Few people enjoy doing laundry, but let’s face it – it’s got to get done. Instead of dreading it, take an afternoon and introduce some simple organization to your laundry room. With just a little effort and some small purchases, you may find laundry a more pleasant task that’s not nearly as time consuming.

First, declutter your laundry room. Take out everything that weighs less than 25 pounds or isn’t bolted down. Remove the broom that’s been resting in a corner, unplug the dust buster, and box up all the various products you’ve collected in your years of laundry.

Now it’s time to clean and decorate your space. Use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to reach behind the appliances and in the corners under the sink. Get all the dust bunnies that have been accumulating since you last cleaned this space. Now turn to the appliances themselves. Wipe down their surfaces, cleaning up the spilled and dried-on detergent. If there’s a nick in the enamel, use a kit from the hardware store to patch it before rust sets in. Mop down the floor. If there’s a throw rug, wash it. Anything that makes the laundry room more pleasant will make you feel better about the task. In fact, think about keeping a radio or MP3 docking station in the laundry room so you can enjoy your favorite music while you work.

If you can put some more time into this project, make your laundry room a more pleasant work environment by painting the walls a favorite color. Hang some artwork or family photos on the wall. The photos can help keep you smiling when you’re almost buried by the loads of your family’s dirty jeans and sweatshirts.
Now make a list of what you really need in your laundry room and throw out whatever does not make the list. Too often the laundry room becomes the catch-all for things without a permanent home, which can eat up what is probably already a small space.

What do you need for an efficient laundry room? It would be nice to have a space for sorting clothes, but that may be asking too much of the basic laundry room layout. But you will need a place to store laundry products, hang clothes and perhaps fold clothes. You’ll also need a small trash can to collect lint and used dryer sheets – and perhaps a basket of clothespins. Those are the basics. On top of that, it would be helpful to install wire shelving above the washer and dryer to keep laundry products off the top of the appliances, but within reach. You can use the clothespins to hang socks or delicates to the shelving. If you don’t have wire shelving, look for a shelf that hangs off the side of a front-loading washer or drawers can go between the washer and dryer. These will keep your products within easy reach.

Some shelving systems include a clothing rack. If you don’t have this, find a wall rack where you can hang clothing as soon as it comes out of the dryer. An over-the-door rack often holds eight to 10 hangers. A drying rack would be helpful for hand-washed clothes that can’t go in the dryer. And for clothing that must be “laid flat to dry,” look for a drying rack that rests atop your laundry room sink.
Now it’s time to bring back in your laundry products. They do not expire, but if you have a product you don’t really like or just haven’t used for a year, then it’s time to either toss it in the trash or give it to a friend who might like it. You do not need products taking up precious shelf space. Put your detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets in one lightweight bin that fits on the wire shelf. It can be pulled down on laundry day and tucked out of sight on other days. If you’ve hit the age where you need reading glasses to read the washing instructions on clothing, then do yourself a favor and buy a cheap pair and leave them in the bin with your laundry products. You’ll never again have to run find your glasses to read the tag!

If you’re someone who enjoys a crisp crease on your trousers or shirts, then set up an ironing station in your laundry room. Put the iron, spray starch and press cloth together in another lightweight bin so you have all your tools in one spot. If you don’t have the room for a full ironing board, then consider a short board that can fit on the top of the dryer.

Finally, some organization outside the laundry room can also make laundry an easier task. Give each member of the family a couple bins or hampers so they can sort their dirty clothes by colors before it comes to you.

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