Because laundry is a chore that’s never really finished, good organization in the laundry area can go a long way to streamline the process and create a more pleasant environment. Like any organizational system, laundry room planning starts with an assessment of the space you have and how many functions you expect it to hold.
If your laundry area must also accommodate pets, outerwear, gardening gear and craft and hobby materials, the space should be organized into separate zones. The more functions your space must fulfill, of course, the more efficient you must be. Start by purging unnecessary items, such as outgrown shoes and boots, socks and gloves without matches, broken or worn out tools, and clothing that can be given away or cut up into rags.
In the laundry area itself, make sure the washer and dryer are side by side, even if it involves a small investment of new plumbing or wiring to accommodate the shift. The savings of space, time and motion required to transfer wet clothes to a dryer across the room will be significant.
Consider three different hampers for dirty laundry: darks, lights and delicates. Presorting allows you to handle dirty laundry only once and saves labor.
Get into the habit of doing a load or two of laundry every day, before you head off to work, between television programs, while dinner is cooking, or just before bed. Keeping up on a daily basis reduces the stress of piles of laundry waiting for you on the weekend.
An ironing board should be easily accessible. If you’re short on space, attach a fold-down ironing board to a wall or the back of the door.
Think vertical to maximize usable space. Hang a shower rod or closet pole from the ceiling to accommodate hanging clothes right out of the dryer or after ironing. If you remove clothes quickly after the dryer stops, clothes will remain nearly wrinkle free or require only quick touch ups to look their best.
Keep a surface clear for folding clothes. Wire baskets on wheels or wire shelves are good for stacking folded clothes. Each member of the family should be responsible for carrying their clean clothes to their rooms. If you find the folding surface constantly loaded with items, replace it with a fold-down shelf that is secured to a wall and only gets used for folding.
Keep a small basket or mug on a shelf near the washer to hold loose change from pockets. Store all of your laundry supplies in a single space near the appliances to save time and steps.
A fold-up drying rack that can accommodate delicates is essential for extending the life of clothes that don’t hold up to machine washing or drying. A small plastic tub for hand washing delicates will come in handy and can be stored on a shelf above the washer.
If you have the luxury of an outdoor clothes line, by all means use it. Besides the energy savings from reduced dryer usage, your laundry will have a fresh scent that is unmatched by any product on the market. Sheets and pillowcases dried in sunshine and fresh air are one of life’s simple pleasures.