It's not often we're blown away by a laundry room. In fact, many homeowners we visit try hard to hide this space. They'll speed-walk past a closed door, offering only, "In there is just the laundry room. You don't want to see that." This was not the case with the Mitchell-Leef family, who put a lot of planning into their laundry room with the help of Harrison Design Associates in Atlanta. The room is all about the best storage, a smart layout, and little details that make cleaning clothes less time-consuming. We've piled up their tips plus many more.
- Keep stain removers, sponges, and scrubbers in containers on a shelf or in a cabinet above your washing machine. Transfer detergents into smaller, dishwasher-safe containers that are easier to handle.
- Trade in your clunky ironing board that's a hassle to fold up and down for one that can be mounted on a wall or on the back of a door. Find full-size boards online at sites such as www.containerstore.com and www.stacksandstacks.com.
- Post a stain-fighting cheat sheet on the inside of a cabinet door.
- Counterspace can be the key to spending less time in the laundry room. If you don't have any, consider purchasing a small melamine table, which is stain- and water-resistant. You'll be able to treat and fold clothes faster.
- If you don't have a sink, set a large bowl nearby for soaking items.
- Place a lost-and-found bin near your washer and dryer to toss in stuff found in pockets or at the bottom of the dryer, such as keys, buttons, and loose change.
Be Smart With Space
- Evaluate how much washing you're doing these days. If you're not using the most efficient machines for your needs, new ones may actually save you money. When buying new machines, always investigate how much electricity they will use in a year. Other design features that help save energy include water level controls, moisture sensors, and spin cycle adjustments.
- Switch the door on the washing machine and/or dryer to open the other way if that makes it easier to load and unload laundry.
Never face a heaping pile of dirty clothes again! Designate baskets for darks, lights, and dry-cleaning so everyone can help sort clothes. Have canvas-lined baskets embroidered, or label them with a fabric marker. Discount and specialty stores sell rolling carts with divided bins. Use adhesive felt letters to label each one, so everyone knows what goes where.