Love your laundry room

Laundry rooms are often dark corners of basements or narrow closets with barely enough space to fit stacked machines or odd hallways leading to the garage. Rarely are they beautiful rooms that entice us to keep up with the tedious chore.

However, a clean, uncluttered, organized laundry room is welcoming and makes doing laundry much more enjoyable. Additionally, an organized room speeds up the process so you spend less time doing what you may not enjoy.

If your laundry space could use some attention, try these 10 steps to get it in order:

  • Clean it up. Start by removing everything from the space that isn’t attached to the walls. Ironing boards, detergent, hampers — whatever you have in this area needs to be temporarily removed. Once everything is gone, sweep and mop the floors, wipe down the walls, dust, and get the room looking like new. Paint the walls if necessary. Even clean underneath and behind your washing machine and dryer, but be careful not to disconnect your water, drainage, power, and/or gas lines.
  • Sort it. Before returning a single item to the laundry area, decide if it really belongs in the space and if the item meets your needs. You probably don’t need motor oil in your laundry room and you certainly don’t need a bottle of spray starch that is more than a decade old. Get rid of anything you haven’t touched in at least a year and only keep the things you actually use.
  • Be inspired. Head to Google images and do a search for “inspiring laundry rooms.” Pages of gorgeous rooms will appear to give you a laundry list of ideas.
  • Identify your needs. A laundry room that handles the clothes loads of just one person will have different needs than a laundry room for a family of six. Do you need room to fold clothes? Do you need cubbies for each person in the house? Do you need a bag for dry cleaning items that accidentally slipped into the dirty clothes hamper?
  • Make adjustments. If you need a shelf above your washing machine, now is the time to add these fixtures to the room. If you want an ironing board and iron holder that fits on the back of your door, install it. If you have been dreaming about having a clothesline or rolling garment rack, add them now. Make structural additions to the space that will help you on the days you do laundry.
  • Wipe it down. Now is also a good time to wipe down any items that will be returning into the laundry area. Remove the dust and gunk that builds up over time.
  • Store items where you use them. As you begin to return items to the laundry room, be sure to put things where you use them. Detergent and stain treatment products should be within an arm’s extension of the washing machine. A rolling garment rack and extra hangers should be immediately next to your folding area or the dryer. Your iron should be with your ironing board.
  • Label locations. If you aren’t the only person who uses the laundry room, label shelves and cupboards well so everyone can know where to find products and where to return them when they’re finished.
  • Don’t forget donations. Every laundry room should have a box or a bin where you can easily deposit items of clothing that are ready to be donated to charity. Make it as simple as possible to get the unwanted items out of your wardrobe and ready to be passed along to someone else.
  • Use it. Take advantage of your clean, uncluttered, and organized laundry space by keeping on top of your laundry chores. Have set days on the schedule for when you will tackle the wash.

24 Comments for “Love your laundry room”

  1. posted by Jen on

    Of course! The ironing board should be hung on the inside of the door! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this on my own. I have to go check and see if there will actually be space for this (i.e., if the door will actually close with the added bulk of the ironing board attached) but I think it might. I don’t really have a laundry room; it’s more of a laundry nook – it’s a space in my basement hidden by two doors that just has the washer/dryer with a shelf above them. No room on either side, unless you count the oil tank that sits there. Otherwise I’d put the ironing board on the side someplace, but it won’t fit. Now it’s stuck in a closet but it’s difficult to access where it is. Thanks for a potentially great solution!

  2. posted by ninakk on

    I wish I had a laundry room. The washing machine resides in our bathroom. In other places I have lived it has been there too, in the kitchen or the basement (student housing).

  3. posted by ninakk on

    Forgot to mention that I am interested in elevating the washing machine to an ergonomic level if I ever have that kind of a space. A dryer, however, I am still unsure about; would rather have good ventilation and permanent, easy-to-use drying racks available.

  4. posted by Lee on

    We tore out the 1st floor bath fixtures (and hideous maroon and gold tile) and replaced them with the washer and dryer on one side and 3 stacks of Elfa sliding bins (immediate sorting) on the other. Stain stick hangs in a little pocket so there is no excuse for anyone not treating stains before adding the pieces to the proper bins. Both sides have hanging space above, although i mainly keep hangers above the washer and dryer. One bins is for “needs mending” and I thing one will soon change to “donation” – brillant idea!

    The dryer is used mainly for towels, as I prefer to hang the clothes to dry – usually on the rod over the Elfa or from the unused plate rack around the kitchen (it comes down when we have company and the rack is not above the stove). We rarely iron, so having the board handy isn’t an issue. I do think i’ve seen one that folds down from the door.

    We considered raising them to a more convenient height when we moved to this house. As my husband can do minor repairs (as in changing a broken belt), we decided that it would be easier to have them on the ground than to have to pull them off of a platform. I have a little stool to sit on so the controls are at eye level.

  5. posted by Anita on

    Great tips! I wish I had a laundry room so that everything could be in one place. As it is now, the hamper is in the bedroom, most laundry needs (including iron and ironing board, detergent etc) are in a closet, washers and dryers are in the basement (shared between 6 apartments), and anything that needs to be hung to dry is put up, on hangers, on the shower curtain rod.

    One thing I just recently found out: apparently some doors are not sturdy enough to hold heavy items such as ironing boards. I’m told some hollow doors can warp if heavy things are hung on them for long periods of time, so before putting your ironing board up, you might want to check with the manufacturer or distributor of your doors (or with your landlord, if you rent) to make sure it’s safe.

  6. posted by Keter on

    I have had an over the door ironing board for almost 20 years now and it is awesome! I haven’t had any problems with it warping a door, either. I have a pin cushion and zip top bags attached to the bottom to capture pins, safety pins, an emergency needle, thread, and seam ripper, extra buttons, etc. for quick repairs. The board, however, lives in my closet, as I am one of the many who does not have a laundry room.

    My washer and dryer live in an open air carport, which my husband uses as a shop. It is a challenge to use because it is always filthy out there and he freaks if I move anything (the dryer has become his dumping ground). So I use a collapsible mesh laundry bin to just move things in and out of the area and do all other laundry chores in/next to the closet. I can’t wait until we get finished with our upstairs remodeling, because an indoor laundry is definitely on my priority list for downstairs!

  7. posted by Shelley on

    We tried hanging the ironing board and the iron on the back of a door, but it was too heavy…

  8. posted by *pol on

    I have one of those ironing board hooks, but I changed it from “over-the-door” to “wall-mount” attached to a stud and closer to my washer, I like it there, it’s like functional art.

    My laundryroom is also the storage space in our basement and it’s gets HECTIC down there. Also we set up a cot there for my brother-in-law when he visits for 2 weeks at a time (poor guy). A multi-purpose, too many purposes kind of room, unfinished and ugly!

  9. posted by DawnF on

    I am so blessed to have a nice-sized laundry room with enough room for a ironing board mounted on the wall (and then set up on the floor for use), as well as a simple cabinet with doors for laundry supplies, cleaning supplies, one small bin of craft items, lightbulbs and extra candles. There is a lock on it for child safety.

    Since I spend a lot of time in that room I spruced it up with metal laundry signs hanging on the wall (they look vintage, but they’re just reproductions from Hobby Lobby). I also mounted a clock on the wall and a basket to hold clothespins. We also have 2 cool hooks on the wall for my son’s and husband’s soccer bags. It’s a cool space and I am feel truly blessed to have it.

    No matter what size your space is though, keeping it neat and organized (and maybe even putting a personal touch on it) can make all the difference.

  10. posted by momwalker1966 on

    I just done this over the weekend and added this same ironing board holder. I love it, posted my before and after pictures(1st ones ever-they are sideways) in the the “new and overwhelmed-is this common?” forums thread, the link is on pg 3. Although I am sure my tiny little space is NOTHING compared to what is linked to above, but I couldn’t have done without all the tips and support from so many on this site. Thanks unclutterer members!

  11. posted by April on

    Forget Google Images… go to! Seriously, that place is so inspiring, and there are a lot of laundry room images there (just do a search). I’m obsessed with that site.

    Also, in our case, a donation bin in the laundry room doesn’t make sense. What works for us is that we hang most of our clothes, and we always hang up the freshly cleaned clothes in the front. Once in a blue moon we’ll take a look at the clothes hanging in the back of the closet and ask ourselves if we really need it if we haven’t worn it in that long of a time… and use that to judge to donations apart from the keeps. Plus, they’re clean. If they make it to the laundry room they’d be dirty.

  12. posted by Mary on

    I googled the images of laundry rooms and I was struck by the cute ironing board covers. Which then led to my question, am I the only one out there with a nasty cover because my iron is always leaking water and spitting on my clothes? I know those are all model rooms, but it irritated me!

  13. posted by DawnF on

    I just checked out, April. This site looks seriously cool!! Thanks for sharing!

  14. posted by Mletta on

    Laundry room? Heaven. I’d kill if our apartment had enough space to even open up and use a full-size ironing board without having to move furniture around.

    FYI: We know people with gorgeous homes and quite a bit of space. Nobody has a “laundry room.” Even those with basements. Most have their washer and dryer somewhere on first or second floor (in or near bathrooms) for ease of use (the basement is for storage and second refrigerators).

    I’m drooling with envy for anyone who has any space for a laundry room. Sigh.

  15. posted by claire on

    Nobody irons in our laundry/bathroom (too dark). So the ironing board pretends to hide between a bookcase and a dresser in the living room/dining room/kitchen, and the iron is kept under the sink.

  16. posted by Bryan on

    My laundry room tip is to always iron your clothes right after they get out of the washing machine. You wont have to fill the iron with water, cause the dampness in the clothes creates steam and you wont have to worry about ironing your clothing again because their already ironed!

  17. posted by katrina on

    We have a laundry alcove just inside the back door with room for a machine and the laundry sink. Storage is whatever fits in the tiny cupboard under the sink. The laundry basket lives ontop of a tall cupboard in the kitchen.

    I don’t iron anything – my husband and I buy clothes that don’t need ironing so long as the shirts are hung on hangers to dry. So I got rid of the iron etc years ago. The only thing that could need ironing is the bedding and crinkled bedding doesn’t bother me.

  18. posted by dry carpet cleaning charlotte on

    Oh my goodness! I google imaged “inspiring laundry rooms” and those rooms are gorgeous! Thanks for the tips… they are great!

  19. posted by jodi on

    A suggestion for those with basement apartment laundry or who use laundrymats: create a laundry tote. Choose a storage idea (bucket, tote, box, unused purse etc.)

    Fill a small, empty peanut butter jar with laundry soap.
    Save or ask a friend for a scoop out of baby formula to use for the soap. (Often, half the quantity for a small load is enough soap for a large load if the machine isn’t overly filled).

    Liquid soap: use a clear, empty lotion bottle. Fill it with the amount of soap you need for the recommended small load of laundry and mark the level on the side of the bottle with a sharpie. Repeat until the bottle is full. In the future, you can (obviously) reuse the same marks and just refill the bottle. Try using the small amount of soap for large loads (make sure the washer isn’t overly filled). If you need more soap than that (you probably wont) you can still use the marks on the side of the bottle to measure.

    Dryer sheets: purchase a travel-size baby wipe container (I have seen them empty at our dollar store). Keep a portion of your dryer sheets in the baby wipe container. Most dryer sheets can be torn in half and are just as effective as a full sheet, which reduces how often you need to refill.

    Liquid bleach can go in a well-resealed glass jelly jar. Just make sure if it is liquid that the lid seals tightly. A small bottle of hydrogen peroxide can be used in place of color-safe bleach to brighten clothes.

    Put your supplies in your tote/bag/box/purse and voila! Portable, organized laundry area!

  20. posted by JC on

    When we built our house, I gave up a large closet in order to have the laundry on the main floor. It also doubles as a mud room. There are two main differences between my set up and the norm. 1) I don’t have my iron/board there. I sew and the iron lives in the sewing loft with the board always set up. 2) The room has a very large window that lets in natural light.

    @Mary: I never have a stained board cover. I replace my cover before making a special project like a wedding dress or christening gown. If I haven’t done so within a year, it gets replaced anyway.

  21. posted by Keter on

    @Mary – sounds like you need to de-mineral your iron; an iron should never spit. Fill it with white vinegar and set to full steam. If you have a shot of steam feature, turn up the heat and use it until the mineral flakes stop coming out, otherwise just let it heat on medium-low setting for about 10 minutes. If heavily crusted, you may have to do this twice. Let iron cool and rinse thoroughly with water. Buy a bottle of distilled water and only use that in your iron.

    @Bryan – I run my ironable cottons in the dryer (set on permanent press) for a few minutes until just damp before ironing. It definitely saves ironing time.

  22. posted by Heather Lambie on

    I just wrote an article about laundry room organizing in the Summer 2011 issue of FRESH HOME magazine (page 26). Check it out for some ways to make it fun. But of course, unclutterer always has top notch tips!!! Love you guys!

  23. posted by the other Tammy on

    We have laundry in our 2nd floor bathroom–LOVE it! We have a murphy-bed style ironing board that hides behind a little door in the wall. The washer and dryer hide behind folding doors. The only problem with it is the shelving…the laundry closet was designed for a front loader washer with three shelves above it. But my washer is a top loader, so I can’t use that first shelf, I have to prop it up so I can open my washing machine. Someday I WILL own a front loader so I can use my shelf!

  24. posted by Sue on

    After years of apartment dwelling, I appreciate my laundry room! It’s in the basement, but we painted it white and I hung bright posters to make it cheerful. I installed a rolling hanging rack for clothes that go right to hangers–the rack can be rolled right over to the ironing board. (I’ll confess, I set up the board in front of the big screen TV that DH installed in his “man cave”–LOL! Ironing is much more tolerable when I can watch Burn Notice or NCIS!!)

    I invested in Huggable Hangers, padded hangers (you are not supposed to put damp clothes on the Huggables)and quality pant clamp hangers. When I take the clean clothes upstairs in a basket, I leave the basket in an alcove to collect empty hangers. A box sits on the floor in my closet for clothes destined for Goodwill. When the box is full, it goes in the back of the car for drop off.

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