Do you dread doing laundry? Are batteries growing out of control? Putting it off won’t make it go away. Let’s face it: dirty laundry is a fact of life. But doing laundry becomes a less tedious task when you have an efficient and pleasant room to do it. If you want to create a laundry room that not only looks good but also works well, here are some tips to help you.
Before attempting to organize the laundry room, thoroughly purge old and unused supplies. Toss out the misshapen hangers, the box of hardened laundry detergent, and all those mismatched socks you’ve been saving up in hopes of a reunion. Any items that don’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 places for these activities. In addition to a washer, dryer, and sink, you’ll need an area for sorting, air-drying, and ironing. You’ll also need a convenient storage area for supplies.
• Save time and trouble by keeping a laundry basket in every bedroom. The lightweight baskets with handles can be easily carried to the laundry room. Ventilated baskets let clothes breathe to prevent mildew.
• Use a clothes sorter to divide dirty clothes into three basic groups: white, dark/colored, and delicate/hand washable. Invest in a sustainable species; one with canvas bags hanging from a metal frame will hold up just fine.
• To avoid 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, folding clothesline, or 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 above the folding machines. If you want to use it as a handy ironing surface, build the countertop out of MDF, glue some foam on top, and cover it with heat-resistant tarp. Alternatively, you can install a hinged table that hangs on the wall and folds down 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 both convenience and safety, be sure to install them at a height where you won’t reach too far: no more than 6 inches above shoulder height.
• If space is tight, slide a slim rolling 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 laundry 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 trash can on a shelf is a handy place to store dryer lint or used dryer sheets until garbage day.
• A small clear jar can act as a temporary home 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 in a different color for each family member. Label it with its name so there is no confusion. As the clean clothes come out of the dryer, place them in the corresponding basket. Deliver each person’s basket to their bedroom and ask them to fold and put away their things.
• Teach everyone in your house (over ten years old) how to do their own laundry. This is a life skill that everyone needs to learn eventually. Post the instructions on the wall for easy reference. If your kids 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 as well. Paint it a cheerful color, add a colorful rug, and hang something decorative on the wall.
Following these simple tips will eliminate the laundry day blues, making the task faster, easier and more enjoyable. Once you’ve created an attractive and functional space with easy access to all your supplies, you’ll spend less time doing laundry and more time enjoying life.