Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Laundry Room Organization

Organizing a laundry room can be a challenge for many families. The biggest issue is having enough space. When I sat out to revamp my laundry room, I took to Pinterest. I quickly became disappointed as everyone seemed to have giant laundry rooms. Our old house had no laundry room, just the washer and dryer set up in the kitchen, with no doors or even a way to hide it with a curtain. When we moved here, I fell in love with the laundry room. It seemed very spacious, was tucked away in a corner, and had a door to hide all my dirty clothes.
Then I started putting stuff in the laundry room. It got smaller by the minute.

Finding a good inspiration for my laundry room was nearly impossible. Everything was either for tiny laundry closets or what seemed like laundry mansions. I had to get creative.

As with all my projects, it started with a list. What did I absolutely need to have in there? What would be nice to have? What were my problem areas that needed a little help? Once I figured out a general idea of what I needed and wanted, I set out to find products to fit my needs.

I knew I wanted more storage, but finding something to fit in the space was a challenge. I ended up getting an old dresser and cutting a piece of the back corner off so it would fit properly. I had originally just stuck it between the washer and dryer, but then inevitably stuff would fall behind it and I would have to pull everything out to reach it. Cutting it wasn't my first thought, and certainly not the prettiest solution, but without the help of my husband or power tools, it got the job done. Now it serves a purpose without creating more hassle for me later.

What exactly to put in each drawer and how to organize it required a little thought, but I went back to my list and assessed my needs and wants. Suddenly I knew just what I wanted to do.



Laundry Supplies. Between making my own laundry detergent and dryer sheets, and all the various products we keep around, I needed a place to store them all without piling them on my valuable shelf space. The top drawer was the perfect place to hide everything but keep it accessible.

Cleaning Supplies. Again, I make my own and have a plethora of products on hand. All those little items needed a home, but I needed them in reach of my kids. Now when they get ready to do their chores, they don't have to hunt for the right supplies or ask for help to get them down from the shelf.

Dog Supplies. We don't have a ton of pet stuff, but the extra leash, training pads for car rides, and grooming supplies needed a home. Half a drawer was plenty of space, and she couldn't get to it to chew on everything.

Cleaning Rags. I love rags. I have tons of them. Microfiber for cleaning, larger ones for kitchen messes, and a giant pile of perfectly-12-by-12 white rags for hygiene and grooming. I also like to keep them separate. Now all of my cleaning rags are together, and near the cleaners, for easy access and use.

Outgrown Clothes. I've used many different systems over the years to deal with outgrown clothes. When my oldest son outgrows something, I keep it for my younger son. But when my younger two outgrow things, I pass them on to friends. Giving them one shirt at a time doesn't make much sense, but having piles of old clothes around isn't ideal either. A drawer in the laundry room was the perfect solution. Once the clothes come out of the dryer, they get sorted. When I see something that has been outgrown or was looking a little too tight last week, I fold it and put it in the drawer. When the drawer gets full, I move my son's clothes to keep to a tote in the garage, and the others I give to a friend. Now I have an empty drawer and can start all over. The clothes are handy (which is great for when our friends come to visit and need an extra change of clothes or jacket on cool nights), but out of the way and organized. Everything is clean, folded, and ready to go. I think this is my favorite part of my laundry room.

Then comes the actual laundry. There are six people in my home. Two adults with very messy jobs. Three kids who love to get dirty. Two kids who still wet the bed. A dog that has a mind of her own. And a Mommy who has to clean up after it all. We have a LOT of laundry. We used to spend hours sorting everything before we washed, only to have it ruined when the clean clothes piled up because I hadn't had time to put them away. Now, everyone has their own dirty AND clean laundry basket. My roommate keeps his stuff in his room, so his laundry doesn't end up mixed in with everyone else's.

I opted for one of the laundry sorters with a hanging rack. This makes the entire process much easier. I can hang dry items as needed, and I have a place to hang up clean clothes when I folding and putting everything away. My ironing board is mounted to the back of my laundry room door, so it's easy to hang up freshly ironed clothes. Each person has their own basket, and of course, everything is labeled in the correct color. We have a "house" basket for towels, sheets, and blankets. We have tons of towels and they really needed their own place.





(Almost) everyone puts away their own laundry. My youngest needs a little help, and I take care of mine and my husbands. My oldest son and I take turns with towels and blankets. This system makes my life so much easier. Everything is sorted before and after washing, which makes finding mates to socks and the right person's underwear much simpler. When it's time for clothes to be put away, each child takes their basket to the living room where they can spread out, and they hang up or fold all their clothes and get them put away. The clean baskets go back on the frame. I have an extra bag or two in case one tears or needs washing. I keep my hanger holders next to the baskets in the laundry room, so there's no running around and hunting for anything when it's time to work- everything is at hand.

Limited shelf space. This is a problem in most laundry rooms, I'm sure. I have one really long shelf, which is wonderful at times. But it's not very deep and one bottle of laundry detergent is about all you can squeeze on there. I keep all my detergent on one side, then the occasional bottle of bleach or fabric softener in the middle. My big boxes of detergent supplies hide in the corner, since they only get used every few weeks. This is where I utilize the top of the dresser. I keep a small trashcan for lint and the inevitable stickers my daughter puts everywhere. I have a small bin for found items in the dryer or pockets, belts, and other items that shouldn't go through the wash. When the laundry is done, I move belts and clothing items to clean laundry baskets, and have the kids return the other items to their proper homes.



Finishing touches and little details. I wish I had more space to add decorations and make it look nicer, but you work with what you've got. I keep a measuring cup hanging by the washer for detergent, along with a list of instructions and sizes for when somebody is helping out, like my son or husband. A couple "plants" in the window, okay, just pretty pots with some dead grass. I have a black thumb and none of my laundry room plants survived. I use a marker to label settings on the washer for my son, it comes right off with a magic eraser when I clean the machine. A hook for the giant lint-trap cleaning brush. A small set of tools for quick fixes. One of these days I'll make some decor to tie it all together.


And that's it! An organized laundry room with everything I need to keep my family clothed. Do you have any tips to add? Is your laundry room in need of some help or is it more like those laundry mansions on Pinterest?