Organizing the Laundry Room Zone
The laundry room is not usually our favorite room, but we spend a lot of time in that area, so we want to feel comfortable and in control while working there.
Laundry rooms can be located many places in your home. I have seen them in or right off kitchens, in hallways near the front entry, at the top of the stairs, off the main bedroom, or in a basement. What we don’t want to see is laundry that migrates from those laundry rooms into the rooms nearby.
Laundry rooms can be so small that they only hold a stacked washer and dryer with a shelf, or they can be large areas in the basement or combined with a storage room. The laundry room area is the place where you wash and perhaps dry your clothes. But what other functions does your laundry room area have? How do you organize it to work for you?
Develop a Plan:
1. Know the function
Your first step is to understand how you plan on using this laundry room space. How are you using this space?
Besides the washing/drying area, my laundry room holds household cleaning items, recycling bins, items used for parties, storage of extra beverages, some overflow little used files from my offices, and household tools. My plan for this zone will address all the uses.
2. Set up zones
In my laundry zone I have a washer and dryer. I also have space for storing a drying rack, an ironing board, and an iron. I have a basket that holds items that either need repair or ironing. My laundry products as well as my cleaning products live here.
My cleaning zone holds a vacuum, broom, swifter, wall brush, dustpan, mop, bucket, and cleaning products.
My recycling zone holds bins for paper, glass, and one for plastic and metal.
My paper files zone holds a crate of office files that are rarely used, a container with Road Scholar travel information, and some notebooks with class material.
My household tools zone holds a toolbox, a power drill, bits, level, and a small container with screws, hangers, tape, etc.
My party zone holds large platters and serving pieces as well as some table decorations.
Because I do have more shelving than I need for just doing laundry, it is important that I designate the purpose of each shelf. That keeps this area from just being a catch all for all the “I’ll just put it here for right now” items. Another part of my plan is to have my floor and the top of my washer and dryer clear.
3. Group like items together
Ideally, all items in each zone are in their own distinct area in the room. In practice this does not always work. For example, I have all my cleaning tools in one area, but it makes more sense to have the cleaning products on the same shelf as the laundry products. My toolbox is on a shelf that is easy to access but the other tools that are rarely used can be on higher shelves.
You decide what your vision is for the space and then work your plan.
Work the Plan:
If I don’t plan on having anything on top of my washer and dryer and I plan to keep my floor clear, that means I don’t have stacks of laundry sitting around. I bring into the area only what I plan to laundry that day. I wash. I dry. I hang or fold. I take the clean clothes to where they belong. I leave the rest of the dirty laundry in the laundry baskets until I plan on washing them. This keeps the laundry from piling up in the laundry area or worse yet migrating out of the laundry room.
Once you have decided what you are keeping in this space, remove anything that is not in that plan. Broken hangers, empty containers, loose buttons, change from pockets, or any trash should be removed. If some of these items pop up often in your area, have a plan for them. Put out a small container for those buttons and change. Put a small trash can or container that can hold lint and trash.
Review all laundry products and cleaning materials. Did you buy a product that you did not like but that is still hanging around? Do you have spray starch that is 10 years old and that you never use any more? Trash these items. Do you have 2 partial bottles of Woolite? Consolidate them. If you have a large container of soap powder on the floor, transfer some into a smaller container that is easier to handle.
Schedule blocks of time to work your plan so that your space fits your ideal vision.
Clean as you go:
As you empty and rearrange your shelves, take time to give them a good cleaning. Pull out your washer and dryer and clean behind and under them. Check your vents and remove any lint build-up. Completely clear the floor and give it a good cleaning. Wipe down walls and ceilings with a broom to get rid of any cobwebs.
Set up a maintenance Plan:
Once you have your laundry room area clean and organized, set up a plan to keep it that way.
Once a week do a visual sweep to see that everything is where it should be. Wipe down the tops of the washer and dryer and sweep the floor.
Once a year schedule a time to do the deep clean and reorganization of your area. Your usage and vision may change so then make any adjustments.
While having a clean and organized laundry area may not make you want to spend a lot of time there it will make the time spent less stressful. A lot of the tasks can be scheduled and done in short bursts of time so don’t look at the area and let yourself feel overwhelmed. Just break down the project and do a bit at a time. Schedule time on your calendar weekly and yearly to keep it in shape.
If you want help or just some accountability in organizing a space in your home or working any other organizational plan either outside or inside your home, join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.