The laundry room has come into its own as an inviting space, even one to show off rather than relegate to the basement.
Being creative with paint, wallpaper, tiles, and even bold-colored appliances are all ways to imprint this often-overlooked space with your own personal style.
But, even though the current trend is for laundry rooms to have a non-utilitarian air about them, the bottom line is that these are still work spaces, much like a home office, and as such, how they’re organized is just as important as how they look.
Organizing a laundry room runs the gamut from sorting dirty laundry by type in hampers to hanging freshly laundered pieces of clothing that require drip-drying on a rack.
It also means allocating space to detergents, softeners, bleach, and other wash-day essentials like dryer sheets and lint rollers. Storing an iron and ironing board in the laundry room is also a great idea.
If you’re kicking off 2021 with some cleaning and organizing, and want to get started in the laundry room, here are a few ways to make the most of your space.
Sort your laundry
For peak efficiency, start the sorting process before the dirty clothes even get to the laundry room.
Mindy Godding, owner of Abundance Organizing in Virginia, and Jennifer Truesdale, owner of STR8NUP in Charleston, South Carolina, are board members of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). Both women recommend using a several-section cart on wheels that you can roll right up to the washing machine. These can be kept in bedroom closets in place of a single hamper where everything gets thrown in willy-nilly.
Godding says, “Four compartments allow you to sort darks, lights, towels and delicates,” about the Rebrilliant four-section laundry sorter she recommends.
Truesdale likes the Simple Houseware heavy-duty three-bag laundry sorter cart, each bag of which holds 13 gallons of laundry.
And, in sync with the warm-metal toned washers and dryers we’re seeing more of, this three-bag sorter comes in bronze.
Truesdale also has an ingenious, inexpensive solution for never losing socks again. Purchase zippered, mesh lingerie bags to attach to laundry hampers with a clothespin.
“When you take off your socks,” she says, “put them in the lingerie bag. That way they can go in the washer all together and transfer straight to the dryer and never mysteriously disappear.”
Maximize baskets and bin storage
If using traditional laundry baskets is more your style, purchase several of the same type that can nest within each other when not in use.
Houston interior designer Marie Flanigan says, “A laundry room should be functional, first and foremost.” She often opts for custom open shelving designed to hold laundry baskets.
Janet Shiesl, NAPO board member and owner of Basic Organization, which serves the Washington, D.C. area, suggests that if you’re short on square-footage, collapsible laundry baskets are extremely practical and can be stored in a small space next to your machines or in between your washer and dryer. These user-friendly containers pop up to open when using, and they collapse flat to store.
Similarly, a collapsible foot stool can be stored within the narrow space between your washer and dryer. This ultra-slim Polder stool folds flat to just 1-1/4” width.
Matching storage containers, whether identical wire baskets or a set of woven ones, gives a nice uniform look to open shelves. Use them for freshly laundered and folded towels or to store miscellaneous laundry-day must-haves.
Take advantage of multifunctional, vertical space
Just as you might use a pegboard to hang a hammer or trowel in an organized shed, mounting one in the laundry room will keep the space from devolving into shambles.
Hang items like a lint roller, scrub brushes and scissors from the pegboard so you can easily grab what you need.
Or go in an even simpler direction. Interior designer Danielle Matthies of Homes by Tradition in Lakeville, Minnesota, says, “If you have an unused wall in your laundry room, and you’re looking for a little extra storage or hanging space, a row of hooks is easy for anyone to incorporate.”
Another good use for a wall hook in a laundry room is for hanging an in-the-way ironing board. Or, consider an over-the-door ironing board that can be mounted to the back of your laundry room door.
Custom shelving and cabinetry are always an option if your budget allows, but you can get the same result by using a freestanding bookshelf unit to store any supplies you don’t need as often up top and keep your favorites within reach.
A wall shelf with a towel bar incorporated can be used for organizing standard laundry room items as well as hanging pieces of clothing that need to air dry.
Racks offer drying space when you need it
Pottery Barn goes one step better, topping its collapsible drying rack with a top shelf that provides extra storage space for spray bottles and other necessities.
If you have the space and want a rack that you can move around, consider a portable rack that can be used anywhere. Get an extra bang for your buck with one that offers a top mesh shelf ideal for air-drying delicate items such as sweaters and lingerie.