Laundry. We all have it. A lot of people hate it. Myself included. It's one of those things that unless you hire a service to take care of it you have to be home to do it. When your schedule is busy that becomes difficult. It piles up, the floor gets covered, people end up with no clean underwear or socks. So many families and single people alike struggle with this task and the room they do it in. One of the biggest issues, aside from time to do the laundry, is the fact that a lot of laundry rooms are built almost as an after thought. They're cramped, the layout is weird and my clients often tell me they "hate" their laundry room. I often wonder why builders & designers don't spend as much time on the laundry room as they do the kitchen; we spend an awful lot of time in there for it to be a space we despise. Then there's the basement laundry room which is really common in Michigan. Again, people hate going down there as they have to wade through disorganized storage spaces that have become dumping grounds just to get to the laundry area or the space isn't finished and feels dank and dark. I have spent many, many hours in these laundry rooms. Along the way I've collected some Top Tips to Organize Your Laundry Room & today I'm going to share those with you.
The 1st phase of my 3 Phase Process is Phase 1: Sorting & Purging. You really need to do this part in order to make the room work. Start with the floor of the room, going item by item deciding what to keep & what to get rid of. The things you want to keep should be things you Need, Use and Love. The things that you want to keep need to be sorted like with like, so, by category. For example, in a laundry room I often find cleaning supplies, rags and laundry supplies. Those get sorted into their own individual category and then if there are subcategories (detergents, dryer sheets, fabric softeners) those get grouped together as well. If you want to keep something but don't use it in the laundry room then that becomes redistribution and goes into a container to be put away later, I sort redistribution based on the level of the home that it's headed to. Most of my clients have a basement, main floor and 2nd floor redistribution container(s). The things you want to get rid of get sorted into sell, donate, throw away or recycle. Sometimes you might have things to give to a family member or friend. Other things you want to keep may involve an errand, like dry cleaning, which needs to go away and come back again. All of this goes into it's own container, gets clearly labeled and you'll need to schedule appointments for when to take care of each task which I recommend putting both on the label and your calendar.
Once you have the floor sorted & purged (you may have to sort into the hall or room nearest the laundry room) then you sort & purge the perimeter of the room meaning anything lining the walls. After that, sort and purge any piece of furniture in the center of the room meaning an island for folding if there is one. Most laundry rooms don't have a piece floating in the center but just in case I'm running through my whole process of how I sort and purge spaces for you. My 3 Phase Process is duplicatable meaning you can use it any room in your home or business. Once everything is sorted & purged then you can begin the 2nd Phase which is the Reorganization where you put the space back together again.
Here's where you can use my Top 3 Tips for Organizing Your Laundry Room
1. The socks without mates baggies are for once you've mated the socks & there are lone rangers in singleville left. I label each baggie with each family member's name. This way when you find the other sock you can easily locate the mate. I have clients that have had me organize their entire home from basement to attic and this was their favorite part. I'm not kidding. When you have a family of 4 or more socks create a lot of anxiety, stress and annoyance. "What? Mate the socks?" you ask. I know, I see all the unmated sock piles, totes filled with them, tucked away as if they don't exist in everyone's homes. Yes. Mate the socks. Dig in, get everyone in the house to pitch in and get it over with. The only time I don't mate the socks is when I have a tween girl that doesn't like to wear matching socks becuase that's the trend, for example. Sometimes, it makes sense to put these baggies directly in the sock drawer, that's different depending on where you have space and makes the most sense for where you fold. Really, the baggies should be where you fold the laundry.
2. Keep the top of the machines and floor clear. I do this as often as possible but it's not always possible. In a small laundry room this can be impossible. However, a lot of laundry rooms are plenty big enough to keep the floor and the top of the machines completely clear. When you keep the machines clear they don't get all gunked up with detergent, the things on top don't fall off when the cycle starts to shake the machine and it feels good to walk into a laundry room with clear surfaces. You spend a lot of time in there so it's got to be a space that doesn't stress you out to walk into. Keeping the floor clear is safer as there are no tripping hazards and that way you can get to the machines easily. Again, if you have time for nothing else but clearing the floor you will feel better. I promise.
3. Make the shelf or cabinet right above the washer and dryer your go to spot for everything you need to push your laundry through quickly. Organize based on usage from left to right since that's how we read and normally the washer is on the left and the dryer on the right, for the same reason. If it's not then reverse the order of your laundry supplies. You want everything to be really easy to grab but having things out of sight is always nice. You can switch the products to cute canisters and bottles but it's not a necessity and to be honest very few people without staff really have time for that. If you use a cabinet with doors you don't have to worry about that as long as you shut the cabinet door.
The rest you will want to organize like with like based on how you sorted everything during the 1st Phase. Make sure you don't hide things behind one another as much as possible and set it up so that it's easy to use. If you have high shelves make sure to store a step-stool in there along with a trash can and a can for recycling if you recycle. A laundry basket (or 4 in some cases) for dirty laundry is key but sometimes those make more sense in each bedroom. I recommend trying to do at least one load a day so that you don't get bogged down by laundry. My general rule of thumb is once one load's air dry laundry that dries on a drying rack is done it's time for the next load to get started. Even as a single person my laundry can spiral out fast especially because of what I do for a living and all of my workout clothes. Label what you can so that it's easy to put things away for anyone that can read.
Phase 3 is the walk-through where you give everyone that uses the space a tour so they know where things should go. I'm a big believer in having the kids help you with their own laundry. The earlier they start the better at it they'll be when they move out instead of feeling lost once they're on their own. Plus, you have a lot on your plate and many hands make light work. If you're able to have your nanny or a laundry service take care of your laundry I vote for that. This is one thing worth having someone take care of especially if your schedule is really busy.
Here's some photos of a beautiful laundry room I organized to give you some other ideas. Their space was in the process of being painted when I organized it so the walls aren't completely painted but it was well on it's way to being a stunning space. That's a laundry room I would love to be in even if I don't love laundry. The more beautiful the space the more you'll enjoy being in there. Happy Organizing!