Everyone has it, nobody wants it. We all have our own routines when it comes to getting the stuff done. Some of us do a little every day, some of us wait until we can’t see the bedroom floor anymore. Some of us just do it whenever we can get to it, some of us have a designated “Laundry Day”. Most of us have a “piling place” somewhere (or multiple somewheres…) in our homes.
I do okay with laundry. It’s not my least favorite chore, mostly because I tend to get a little sentimental while folding the miniature clothes that I know will only fit my kids’ tiny bodies for a short while. But it’s taken a while to come to this place of acceptance, because I have held a grudge against my tiny laundry
room corner for a long time. I love our little home, but ohhhh, how I would love a designated room for all the washing and hanging and drying and folding that needs to take place in order to keep my little family of four clothed.
Most of the reason that I have forever been dreaming of a real, grown-up laundry room is because I hate seeing clothes OUT. In my dream world, all the clothes would live either hanging in their proper place or in the laundry room. No late-night folding on the couch, no drying clothes hanging over the backs of kitchen chairs, no stray piles sitting on the shelf in the corner of the bedroom. Since I’m not moving anytime soon, and my dream laundry room probably won’t be a reality until all of my tiny filth dispensers – errr, sweet children – are doing their own laundry, I made it a priority this past spring to find a method that makes the most of the space we DO have, instead of just dealing with the mess and dreaming of a distant future of color-sorted laundry baskets, a built-in folding table, ironing station, and a stunning backsplash (of course).
So, I’ve found some solid solutions for my tiny laundry room that 1) contain the clothes mess in ONE miniature space, 2) don’t cost an arm and a leg, and 3) ACTUALLY WORK IN REAL LIFE. There is not a solitary thing in internet-land that drives me more crazy than a “solution” that looks so beautiful but is actually completely unrealistic or unsustainable. As much as I love you, Pinterest, I’m looking at you…
So, here’s what you need to do:
- Get some kind of storage system that does not involve storing things on top of your dryer or front-loading washer (if you are so lucky to have one of those beauties!). This is important because you are going to need that space! If you have a tiny laundry room/closet/corner, and you want to keep all the business in that space, your machines are going to become your workstation.
We (and by we, I mean, I was not involved in any way in this process) bought some inexpensive pre-made cabinets from Lowe’s and installed them above our washer and dryer. Detergent, dryer sheets, stain treatment, and iron all live up there so the tops of the washer and dryer are free.
If this isn’t a possibility, for instance if you have a stackable washer/dryer in a closet off of your kitchen (hey, apartment-living!), try out a small floating shelf. You don’t need to store a ton of stuff, you just need it out of the way.
2. Install a hanging rod if you air dry a lot of your stuff. I’ve gotten to the point that I pretty much put nothing in the dryer, because clothes are expensive, hello – so a place to hang clothes to dry is a big-time necessity. My husband and dad whipped up a little wooden hanging rod that they screwed in between our cabinets, but I’ve seen the same goal accomplished with a simple tension curtain rod. Easy and cheap.
3. Consider an ironing pad in place of an ironing board. These genius square pads sit right on top of your machine so you can ditch the gigantic, squeaky (why are they all squeaky?!) ironing board. You can fold the ironing pad right up and put it away until you need it. If you are like me, this means ONCE A MONTH OR LESS BECAUSE IRONING IS THE WORST THING EVER.
4. I hit on this a bit before, but your machines are now your workstations. Here’s what my laundry station looks like mid-load:
Stuff hanging everywhere – but ONLY IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM.
And here is folding mode:
Also, please get yourself a sock basket. Match and fold the socks no more than once every two weeks. This is essential to your happiness and personal well-being.
I love doing laundry this way because it keeps piles off of other surfaces in my house. If I fold on the coffee table while watching TV with my husband, I am 100x more likely to leave the clothes sitting there overnight, where they will ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT QUESTION be knocked over, piled up, and probably basted in some kind of bodily fluid by one of my children at 6:30 the following morning.
5. You have now done the laundry – hooray! But listen. This is where us small-laundry-room people win the race. If you have stayed with me this far, you have a huge advantage on your friend Lindsay (obviously with an “a” instead of an “e”) who has a Second Floor Laundry Palace. Because while Lindsay can leave her beautiful clothes sitting in their neat little stacks in the Laundry Palace until tomorrow, your clothes have now merged into one massive pile, threatening to fall onto the floor of your kitchen, mudroom, or bathroom. These are not pleasant places for clean laundry to fall, so you need to get them out of there STAT.
Take the clothes directly from the folding station to their dwelling places. This means a chest of drawers or a closet. Not the couch in the next room. I do not know why, but this is a some sort of a universal struggle. You got the clothes clean, you got them folded, now PUT THEM AWAY. IMMEDIATELY. I’M SORRY FOR YELLING BUT THIS IS NECESSARY. YOU HAVE COME THIS FAR – YOU DO NOT NEED TO LIVE THE NEXT FOUR DAYS OF YOUR LIFE LOOKING AT A PILE OF CLEAN CLOTHES ON YOUR DRESSER FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE. Said another way – You deserve the simple pleasure of looking around at a room that does not feature a pile of mismatched socks in the corner.
Try it out, friends, and let me know how it goes.