2011 Organizing Guide: Create an Efficient Laundry Space

Ready for an efficient laundry space?Laundry – it’s a fact of life like death and taxes. And yet it’s amazing how our laundry area can become a dumping ground for lost and mismatched items. The good news is, it’s generally a small space so should take less than an hour to whip into shape.

Ready? Grab your vacuum, a broom, a bucket and cleaning cloth, and an empty laundry basket if you have one. Step one is to clear off all the surfaces in your laundry area- the tops of the machines, counters if you have them, and cupboards if you’re lucky enough to have those. (Go over the steps for our Closet Clean-up for cupboards if you haven’t tackled them already.) Dump everything into the empty laundry basket, if it won’t fit in just one grab another one or any sort of bin.

We’ll start with creating a little mess first – check your dryer lint trap and make sure it’s cleaned out and there’s no residue inside your dryer seals. If you see any, clean it now and make a note to check whether your dryer vent also needs cleaning (depending on where you live – spring might be a good time to tackle this chore from the outside of the house.) Once that’s done, gently pull your washer and dryer away from the wall a little so you can get behind them with the vacuum hose or broom and collect any dust and dirt or random socks and washcloths that have managed to slip behind there.

Add some water to your bucket and a little dish soap or even laundry soap if that’s easier, and wipe down the machines and dials – open the washer and check for soap residue along the seals and edges and scrub it off. Clean the surfaces of any counters and shelves or laundry sink space you have as well. Finish up with a quick clean up the floor around your space.

Now grab the laundry basket full of ‘stuff’. Determine what needs to go back and what really isn’t necessary. Are you ever going to find the mate for sock that’s been haunting the laundry room for months? Do you want to keep the sweater that shrunk or has the stain you just can’t get out as a testament to laundry failures? What about that stain fighter product that didn’t live up to the advertisement? Pare things down.

Once you’re down to the essentials, take stock of your space. Do you have room for everything you need to be efficient? Is there a spot to store your detergents, dryer sheets, bleach, and stain fighters? Do you have a surface for folding clothes – if not, is there space to bring in a small folding table or laundry organizer? What about Ironing? An ironing board can fit on the wall or back of a door when not in use. Have you defined a space to collect delicate items until you have a full load? Do you have a jar or basket to collect spare change, pens, and other items left in pockets?
Do you have the tools you need air dry laundry (a drying rack, clothes line and pins, or sweater rack?)

Once everything is back where it belongs you’re set. Cross another area off your list and go relax…or pop in a quick load of laundry.

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