Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Small Laundry Room Organizing Ideas

This week the organizing bug got hold of me. Specifically, my laundry room was in dire need of drastic reorganization. It was a chore I had put off far too long.  Friends, I had been procrastinating for three years in tackling this project.

Well, it's done and I am happy as can be.  This is not a pretty reorganization.  The pictures of this reorganization will not be Pinterest worthy. This laundry space is pretty much my space these days and I wanted to reorganize it for me. I don't love doing laundry and wanted to think through how I could make this a more productive space for me. This reorganization emphasizes practical solutions and reflects what I need. If you love practicality, too, stick with me. If not, do you.

Three Steps and Three Days to Organize a Laundry Room

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A Small Laundry Space
Small Laundry Room Before

Let's step back for a minute and talk about my laundry room.  Truth be told, it's not a room.  It's a closet and I love it.  I have always loved everything about it.

First I love my laundry room location.  My laundry room is part of my kitchen.  As you can see in the picture, it is in the hall/entry to the kitchen hidden behind double doors.  This location has served us well over the many years we have lived in this house.  Dirty clothes are easily discarded after a day of yard work without traipsing through the house. A load of laundry can be efficiently washed at the same time as preparing dinner.  Clothes are quickly transferred from the washer to the dryer while heading to the pantry for a snack.

Second, I love the open shelves that sit above the washer and dryer.  Those shelves have been workhorses, holding all the essential laundry room products and tools as well as most of the cleaning supplies for the house.  They are sturdy and roomy.  This has been both a blessing and a curse. Over time those shelves had become the resting place for anything we didn't know what to do with.  The shelves were overflowing with not an inch of space remaining.

Organize Your Laundry Room
Finally, I like that the space is limited.  I like that it only has room for a basic washer and dryer.  I like my basic washer and dryer.  I have no time to fuss with fancy settings on a washer or dryer.  I just want to turn the machine on and have it do the job.  Easy peasy. Plus basic washers and dryers are easier on the budget.

I had been living with an overflowing laundry room for far too long.  The top of my dryer had also turned into a shelf holding stuff. Every inch of it was covered. The space between the washer and dryer was crammed with junk. It was a mess.  The straw that broke the camel's back was it seemed like every time I opened the doors something tumbled out at me. Something had to be done.

I hope my process will inspire you to tackle your laundry room, too.

My Laundry Room Reorganization Approach

Step One: Empty the Laundry Room
Yes, remove everything. That includes the washer and dryer.  When was the last time you cleaned behind and under your washer and dryer?  This emptying turned out to be a very good thing.  We identified a tiny leak that must have recently started in my washer shut off valve. Happily, it was found before it turned into a bigger issue.

Organize the junk as you remove it from the laundry room. The negative part of this step was having a bunch of junk strewn out through my kitchen and dining room for the three days it took to finish this project. I used boxes to organize the junk by type.  I had laundry supplies, cleaning supplies, gardening stuff, craft supplies, lighting supplies, pest control supplies, batteries, and some baking pans. Yes, I told you there was a lot in there.

As part of this step, I did an initial purge. Anything that was obviously unusable was bagged for the trash immediately. Buh-bye!!

Step Two: Clean, Repair and Paint
Everything has to be cleaned in preparation for painting.  In my case, it had been many years since the laundry area got a good cleaning.  It was far too long. Special attention was paid to dryer lint as part of this cleaning.  We make sure to take care of dryer lint regularly for fire safety purposes and this step was due.

The walls and shelves needed repainting.  They were not repainted when we remodeled the kitchen three years ago.  The shelves required some minor repair and a primer coat after some sanding.  That was all completed on the first day of the project.

The painting was completed on the second day. I opted for a bright white enamel paint from Home Depot to make it look clean and bright.  It took two quarts of paint for a total of $41.00.

Step Three: Get Organized
The third and final step was returning the laundry room to an organized state.  One of the things that had kept me from addressing my laundry room mess for so long was my inability to decide how to organize.  I had seen so many "pretty" laundry rooms and was intimidated by them.  Too often when I look at those types of laundry rooms I think the decisions made were impractical for busy people.

So I finally decided to focus on practical solutions. First, I completed a second purge.  There were many bottles of cleaners or other products bought on a whim and never really used.  It was time to dispose of those.  There were other things that were better to be stored in another place in the house.

Once the final purge was complete I assessed what was left and what I needed to help me organize those items.  I decided to buy clear plastic containers of various sizes. The clear plastic will be more practical for my lifestyle because I'll be to be able to see my stuff rather than have it hidden in "pretty" containers. Secondly, you know there will be spills and the plastic can be easily cleaned.

Making this decision lifted the weight from my shoulders that had been holding me back and I was excited to get organizing.

Organizing Tips
#1 Choose containers that fit the need.
I chose to use both low sided and deep containers.  Most of the containers are low-sided because it is easier to remove things from the low sided bins without taking them off the shelves. The deeper bins are great for multiple like items, like rags and microfiber cleaning cloths. Many of the containers have built-in handles making it easy to pull them from the shelf when necessary.

Deep Bin
#2 Focus on usability.
Every container is clear.  I already love that decision.  I can quickly and easily find the cleaning product I need. The containers are filled by category of items and each bin is prioritized with the most often used products near the front. This has already been a time saver for me.

Bins for Cleaning Products

#3 Be thoughtful about your needs.
I bought seventeen bins of various sizes and shapes. I used fifteen of them but decided to keep them all because I know I'll use them in the future. I particularly love these boxes with a hinged lid I got for batteries.  One box is for standard batteries and the other is for rechargeable batteries.

Bins with Lids

#4 Optimize your space.
I also bought a three-shelf, skinny rack with rollers on the bottom to keep between my washer and dryer.  It only measures 17.25" x 6.75" x 27.75" high, when assembled and fits perfectly in the space. This cart easily shares the space with the canister for my cordless Dyson stick vacuum. It makes me happy.

Small Cart for Laundry Products

I'm so pleased with the results that I find myself just standing and staring at my organized space. You can see I have plenty of extra space now.  I also have a small rack attached to the underside of the shelves to the right of the dryer for hangers.  That makes it easy for me to hang dress shirts as they come from the dryer as avoid ironing.

Organized Laundry

Is it time to organize your laundry space?  It's worth taking the time to think through what you need so you can spend less time on laundry tasks and more time doing what you love.

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