Laundry Room Organizers
The best system to organize your laundry room will depend on what your need your laundry space to do for you. The best solution could be a custom-built system, with pull-out hampers hidden behind cabinet doors, or wire mesh shelves that make full use of vertical space with color-coordinated and labeled plastic bins or baskets.
Keep It Clean for Good
Laundry rooms can often become a catchall for shoes, coats, backpacks, mail and anything else that can quickly get dropped off at the door. But these "chore rooms" don't have to be merely industrial spaces; they can be just as clean, organized and designer-worthy as every other room in the house. Follow these six tips to keep your laundry room organized once and for all — we promise!
Corral All-Weather Gear
Hats, gloves, sunglasses and scarves usually end up all over the house or shoved in the coat closet. Use Julie's SPACE method to get organized: Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Equalize. First identify what's important and group similar items, she says. Then purge any glove missing its partner. Assign by corralling all your cold- and warm-weather essentials and containerizing with labeled baskets for each member of the family. Store these where your family normally takes them off after coming indoors. "Rather than retrain the family," says Julie, "store things beautifully where people drop them." Finally, equalize the space every day by tidying up.
Contain Your Cleaning Supplies
A common source of frustration in the laundry room (other than endless piles of dirty clothes) is finding a place for all those cleaning supplies. Solution: Store cleaning supplies in a carry-all caddy or open-top storage container. The caddy is ideal for wire shelves because it prevents bottles from tipping over. Plus, no more rooting around in the back of the cabinet for window cleaner. Design by Elsa Greer
Create a Pet Zone
If your pet's possessions are slowly taking over the household, consider creating a pet zone in the laundry room. A pet zone can free up space and make you aware of how much you pamper your pet, which might mean you have to cut back. Things to put in the space: a bed or crate; a peg rack for leashes and collars; and food dishes on a nonskid carpet or in an elevated dish. Be sure everything is placed out of the flow of traffic for the room.
Go Vertical to Dry Clothes
The too-small laundry room often suffers from a serious lack of hanging space, resulting in clothes draped over the dryer, cabinets and doors. Vertical space is often the most overlooked area in these rooms. Install a retractable clothesline or buy an inexpensive freestanding drying rack to reclaim some much-needed space in the laundry room. Imagine, counter space that's actually used to fold clothes.
Presort Dirty Clothes in Hampers
Cut down on laundry time with an organized method for presorting clothes. If space is available, add three laundry hampers (we love the idea of color-coding or labeling) for whites, lights and darks. When a hamper gets full, it's time to run the wash. To keep the system going, have each family member take responsibility for bringing their clothes to the laundry room.
Create a Laundry Room Lost and Found
More than just socks go missing in the laundry room each year. Add a mug or basket near the washer to contain items found in pockets. For those elusive socks, keep another basket handy for strays. Reunite all items with their owners each week. By deciding where things will go (at least temporarily) and remembering to make it logical and accessible, you'll have more success with organization in the long run.
To get your laundry room organized in a way that best suits your family, ask some preliminary questions before you purchase any shelves, baskets or bins. How many people are in your household? What are their ages? What are their activities? What kinds of clothes do they wear? How large is your laundry space? What other activities will happen there? Do you need a craft, sewing or potting area? What is your budget? Take an inventory and group like items together; that's the best way to store them so you can find what you need quickly. What you ultimately buy for your laundry room storage system should be determined by the answers to these questions.
If you don't have a cleaning supply closet, you will need a place in your laundry room to hang mops and brooms, a place to store a vacuum cleaner, and a spot to place baskets for hauling clean clothes to other parts of the house. You may also need a rack to dry clothes that shouldn't be put in a clothes dryer. A rod installed between cabinets over a sink, or a wall-mounted valet rod, provides a space to hang clothes just as they come out of the dryer to avoid wrinkles.
If you want cabinets with doors to hide some items out of view, your choices run the gamut from custom-built cabinets to stock cabinets and shelving easily found in a home improvement store. You can also go with a combination of cabinets and open shelving. Some manufacturers make laundry room cabinets that are deeper than average to hold large containers of laundry soap and fabric softener.
A series of floor-to-ceiling cabinets along one wall can create a true utility room where you can hide tools, pet supplies, sports equipment, even holiday decorations.
To keep the flow of laundry under control, designate one day a week as laundry "delivery" day. Each child can bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room, where it is sorted by type (white, bright, towels, etc.). After each load, clean laundry goes in to a labeled laundry basket for each family member.
If your laundry room also serves as a mud room or "drop zone" as kids come home from school and other activities, designate a place for each of them to hang their backpacks and jackets and place their shoes. If your laundry room hosts a craft or sewing center, put your wall space to full use while keeping supplies visible by storing them in small containers with metal bottoms that can be hung from a magnetic strip attached to the wall.
See also: Professionally Designed Laundry and Utility Rooms
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