I hope you guys all had a great weekend. As I shared on Friday, I’m definitely starting to feel the pressure to get the house neat, tidy and in order before the fall season begins. We have a few big projects in the works that are going to make things pretty messy around here for a hot bit. I want to make sure in advance I’m not replacing one mess for another, you know what I mean? That was one of the biggest lessons I learned during the One Room Challenge office makeover.
So, late last week when I was organizing and maintaining the linen closets I decided to tackle the laundry room too. You may remember we gave the entire space a makeover in March of this year. The space has mostly stayed in working order but we’re probably no different than most of you – the clothes seem to wind up at the feet of the laundry hamper as opposed to actually in the laundry hamper; we make our own laundry soap and sometimes there seems to be more soap granules on the floor than in the dispenser; we get a load or two behind and the folding station starts to look like a free for all…you get what I’m saying, right?
It’s one thing to be organized and yet…as we all know…it’s a completely different thing to maintain the organizational system you have set in place. The key to making it all work is…simplicity. Here are a few steps to keep in mind:
Step 1: Determine your needs
Step 2: Declutter
Step 3: Develop a container & labeling system that best fits your family’s needs based on frequency of use
Step 4: Create a laundry schedule
Step 5: Repeatedly Maintain
Determine your needs – We spend a lot of time on the laundry each week so make sure your laundry room is set up for success from the very beginning. At the very least you need a place to wash/fold/dry/hang clothes, store laundry products & iron. If possible, create zones to accomplish these basic needs.
Declutter – I know a lot of your laundry spaces also perform double duty as cleaning closets. Consider consolidating items you already have multiples of or relocating those items closer to the rooms/spaces in which they’re actually used. Obviously, if you have pets, children or elderly parents you’ll need to make sure chemicals are placed out of their reach. In addition, when you have time go through clothes that no longer fit your style or your body. You would be amazed at the “someday” items that clutter our spaces and the laundry room is no exception.
Develop a container and labeling system – You may have already figured this out but we’re big believers in decanting things in clear containers around here. It’s an easy way to see what you have and what you need. Guess who is currently out of dryer sheets? These jars can be purchased at most big box stores and the labels can be made using Pic Monkey and contact paper.
Create a laundry schedule – In the beginning, come Thursday night almost always around 8 or 9 pm when I was the process of getting ready for bed I would hear these words….”Hey, do I have any jeans for tomorrow? You know we can wear jeans on Friday.” It drove me bananas. I was tired. I just wanted to go to sleep. I was over it and yet, the laundry is my responsibility. It wasn’t until we came up with laundry schedule that nights like that are thankfully now a rarity.
You can either set aside one day each week to finish a week’s worth of laundry or consider assigning each family member a different laundry day so the laundry can be completed throughout the week.
Repeatedly maintain – this one is probably the toughest one because it is SO easy to get off track. Honestly, all it takes in this house is a few days out being of town, visiting littles or sick pets and the laundry starts to pile up quicker than Christmas snowflakes in Boston. When this happens give yourself grace and get back on track one complete load (wash/dry/fold/hang/put away) at a time.
I know for a lot of us, our laundry rooms serve a multi-purpose function. It can be easy for us to overlook the want to make the space beautiful when our need is for the room to be efficient. I promise you, you have both. The laundry room is a lot like the other spaces in your home in that you need to make intentional decorative choices. Maybe the laundry doesn’t top your list of “favorite housekeeping tasks” but creating a laundry space you at least enjoy will lift your spirits while you’re in there folding those towels for the umpteenth time.
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