Has your laundry room become a complete dumping ground for, well, just about everything?
It’s very common in the homes I visit to see the shelves and cabinets surrounding my clients' laundry machines becoming a catch-all for things like cleaning products, paper towels, bulk toilet paper, back-up toiletries, random tools, lint balls, loose change, and so much more. And there’s nothing wrong with the fact that we (yes, "we"... I'm including myself in this one) allow these flat surfaces to become the places where such items land; it's called being a real-life human.
...but let's be honest. Without routine maintenance and organizing systems in place, all of this additional clutter can really pile up and lead us to feeling majorly stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated every time we go to throw in a load.
(psst... if the thought of getting the clothes in your dirty hampers washed, dried, and folded each day is already eating away at your soul, check out this post to learn how one simple mindset shift completely changed my relationship with laundry!)
Anyhoo, when we take the time to assign specific homes for the items that find themselves either landing or living in our laundry room storage areas, we are able to:
Minimize clean-up times.
Increase efficiency and productivity.
If you're ready to learn the steps on how to create a functional, organized laundry room, then read on, my friend!
Step 1: Decluttering and Relocating
As with many other home organization projects, I'd encourage you to start with a joint decluttering and relocation sweep. Set some time aside in your calendar to engage in the following activities:
Decluttering: Make decisions on which items are no longer being used, and either throw them away or place them in a labeled bag or box to offer to a family member, friend, or local organization in need.
Relocating: Inevitably there will be items in your laundry room that simply do not belong there, so take this time to walk them to the spaces they should be in.
In order to work through and accomplish Step 1 with the least amount of stress, I would suggest starting in one corner of your laundry space and working your way through the shelves or cabinets top-to-bottom, left-to-right. Doing this offers a clear start and finish mark so that if and when you need to return to the project at a later point in time (because let’s face it, distractions occur and those kids' lunch boxes are not going to pack themselves!), you know exactly where to begin again.
Step 2: Categorizing and Space Planning
In order to effectively space plan for the items you plan on keeping in your laundry room, you need to identify the categories--perhaps even subcategories--of these items. There are two ways you can go about categorizing and space planning for your new-and-improved laundry space, and here they are:
If you are able to commit about one uninterrupted hour to this step, then you can remove all of the "Keep" items from the space and sort them into categories on a nearby table, floor, or other such surface. As you sort out the items, be sure to use sticky notes to label each pile in order to make the process run more smoothly.
If you are NOT able to commit a good chunk of time to this step, then walk in a circle around the space (again, yes) and use a notepad to jot down the items you are choosing to store. Then, use highlighters to color-code these items into specific categories, such as yellow for "Cleaning Products", blue for "Paper Products", green for "Tools", and so on.
After determining the categories your items fall into, think about where each should go to best accommodate you and your individual needs moving forward.
Keep the words Function, Flow, and Safety in mind when you're determining how to zone out these items!
Step 3: Organizing and Labeling
Now that you've decluttered, sorted your keepers into categories, and planned for where to store each group of items, it's time to put everything into it's new home! Here are some quick suggestions on how to encourage order and maintenance in this space:
Keep taller items behind shorter ones so everything can easily be seen.
Consider using storage options like Lazy Susans and drop front bins to make your items easily accessible and free from toppling over like dominoes when you go to reach for the one wayyy in the back. (*Amazon Associate links)
Use labels on shelves, cabinets, and bins to encourage easy maintenance.
Want to see how one of my client's transformed her laundry space by following the steps outlined in this post? Click here to view her before/after!
Yes, it will take you some time to get through the three steps outlined in this post; however, if you are committed to getting your laundry room tidied up and under control, then following these steps will work like gold! Get your coffee brewed, your favorite podcast or playlist ready, and starting reclaiming your laundry space! You've got this!