Organizing a Laundry Room
The best way to organize a laundry room is almost always in terms of the specific types of tasks you undertake there. Its size, temperature and humidity, location, accoutrements, and pleasantness, will determine what you can do there as well as what you want to do there.
For example, if the laundry room is small, you may have no room to hang clothes to dry. You might have to set up an indoor line or clothes rack in a neighboring room. If it is humid, clothes may not dry there anyway. If it is in the basement, you may prefer fold clothes upstairs closer to the bureaus and closets where they will be stored. If it has no sink, you may choose to soak and wash delicates in the kitchen or bathroom. And if it is not as pleasant as it might be, you just may prefer to spend as little time there as possible.
But whatever the possibilities and limitations you face may be, it’s good to consider the different tasks that you will perform, grouping things needed for the same task, and to consider the flow of the process you use to do your laundry in order to create a sensible mirror of that flow in the room. So, for example, you might, starting on the left, place the washer, then the dryer, then the folding table, so that you and the laundry moves through the room in a logical order.
The Laundry Process
Doing laundry usually starts with sorting clothes into like piles, grouping delicates, whites, darks, kitchen cloths and towels, bedding, and items that need special treatment (such as stain removal) separately—or whatever laundry groupings you use. Depending on your household, this may happen before the laundry even reaches the laundry room. If not, sorting hampers or bins in the laundry room might be the first step. These might be stored in a row on the floor, ready to receive laundry, stacked on a shelf, or hung from hooks on the wall, depending on the room’s configuration. Some new storage units designed for the laundry room include slide-out bins to store dirty/clean laundry vertically, saving floor space.
The next step to doing laundry is generally pretreating. This may happen in the washer or in and around a sink, if the laundry room has one. For this stage, you need stain treatments within easy reach. This is also the time at which pre-laundering mending may take place. A mending kit and/or a sewing machine in a well-lit area will prove useful.
This is followed by cleaning the clothes, which may happen in the sink or the washer, or even the dryer, if you are using a home dry cleaning product. Again, the detergent or soap, any additives you use, such as borax powder or bleach, and any fabric softener should be within easy reach. Many people find it useful to have shelving just above the washer/sink area to hold these items. Freestanding shelves that form a bridge over washer and dryer and have plastic covered wire shelving and a hanger holder are available as an option. All the laundry products can be organized on the shelf near the area in which they are used.
From the washing stage, clothes may go to several different places: a drying rack, a laundry line, spread on a towel on a flat surface, the dryer, or directly to hangers. Some people give some clothes a short dryer time to help get out wrinkles before hanging the laundry to dry. Hooks on the wall can hang the folded drying rack out of the way when it is not in use. A pressure bar inserted in a doorway can serve as a temporary place to hang long clothes for drying. It can be taken up and down or left in place.
Some clothes will move to a new area before they are finished drying: they will be ironed while still damp. Others will be ironed when dry. While some people have their iron right in the laundry room, others prefer to iron in a different part of the house.
Many clothes will first dry and then be either hung or folded and perhaps moved to laundry baskets to be transported back to their storage area in a closet or bureau. The laundry baskets may be stored similarly to the sorting bins or hampers.
Written by Mary Elizabeth
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