A recent client of mine had a laundry dilemma. Like the blob, it was slowly creeping into places it shouldn’t.
Here’s how it started. One day, soon after moving in, she began folding laundry on the bedroom floor. The large expanse of floor space and proximity to the laundry room gave the master bedroom a certain appeal as a folding station. After all, it was right near her closet! But then, slowly over time, the bedroom became a sort of holding area for ALL laundry. This meant that her restful zen paradise had transformed into a space representing all that needed to be done.
During our organizing session, we established a goal: operation laundry migration. To answer the question of HOW to get the laundry out of the master, we first had to examine WHY the laundry was not being dealt with in the laundry room. In the end, we discovered a few reasons for this. Before revealing those, let’s talk about how to organize your laundry room so that it works for YOU.
1. Review Your Habits
Before organizing in the laundry room, take a moment to survey the house (NOT on a day when everything is tidy. Do it on a Friday afternoon). What are your habits? Do you fold laundry on the couch? Where do dirty clothes gather? Are hampers placed in convenient spots? Laundry is about much more than the laundry room. It’s about the flow of laundry throughout the rest of the home.
2. Make a Plan
Before you begin decluttering in the laundry room, decide your goals for the space in general. If your goal is to fold clothes in the laundry room by adding a surface, keep that in mind as you declutter – it might mean letting go of or rehoming other items that live there currently. Would you like to store all empty laundry baskets there? Start to plan where they would go. If your goal is to deal with laundry in the laundry room itself, this is an important thing to establish.
In my client’s case, we immediately knew that the goal was to move the laundry out of the bedroom and into the laundry room. The reason she had not been using it was because there was no surface available to do folding and even ironing. This can be a tricky item to find, since a desk is usually too short and a table is too wide. In the end, we went with this table from IKEA, which has adjustable legs and a customizable top. This worked wonderfully in the space and gave her a nice large surface area to sort, fold and iron from.
3. Declutter and Make Decisions
Since the laundry room is often a small area, you must be extremely picky about what is allowed to live there. Tools and other utility items can go to another area of the home if necessary, as well as vacuums and other appliances. If they are preventing you from actually having space to DO LAUNDRY in the area, they need to go elsewhere. In my client’s case, there were other bulky items being stored there, which we pared down and then moved to another location.
Take advantage of vertical hanging space in the room by installing a wall-mounted drying rack that collapses when not in use. A collapsable wall mounted table on hinges can also be useful for folding if you have limited space. Purchase simple clear shoeboxes to hold utility items so that they are easy to see and identify. Make a final determination of what you are allowing to live in the space.
Many people dislike spending time in the laundry room, and make no effort to make it more enjoyable. Changing this feeling is a good way to make laundry easier! Install a small radio, add personal touches like wall art or family photos and make the room a place where you don’t mind hanging out for a while! This will help eliminate the problem of bringing laundry into other areas of the home.