When you’re trying to wash, dry, and sort through pile after pile of your family’s laundry, an organized and functional workspace can make all the difference. And yet, when we think about the rooms we want to remodel or redecorate in our home, our minds first wander just about everywhere else—the kitchen, the bathrooms, the living room, our outdoor space, and even our bedrooms—before we think to spruce up the laundry area.
But whether you have a dedicated laundry room, or just a corner where the washer and dryer live, it could probably serve you better if you spent a little time reorganizing and revamping—and it doesn’t have to cost much at all.
Your laundry area could almost certainly use more storage
It can be a surprising how much storage we actually need within reach of our washer and dryer. It’s not just the detergent, dyer sheets, and stain removers; it’s also the leather cleaner you need on occasion, the Dryel starter kit you bought several years ago, the bucket of OxiClean and the bottle of bleach that need to be stored somewhere (that somewhere being out-of-sight and out-of-reach if you have young children). Adding a small cabinet with doors to hide away chemicals—either for safety or just because you don’t care to look at them all the time—is a good first step toward organizing your laundry room.
If you’ve got the space, a set of wall-mounted cabinets above the washer and dryer can be convenient, but a freestanding cabinet will work, as well. If you’re really tight on storage space (and funds), though, even something as simple as this narrow, rolling laundry cart can help you stay organized.
Right now everything in your laundry room is all hard lines and edges. To make the space a little more welcoming—you spend a lot of time in there! you deserve to feel welcomed!—soften it up a bit with some wicker or woven storage bins and baskets. You’ll probably want a hamper of some kind, at least for the family’s on-going collection of dirty towels. And a little stand like this, with hanging fabric storage bins (and bonus shelf!), would be perfect for storing old towels, rags, and other linens that you don’t use regularly but keep around for extra-dirty clean-up situations.
And finally, I’m not saying you need a little storage basket in a cheerful color, I’m just saying those spare socks need a home until you find their partners, and this is as good a home as any.
You need counter space more than you think you do
Ever find yourself folding and stacking T-shirts on the dryer, only to sigh once again, as the stack gets too high and starts sliding down the slightly-less-than-flat surface? Just me? Well, what I need—and what I bet you need, too—is more work space. I’m willing to bet, though, that you don’t exactly have the space to add counters or you would have done so already.
Instead, you can (and I should) mount an ironing board that folds down and does double-duty as counter space. (You can also iron on it, a thing I do only on the most special of occasions.) As with anything, you can go as fancy as you’d like with extra cabinet space and adjustable swivel—or keep it simple and cheap with a board that hangs over the back of the door. Either way, T-shirts won’t be sliding off the dryer anymore.
You need a place to hang and air-dry things
You could do like I do and haul all your wet sweaters up two flights of stairs, from the basement to the master bedroom, every time you need to hang something out to air dry. Or you could do like I’d like to do and mount a drying rack right in the same area.
Depending on the set-up of your laundry space (and how much you tend to air dry), you could opt for space-saving retractable racks, a rack that can be temporarily or permanently mounted, a retractable rack that also offers shelf storage and extra hooks, or something like this that looks oddly cute.
A rug—your laundry area needs a nice rug
My “laundry area” is the back corner of an unfinished basement in a nearly 100-year-old East Coast home. It’s not cute or cozy, is what I’m saying. The literal first thing I did in this house, before even a single box crossed the threshold, was purchase a pretty rug to lie down in front of the washer and dryer.
Did this rug magically transform my laundry area into a space I can’t get enough of? Obviously not; but it did make it more homey for those times when I’m challenging myself to a game of catch-the-stack-of-folded-T-shirts. Depending on where your laundry area is located in the home, if you’ve got room for a rug, it can help warm up the space.