband could build a folding table on top. However, then I think how that would just become a drop zone instead of a folding space! Maybe I’ll try it one of these years!

    1. I’ve had that thought about a list for people just starting out, whether as a single, young couple, or even someone re-establishing a home after a death or divorce. Maybe a book in the making? Those bases are both a blessing and a curse.. I’ve had SO MANY conversations with clients about those, and whether they are worth it or not. I see the positives, but I also see the benefit of having a counter on top.

  4. Getting laundry done (the complete cycle including folding and putting it away) is often a big issue for many families that I work with. They often get stuck in one part of the process. Like they may be fine with the washing part, but then the clean laundry just waits without getting folded. Or they might be great with the washing and folding, but have issues with putting the laundry away. The structure you laid out for the actual room (with all the fun accessories) is a great base to work from.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…How to Use “Dumpster Envy” to Get MotivatedMy Profile

    1. I run into the same struggles all the time, and for understandable reasons. Maybe the washer and dryer are in the basement, but no one wants to stay down there and fold. Or in some cases, there is just a stack unit and no place to stage the clothes during the process. There is no simple formula, but being aware of the basic building blocks can be helpful, if for no other reason than to help identify where the problems lie.

  5. Hi Seana! I love the idea of the magnetic towel holder on the side of the machine. Totally genius. This is one area in my house that needs a makeover, but now that half of my kids are gone, it doesn’t seem to be that urgent anymore. Pinning your post and these great ideas for future! Thanks so much for stopping by and for linking up with us at Brag About It!

    1. I can relate, Laurie. When my children were little and all I did was laundry, my machines were in a dirty basement. By the time I upgraded, my kids were doing their own laundry. But I have to confess… I love the new space, and it was worth it!

  6. You have got everything covered for a beautifully functional laundry room. I have many of the features you listed in my laundry room, but not a folding surface. Well, some day, I hope.

  7. I’ve never really minded doing laundry, but now that I’m in an apartment, I miss the freedom and flexibility of having my own laundry room. We’ve made it easier by doing our laundry at the same time every week, at a time when not many others are doing it, even if it’s just one load. It’s usually two, but if it’s more than that we just keep some back for the next time because we can only carry two loads at a time, and we’ll always catch up in a week or two.
    Janet Barclay recently posted…7 Ways to Get More Value from Every Blog You PostMy Profile

    1. There is no doubt that having convenient laundry is a luxury! Having a routine like this makes the whole process easier, not only because you’ve limited the loads you carry, but also because it gives you a rhythm to the whole process. This is important for ongoing tasks, as without it you can feel like you are always “running behind.” Great suggestion!

  8. These are awesome tips! Organizing your laundry room will make it so much easier to keep up with everyone’s belongings. Nice work! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas on this!

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