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Laundry room example

Loads of Fun: 9 Tips for Getting Your Laundry Room Under Control

by Jenny

Laundry – it’s a necessary evil. After a long day at work, who wants to spend time sorting clothes, fighting stains, and ironing out wrinkles?

Some of that hassle might actually come from disorganization. Can’t find the detergent in a cluttered storage space? Have to climb two flights of stairs to get to the ironing board? All of these things take time — and energy — that none of us want to spend.

There are better ways.

Laundry room aspirational model.

Laundry organization: making life easier on laundry day (and every day is laundry day)

1.) Utilize every square inch in your laundry room. It seems for most people that the laundry room is never as big as we’d like. Maybe it’s tucked away in a closet or in some far corner of the basement the rest of the family has yet to discover.

How can you maximize that small storage space? Look up! Upper walls are perfect for extra shelving to store laundry detergent or fabric softener. “But I’m only five feet tall,” you say. No problem — tuck a stepstool behind the washer or nearby to help you reach those shelves.

2.) Teach children to do their own laundry. Doing laundry is an important life skill. I can’t even count the number of kids I met at college who had never folded their own laundry, much less loaded a washer. Don’t let that confused college kid be your child.

“It’s fairly easy to teach a child to do a load of laundry,” assures Trish Hilliard, a Houston-based certified professional organizer and founder of Simplicity Please. “You have to start them young. By the time they are a tween they will already start giving you pushback. When they are young, they want to help and get excited about it.”

Start out by assisting them. Show them how to sort things, which buttons to push on the machine, and where to pour the detergents. Go over how to fold clothes and place them back in their proper storage spaces — part of the teaching process should be training them how to keep the space organized by your system.

Continue helping them for a month or so, until they get the hang of it.

“Provide a stepstool and instructions with pictures, if necessary, posted nearby,” Hilliard continues. Soon, not only will this make things easier for you, your kids will be better off, too.

3.) Set up a schedule. Now that you’ve got everyone helping out, coordinate when each person will use the washer. If your son has soccer practice on Tuesday, designate Wednesday as his Laundry Day. Daughter’s got violin lessons Monday? Well, Tuesday’s her day. Setting a schedule, and sticking to it, will ensure the dirty clothes don’t pile up.

“It also helps to set up a simple rule: If you start a load, finish it — period,” Hilliard advises. “None of this ‘let it sit wet in the washer for a day and hold up the machine’ or ‘sit wrinkling in the dryer.’”

It’s simple: Wash it, dry it, fold it or hang it up, and put it back in its storage space every time.

4.) Do smaller loads more frequently. By having lots of clothes, we’re able to let laundry go a little longer. If we do smaller loads more often, though, laundry day won’t be quite as draining as before. Plus, it will keep dirty laundry from spilling out of your hamper and onto the floor.

Speaking of which…

5.) Get a large sorting hamper. Sorting a mountain of laundry can seem only slightly less daunting than climbing an actual mountain. Instead, pre-sort dirty clothes as you toss them into their storage spaces. Many department stores sell large hampers with two or three compartments, which can make separating the whites from the colors a walk in the park.

6.) Move out seasonal clothing. As you do laundry at the end of a season, instead of putting winter jackets or summer shorts back into the closet, move them to your self storage unit (over at Uncle Bob’s, of course). This will free up storage space at home for things you’re actually going to wear and make it easier to store freshly washed laundry, too.

7.) Keep necessary care items nearby. Doing laundry requires a lot of things — detergent, fabric softener, bleach, stain remover, dryer sheets —  the list goes on. Keep all of that close by to speed things up.

How many times have you gone to throw a shirt into the washer, only to notice that a button was ready to pop off? Keep a small sewing kit and a tin of extra buttons in the laundry room to make repairing clothing easier.

Likewise, how often do you take things out of the washer and have a small fortune in loose chain come tumbling out? Placing a jar for loose change nearby can help with that problem as well.

8.) Move extra things out of the room. If you’ve got extra, unrelated stuff in your laundry room, relocate it to free up space for folding or drying. Your self storage unit at Uncle Bob’s would be a great place to move that sporting equipment or those gardening tools currently cluttering up the laundry room. Likewise, if you stock up on laundry detergent and buy several bottles at once, move the extras to your self storage unit as well.

9.) Put things away when you’re finished. You’re done doing laundry for the day! (It’s okay to celebrate a little.) Before you move on to other tasks or sit down and relax, make sure everything has been returned to its proper place.

To make the room appear less cluttered, get yourself a fold-out drying rack that can be mounted on the wall (rather than one that sits on the floor and can be hard to stow away). You can even make one with some dowel rods and extra wood. (Here’s how, courtesy of the Centsational Girl blog.)

Keep hangers in a cabinet or in a tote bin instead of out in the open. Also, use a retractable clothesline that can be reeled in every time another successful Laundry Day is complete.

None of that seems too difficult, does it? Remember, when you need extra storage space, check with Uncle Bob’s Self Storage — and in the meantime, keep powering through those suds.

• DIYer, Designer, Declutterer
• Freelance Blogger & Home Beautifier
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