The past two weeks, I’ve shared about deep cleaning both the dryer and the washer in the laundry room. Today we are going to focus on getting the room itself tidied up and making things work a little more smoothly. I’ll be sharing some of the things I have done over the years to keep a handle on the family laundry.
First, now that our laundry machines are sparkling clean, let’s take a look around the room itself.
The laundry room tends to be a magnet for clutter. A catch-all for not just piles of laundry, but cleaning supplies, outdoor clothing and everything else you can imagine. So let’s get started.
- Go through the shelves and/or cabinets in your laundry room. Tidy and organize the items that are supposed to be there. Inexpensive bins from the store are helpful for keeping things organized, particularly if you have those wire shelves that are so common. Discard any old cleaning supplies that you will probably never use.
- As you clean off each shelf or clean out each cabinet, wipe them down with a damp rag.
- Any items that are out of place and belong in other locations…now is the time to put them in their proper places. Out of season clothing should be cleaned and put into storage for next year.
Now that the laundry room is tidy, let’s talk about a few ways to make laundry day easier.
How do you sort the dirty laundry itself? If you have little children or do all of the family’s laundry together, having a sorted laundry system can be a serious time saver. When my children were little, I had a rolling cart that was almost identical to this one.
What I loved about this particular cart, was that I could sort the laundry as it was dirtied. One section was for whites, one section for colors and one section for delicate items. When we lived in Germany, our laundry was in the basement of the building. I could roll this cart right out to the elevator, take it down to the laundry area, and get all of the laundry in the washers with ease. We had a large central bathroom in our apartment that this was stored in and all of the laundry went into it each day. Something like this could be stored in your bedroom or in your laundry room to simplify your laundry day as well.
I have always been a strong proponent of children having age appropriate chores. I believe it teaches many lessons, including life skills and responsibility. When my kids reached a certain age, I gave them all their own laundry baskets. I took a permanent marker and wrote their names on the side. Inside I drew funny little cartoons….like a sock puppet that said “FEED ME!” Then I had assigned days for laundry.
Monday was Jennifer’s day, she is our oldest. Tuesday was Joshua’s day. Wednesday was for Jack, the youngest. Each assigned day that child would do all of their laundry. They would sort it into colors and whites, wash, dry (in the dryer or the clothes line), fold and put away their clothing. Thursday and Friday I would do my and the hubby’s laundry, as well as towels and linens.
How young is too young? That is totally your call. But I will say this, Jack – “the baby” of the family was doing his own laundry at age 8. Of course, I would go behind and make sure each child completed their laundry by the end of the day with little reminders. I would supervise as needed, but their laundry was their job. If they missed their day, then then they would have to wait until the other kids had finished theirs and squeeze it in.
Have a Lost & Found
What do you do with odd socks and other “found” items? Keep a small basket in the laundry room to toss the odd socks and such in until their mates are found. Every so often go through, and if a match is never made, either discard the odd sock or put it in your “rag bag” to use for other things.
Use Expandable Drying Racks
Everyone needs to hang something to dry once in a while. Even if you have a clothes line outside, at times the weather will not permit you to hang it in that beautiful sunshine. You may also have garments that are to be dried while laying flat. Use a drying rack that can be expanded for use, and folded away for storage. It will only take up space when you are using it, and be out of the way when you aren’t. I have one just like this, that I have had for years and years. I got it in Germany. It has given me 2 decades of service, and was used when I got it. You can’t beat that.
The second rack that I have, also serves as rustic wall art. I purchased it in Tennessee at an Amish farm. I think I paid less than $20 for it. It hangs on the wall when not in use. I think it looks like an octopus. Then when I want to use it, I expand the arms.
Lift up the bottom and hook it with the attached hook, and hang the items to dry over the arms. When the items are dry, it lays back down again against the wall, taking up no storage space.
Share any laundry tips that you have in the comments below!
To see how to make your own laundry soap and save serious $, check out my post on Homemade Laundry Soap.