This time of year, the laundry room may be getting more than usual usage. Coming home from vacation or welcoming home kids from camp with bags of dirty laundry can be overwhelming. Buying and washing new school uniforms or clothing adds to the mix.
You want to organize your laundry rooms so that it works like a well-oiled machine. You should have a place to put the dirty laundry you are currently washing, a place to store your laundry products, and hopefully a place to store an ironing board and a drying rack. You want to eliminate any clutter that gets in your way of doing the laundry.
If you are fortunate enough to have a large laundry room, this room may also have other storage functions.
Develop a Plan:
1. Know the function of this space.
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, and household tools.
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.
I also have a cleaning zone, a recycling zone, a household tool zone, and a zone that holds items for parties.
Set up your zones according to how you use this area.
Because I use this zone for more than laundry, it is important that I do not let it become a dumping zone where things end up “just for now”.
Part of my plan is to keep 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.
The most frequently used products are in the front and easy to grab.
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 cleaning 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.