How to Manage Laundry and Design a Functional Laundry Room

Laundry is one of those many household chores that many of us dread. Most likely, that is because your laundry room is in total chaos. That certainly does make a tedious task seem even more overwhelming. Here are a few ideas to help you manage laundry.

Establish a Laundry Routine

I know you don’t like doing laundry. But here’s the thing about things you don’t like doing – if you make them part of a daily or weekly routine, it will become a habit, just like brushing your teeth every day. It’s simply something that’s got to be done, and putting it off only makes it worse.

If you have a family, you likely have a lot of laundry to do. Decide whether doing one load per day or doing all the laundry on the weekend makes more sense. I am a fan of doing it all at once, but this may not be feasible if you have many loads. It might make sense to do clothing one day of the week, and sheets and towels on the weekend, for example. Whatever you decide will work best for your busy family, stick with it every single week. As soon as you skip a week, you’re back to chaos.

If your family members are old enough, teach them to do their own laundry. That means storing dirty items in a laundry hamper, not on the floor or elsewhere around the house. The task of doing laundry isn’t finished until everything is washed, dried, folded or hung and put away. The piece I see missing from so many household routines is the “putting away” part. As you know, if you don’t put things away, your home is always messy.

Provide a Laundry Hamper

As I alluded to above, a dirty laundry hamper is essential. And it should be located where you take off your dirty clothes, typically in the bedroom or bathroom, not in the laundry room. Each family member should have their own hamper or share one if they sleep in the same room or use the same bathroom. Please invest in a sturdy one that looks good and holds lots, like this one from Staples.

Organize with Hooks and Hangers

Most of us do not have the luxury of an entire room dedicated to laundry. We probably have a closet. And often, that closet must store other items as well. To help you manage laundry better, customize the space as best you can with shelves, hooks, and hangers to keep things neat and tidy.

Here’s an example from my own home. Even though it’s a tight space, everything has a place. I absolutely adore a wall-hung ironing board hanger. Your ironing tools are all in one place; more importantly, that place is not the floor! Each time an item is removed from the laundry area, we place it back in the exact location as soon as we are finished using it. That’s the only way our home can stay organized. The same holds true for the rest of the house, of course.

Jane Veldhoven's closet-type laundry room. It is highly organized with hooks and hangers to help her stay organized.
My organized laundry room.

Custom Design Your Laundry Room

If you have space for a laundry room or can create one in your home, plan the layout and design and customize it to your needs. I designed this laundry room a few years ago for a client. The space is right next to their bedroom, which is very convenient. My client had several important requests. She wanted more light in the room, an easy way to toss dirty laundry into a basket, and a large area to dry hanging clothes.

We achieved her request for more light by moving the hanging bar from over the window to the back wall. We also opened the space by removing the walls between the laundry and the main bathroom. The unique divider wall provides some separation but allows light throughout the area. The custom-built cabinet has an opening on top so the client can toss dirty laundry directly into a hamper beneath. It also has a pullout ironing board hidden in one of the drawers and a couple of shelves for laundry soap and other supplies. And last but not least, we designed the hanging bar out of pipes and fittings (for plumbing) and painted them silver. Then, we added a unique piece of artwork, and voilà – it’s beautiful and functional.

A client's small, dark, messy laundry room with clutter on top of the washer and dryer, baskets on the floor with a barely accessible cupboard over the washer and dryer and a clothes hanging bar in front of the window.
Client’s laundry area before the redesign.
A client's redesigned bright laundry area with an easily accessible clothes hanging bar above the washer and dryer, a cabinet with a hole in the top to toss clothes into the laundry basket and a bright, colourful picture hanging on the wall beside the window.
Client’s laundry area after the redesign.

I hope these tips help you manage laundry better, so it becomes less of a chore and more of a habit. Please leave a comment with your laundry challenge, and I will do my best to help you become more organized.

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