Are you afraid of doing laundry? Batteries growing out of control? Postponing it won’t make it go away. Let’s face it: dirty laundry is a reality. But doing laundry becomes less of a hassle when you have an efficient and pleasant space to do it. If you want to create a laundry room that not only looks good but works well, here are some tips to help you out.
Before attempting to organize the laundry room, do a complete purge of old and unused supplies. Throw out the misshapen hangers, the box of hardened laundry detergent, and all those unmatched socks you’ve been saving in hopes of a reunion. Any item that doesn’t belong in a laundry room can be placed in a ‘move elsewhere’ box for now and distributed to the appropriate room later.
Consider the various tasks that need to be done and create suitable venues for these activities. In addition to a washer, dryer, and sink, you’ll need an area for sorting, air drying, and ironing. You will also need a convenient storage area for supplies.
• Save time and trouble by having a laundry basket in each bedroom. The lightweight baskets with handles can be easily carried into the laundry room. Ventilated baskets allow clothes to breathe to prevent mold.
• Use a laundry sorter to divide your laundry into three basic groups: white, dark / colored, and delicate / hand washable. Invest in a lasting outlet; one with duffel bags hanging from a metal frame will hold up just fine.
• To prevent lost sock syndrome and make it easier to distribute clean socks to their rightful owners, give each family member a color-coded mesh laundry bag for their dirty socks. Wash and dry the socks while they are still in the bag. Then, put the bag of clean socks in each person’s laundry basket.
To air dry delicate items, use a retractable clothesline, a collapsible drying rack, or a shower curtain tension rod hung above the washer and dryer.
Iron with ease
If you have a front-loading washer and dryer, install a countertop over the folding machines. If you want to use it as a practical ironing surface, build the countertop out of MDF, stick some foam on top, and cover it with a heat-resistant candle cloth. Alternatively, you can install a hinged table that hangs on the wall and folds away when not in use; Hang the ironing board and iron on a hanger over the door to save space.
• Store laundry supplies in built-in cabinets or shelves above machines or in a separate unit nearby. For added comfort and safety, be sure to install them at a height where it won’t go too high – no more than about 6 inches above shoulder height.
• If space is tight, slide a slim wheeled cart into the space between the washer and dryer to store laundry supplies.
• Use wicker baskets or clear plastic containers to store dust cloths, mesh garment bags, and dryer sheets. Designate a basket for stain removers and sewing supplies (for quick repairs). Group items by type and label each container for easy access.
• A small-sized trash can on a shelf is a useful place to keep dryer lint or used dryer sheets until trash day.
• A small clear jar can act as a temporary place for loose change and buttons that mysteriously appear on machines after a load has been made.
More tips to save time
• Designate a laundry basket of a different color for each family member. Label it with your name so there is no confusion. When clean clothes come out of the dryer, put them in the appropriate basket. Take each person’s basket into their bedroom and ask them to fold and put away their things.
• Teach everyone in your household (over the age of ten or so) how to wash their own clothes. This is a life skill that everyone must learn eventually. Post the instructions on the wall for easy reference. If your children are too young, get them involved by helping them match socks or fold towels.
Now that you’ve made your laundry room functional, reward yourself by making it aesthetically pleasing too. Paint it a cheerful color, add a colorful rug, and hang something decorative on the wall.
Following these simple tips will take the blues out of your laundry day, making the task faster, easier, and more enjoyable. Once you’ve created an attractive, functional space with easy access to all your supplies, you’ll spend less time doing laundry and more time enjoying life.