Laundry…what an overwhelming chore. Your organized laundry room will take some of the stress out of this never-ending task.
We’re going to get right down to the nitty-gritty on this one. If you don’t have an actual laundry room (maybe your washer and dryer are in a laundry closet or you have to take your laundry out of the house to do it), just take the tips we provide here and modify them to fit your situation.
An Organized Laundry Room Begins in the Bathroom
What??? Yes, you read correctly. An organized laundry room begins in the bathroom…or maybe the bedroom. Wherever it is that your family sheds their clothing, that’s the place we’re talking about here.
Place a dirty clothes hamper in each area of the house where dirty clothes tend to hang out. Make sure you have a separate hamper for dirty towels, so that good clothes don’t get ruined by sitting in a hamper with damp towels.
Make this fun for the kids and they are more likely to participate. Let them help you pick out the hamper for their room. Maybe it will have their favorite cartoon character on it or an animal that has its mouth open for them to throw their clothes into. Letting them have ownership in a new habit you want them to form will help you tremendously in getting them to actually do it!
Set up a system that works for your family in order to get the hampers to the laundry room. If your kids are very small, you will have to be the one to do this. If your kids are a little bigger, they can do it themselves. You may want it done everyday, or maybe every other day will work better for you. Just make sure you have a system in place and your family knows what it is.
One more important tip…when you take your hampers to the laundry room, throw all the empty hangers from the closet on top of the clothes. You’ll understand why in a few minutes.
Okay, let’s move to the laundry room!
We're in the Laundry Room...Now What?
There are six must-have items to include in your organized laundry room...
1. Laundry Baskets
2. Flat Surface for Folding
3. Place to Hang Clothes/Hangers
4. A Clear Container for Lone Socks
5. A Cabinet or Shelf for Laundry Care Items
6. An Ironing Board and Iron
You need five large laundry baskets and one small or medium laundry basket (one that’s easy to carry).
The five large laundry baskets need to be different colors-one each of white, blue, red, brown or black, and the last, any other color of your choice. Why? It will make sorting the laundry easier for the whole family, and will save you a ton of time!
When the laundry hampers are brought to the laundry room from the bathrooms and bedrooms, the clothes must be sorted into the laundry room baskets immediately. No more throwing everything into a pile and spending thirty minutes sorting it before it goes into the washer.
Here’s the breakdown of what goes into each basket:
White Basket-whites, of course!
Blue Basket-blue jeans
Red Basket-reds, pinks, oranges, purples
Brown or Black Basket-dark colors
Last Basket (Your Choice of Color)-towels
What about the small or medium basket? What’s that for? We’re so glad you asked!
Here’s an important point…Laundry must be done in your organized laundry room! All of it. No exceptions! No more piles of clean clothes getting piled on beds and then thrown on the floor when it’s time to go to bed. And then continuing to grow…and grow…and grow, while we spend our mornings digging through the pile to find clothes to wear, and then pulling out a wrinkled mess that we don’t have time to iron.
We will fold our clothes in our organized laundry room. Then we will place our folded clothes into the small or medium basket and carry them immediately to the room they belong in and put them away.
We’ll talk more about actually doing the laundry more on our housekeeping page. For now, let’s get back to organizing the laundry room.
Flat Surface for Folding
A flat surface for folding is essential if you’re going to be able to complete your laundry in the organized laundry room. There are any number of things you can use for your flat surface-a table, a countertop, the top of the washer and dryer, an ironing board, a chest freezer. Use whatever is available and you have room for.
However, you must make sure that your flat surface does not become a holding place for clutter. It has to remain clear so you can fold your laundry there.
Now let’s move on…
Place to Hang Clothes/Hangers
Remember earlier when we told you to bring empty hangers to the organized laundry room when you bring in the dirty clothes hampers? Now we’ll tell you why…
We’re actually going to hang our clothes up right out of the dryer instead of taking them to the bedrooms. Your organized laundry room will have some sort of a pole installed to hang clothes on. Empty hangers will be placed on one end, closest to the dryer.
As you take hang-up clothes out of the dryer, place them on the hangers. Then you will hang them on the pole, organized by family member. That way, when you take them down to put them away, they will already be sorted, saving you time!
One more tip…for kid’s clothes, hang them up by outfit (shirt and pants on one hanger). This will make it much easier for them to pick out their clothes.
A Clear Container for Lone Socks
No matter how hard you try, you are going to end up with a few lone socks here and there. Get a clear container to throw them in. That way, you’ll be able to see what’s in there.
Once a week, go through your container and see if you’ve got any matches in there. Clean it out every month or two and get rid of lone socks who never found their mate.
A Cabinet or Shelf for Laundry Care Items
Choosing a place to keep your laundry care items can be tricky. You want it to be convenient for you, but it also has to be out of the reach of small children.
For convenience, make sure it’s close to the washer and dryer and within reach of your extended arm. You don’t want to have to get a stool every time you need laundry detergent.
For safety, make sure it’s high enough that your kids can’t reach it or climb up to it easily. If it’s in a cabinet, put a child lock on the door.
Remember, safety is always more important than convenience!
An Ironing Board and Iron
If you’re doing laundry efficiently, you won’t have to use your ironing board and iron nearly as often. You still want to have it available, though. There will always be times when you will need it.
If you’re not using your ironing board as a flat folding surface, keep it put away when you’re not using it. Otherwise, it will just become another place to pile clutter.
You can purchase an inexpensive hanger to place on the wall that is made for holding your ironing board and your iron. They’re really handy!
Once you get all of these items in place in your organized laundry room, you will have an efficient and productive place to do your laundry. You might even secretly start to enjoy it! Don’t worry…we won’t tell!
Watch for more great laundry tips in “The Calm Mom” Newsletter.