Laundry rooms are one of the busiest rooms in most homes and mine is no exception. I needed to seriously declutter my laundry room because it was a disorganized catastrophe. It was so bad sometimes I just closed the door between the laundry room and the kitchen and pretended the mess wasn’t there. I mainly did this when company was over but I really can’t do this often because we have to walk through the laundry room to get from the garage into the house. There’s no avoiding it. As with other messy spots in my home, I let it go for far too long and it turned into a bear of a project.
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Why Is My Laundry Room So Messy?
I know I’m not the only one with a messy laundry room but I wanted to figure out why it had gotten so bad. Understanding why is kind of important because it will help you get to the root of the problem and can go a long way to help you fix it and prevent future clutter.
So I did a little brainstorming and here’s what I came up with.
My laundry room is messy for three reasons (maybe you can relate to some of these):
It lacks storage. We don’t have cabinets in this room. I’m not sure why but we didn’t have them when we moved in and we’ve never bothered to add them. And even with the shelving we have, there just isn’t enough space for everything we keep in here.
It was never set up properly. No planning went into setting up the laundry room when we moved in. I literally put things where I thought they would fit without thinking about how the room would function on a daily basis. This gets me into trouble every time. I little preplanning really does go a long way.
The laundry room has six different functions. That’s a whole lot of stuff happening in one room. It’s really important to think about the functions of your laundry room (or any room) because the more you do in the space the more likely it is to get messy. If you know this beforehand you may choose to limit those functions so that you have less stuff to manage and declutter.
Here are the six things I do in my laundry room:
- Laundry― This goes without saying but I also need additional space to hang clothes that needs to be air dried. I have a drying rack that I set up from time to time IF I have enough room.
- Recycling― We have two recycling containers, one for general recycling and one for film plastic. I keep the recycling containers in here because they don’t fit in the kitchen.
- Shoe storage― We don’t wear shoes in the house so as soon as we walk through the door we take them off and leave them in this room. They should go on the shoe rack but that almost never happens. Shoes just spread all over the laundry room floor.
- Worm composting― Yeah, I know…this is not something you expect to find in the laundry room. I don’t want to throw my food in the trash for a variety of reasons and worm composting is the most convenient way to make sure my food doesn’t end up in a landfill.
- Storage― We have miscellaneous things stored in the laundry room that we can’t fit in the kitchen. I also keep my broom, vacuum and other cleaning tools in here.
- Unofficial Dumping Ground― This isn’t intentional. I end up putting things in here when they don’t have a designated spot somewhere else in the house.
Obviously, there’s too much happening in this room making it difficult to keep things under control. I needed to think of a way to make all of these things work in this one room or move some of them to a different room. Keep reading to find out how I sorted all of this out.
1. Empty It Out
As painful as this may seem, especially when a room is this messy, it really was necessary. I couldn’t even clean the floor because most of it was covered with stuff. I tried to clean different sections by moving things around but that was no fun. This first step may take a while but I think having a blank slate will definitely make it easier to figure out the best location for everything that will need to go back into this room.
2. Create Zones
I needed to make sure that each function had its own zone. Each activity needs its own space so that things don’t end up spilling out into the rest of the room. When items don’t have a designated spot things tend to get super messy.
3. Set Up Proper Storage for Each Zone
This was a major problem for me. I didn’t really have the right kind of storage for items that live in the laundry room. For example, I needed a bigger shoe rack because the one I was using was just way too small for all of our shoes. The same goes for the IKEA storage boxes on the shelves. They’re pretty but also overstuffed.
I ended up moving some of the things happening in the laundry room to a new location because it was seriously crowded in there.
I moved the compost bin down to the basement because it was getting messy and there really was no room for it. It was convenient to have near the kitchen but it just wasn’t working.
More importantly, I found homes for those homeless items that were hanging out in my laundry room adding to the clutter. It turns out I had a ton of organizing supplies stacked on my washer and dryer. I don’t really have a place to put organizing supplies before I’ve used them so I used the laundry room as my temporary storage space. Except that sometimes it wasn’t so temporary. These supplies were relocated to the basement along with the worms.
I have plenty of space now for what’s left in the laundry room.
I moved the shoes to the other side of the room to allow for more space and a stool to sit on as we put on our shoes. I bought a bigger 4-tier shoe rack that allows for one shelf per family member. It may still not be enough for my shoes which means I’ll need to do some much needed purging of my summer shoe collection.
I went through all the boxes on the shelves and reorganized what was in each and got rid of things I no longer use. I also labeled the storage boxes with cute chalkboard labels so that I can actually tell what’s in them.
I used 3M grippers for my broom and mop. (You can find them on Amazon.) After hanging my broom on the wall I realized I’m due for a new broom and dustpan. That will be my treat to myself for finally organizing the laundry room!
Preplanning is key. As with most of my organizing projects, figuring out what you want to achieve in the space is really important. It’s helpful to write it down if possible but if you don’t, just knowing what you want will make it more likely that you’ll be heading in the right direction.
Ground rules for your newly organized space. It’s a good idea to have rules about what will and won’t be happening in your laundry room once everything is organized so that it stays that way going forward. I’ve decided that nothing is allowed to live on the washer or dryer. Being able to fold my laundry on top of the dryer and having enough space to lay everything out is priceless. We’ll also put the shoes on the new bigger shoe rack instead of leaving them on the floor…I hope.
Get unwanted items out of the house. This is one of the most difficult things for me. I tend to move things out of a space once it’s organized and then procrastinate when it comes to donating it or throwing it out. I can’t tell you how many things have spent months in my garage because I just didn’t get them out of the house. I’m putting this at the top of my To-Do list and plan to get rid of these things by the end of the week.
I didn’t even bother keeping track of the time I spent on this project. I knew it was going to take a while and it did. I spent a few hours over two days during a weekend. I made no plans knowing that I would be working on the laundry room for most of the two days.
Organizing your laundry room is one of the more satisfying organizing projects and it can have a huge impact on your weekly routine. I had other projects I needed to work on but having a messy laundry room was making things difficult and I’m glad I got it done.
Now I don’t have to worry about closing the door when people come over. I can actually show it off! No more stress or guilt every time I walked through the room. Spending time in my laundry room is now a pleasure!