Clutter is usually a result of indecision. As in, you can’t decide where to put it so you leave it where it is or find a random spot to stash it. Clutter contributes to not being able to find what you are looking for. You rummage about, making a bigger mess, yet still cannot find what you are looking for so you go out and buy items over and over again. It’s a vicious cycle.
Laundry room organization is a big challenge because this space itself is typically a “catch all” room, says Lisa Malone, professional organizer in the Baltimore and Northern DC metro areas. 'Catch all rooms are homes for items who don’t have a designated home.'
'The professional organizing process follows a standard formula with every project,' explains Malone. 'No matter what room or area, the key to success is the same—empty the space, purge (via trash and donations) or rehome items not meant to stay, sort remaining items in groups, design an organizational management system, contain each group where appropriate, and label the areas or containers so items can be easily found and returned.'
Whether you’re looking to optimize your existing laundry room or you’re about to undertake a serious decluttering and re-organizing process, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to organize your laundry room once and for all. These expert-approved tips will help you tackle the project and keep your laundry pile under control—without becoming overwhelmed in the process.
1. Purge 50-60 percent of items
Depending on how many items are crammed into the space, you may have to purge up to 50-60 percent to end up with a livable, manageable, calm oasis that will be your new laundry room, says Malone. If you started hyperventilating at the thought of getting rid of that much stuff (aka THE PURGE), do not panic!
Statistics show people use (or wear) only 20 percent of items they own, 80 percent of the time. While this part of the project feels impossible, find a friend or family member who can help by making it go more quickly and painlessly by joining in, making purge recommendations, and keeping you focused.
2. Take a step back and consider what makes sense
Before you start adding any bells and whistles to your laundry room, really consider how you use it, says Jennifer Carter, interior designer at Studio Envie. What kind of pieces are you washing consistently? Do you hang dry a lot of items? Consider a hanging rod in the room to easily dry right out of the washer. Hand-washing delicates? Perhaps a utility sink and/or a wall-hung rack that opens to easily hang these.
3. Maintain designated storage areas
'When storing things in the laundry room, a smart organization tip is to place like-items together,' says Dan Wiener, founder and lead interior designer for Homedude. 'Place all of your supplies (detergent, stain remover, etc.) in one area where you can easily find them when you need them.'
It's also important to make sure that these supplies are not expired. At least twice a year, check each product and throw out anything that is past its expiration date. Include baskets and pouches within your laundry storage to contain smaller items such as detergent pods and individual fabric softener sheets so they do not take up an entire shelf or drawer.
4. Keep the room clean
Keeping the room clean sounds like an obvious one – but it’s important to mention because it makes it easier to do laundry and also keeps your family safe and healthy. For example, if children put their dirty clothes in the washer without first putting them in the hamper, the floor of the room will get dirty rather quickly. This should be avoided because it makes for an unpleasant laundry experience.
'A good tip is to place sturdy hampers in each bedroom so kids can easily drop off their clothes before coming downstairs,' explains Wiener. 'Wipe down counters daily or at least once a week to maintain a fresh look throughout the year. These small steps can make a big difference in achieving organization, which will bring you peace of mind and also save you a lot of time.'
5. Keep “like” items together.
Organize similar items next to each other as much as possible for ease of use, says Wiener. This means items like hangers, laundry soap, fabric softener, stain remover, and irons should be placed together. 'If you store them in this way, they are easy to find when you need them. This method also makes putting away laundry much easier because it is simple to see where each item goes,' he says.
6. Invest in shelves
The laundry room should be equipped with shelves that can accommodate detergent, stain removers, etc., and other things stored in the room. It maximizes the space and helps reduce the mess inside.
'To make the most of these storage spaces, place the items you use regularly on the lowest shelves and items you rarely use on higher shelves,' suggests Wiener. 'This prevents clutter on the lower shelves, while still making these supplies easily accessible when you need them.'
7. Get your ironing board off the ground
Ironing boards take up so much space. Consider an enclosed wall hung unit that you can open whenever you need to iron clothing. Bonus points if it holds the iron. Just make sure it’s positioned at a comfortable height for the homeowner and an outlet is nearby, says Carter.
8. Store your laundry baskets out of sight
'Consider a place to keep laundry baskets when not in use,' adds Carter. 'Sometimes we leave an open space for clients between base cabinets to keep their baskets neatly tucked away.'
9. Add a waste basket
Carter also suggests you make sure to include a waste basket somewhere handy. 'There is always lint in the dryer filter and the further you have to travel to the trash, the more dust you’re tracking!'
10. Enforce folding forgiveness
'One tip we endorse is folding forgiveness,' says Ben Soreff, professional organizer at House to Home. 'If you have a lot of children at home and if they are helping with the laundry, you can certainly fake it by using a quick fold, knowing the kids are going to destroy the clothes drawers everyday and perfect is the enemy of done.'
However, if you have the time, then one of the most important things you need to fold laundry is a clear surface like a table or bed. 'You also want to batch clothes first by sorting them out so you can get into a rhythm folding one type of clothing all at once,' adds Soreff.
What should every laundry room have?
Every laundry room will be vastly different based on people who live in the household – but to set yourself up for success you’ll want to include a few key items no matter whose or what type of laundry you’re doing. Consider adding closed off storage for your laundry detergent, dryer sheets, stain removers, and any other liquids or disposables that you use on a regular basis.
You’ll also want to ensure your laundry room has a small waste basket for dryer sheets, lint, clothing tags, and any other small non-perishable waste that may find itself in your jeans pockets or sweaters.
Every laundry room should also have ample space for folding laundry (if possible). This could mean adding a drop-down ironing board that folds into the wall when not in use or simply ensuring all your essentials are up off the ground to give way for you to move around and fold as needed.
How do you organize towels in a laundry room?
There are many different ways to organize towels in your laundry room. If you've got ample cabinet space, consider folding your towels flat and piling them high, keeping your colors in order, so that you can easily see, at a glance, what you've got. If you're putting your towels into drawers, roll them and position them vertically, so the swirly top of each towel is on show, as this again means you can see everything you have without having to sift through piles. If cabinet and drawer space is minimal, roll your towels up and position them in jute baskets. This works as an aesthetic design feature too. If you're really struggling for space, look to the walls. Wall mounted towel holders are a great way to store your towels and keep them on display.