Read on blog or Reader Site logo image ~Kristine M. posted: “The hardworking laundry room can be an afterthought in some homes. Tucked away in the garage, basement or a tiny closet, it’s easy for the space to become dark, dingy and cluttered. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the layout and design of this workhorse. ” Living Your Lifestyle & Owning It! Read on blog or Reader How To Design A Laundry Area That’s Easy to Keep Organized ~Kristine M. February 8 The hardworking laundry room can be an afterthought in some homes. Tucked away in the garage, basement or a tiny closet, it’s easy for the space to become dark, dingy and cluttered. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the layout and design of this workhorse. Since washing clothes is a frequent chore, why not create an inviting area that’s easy to keep neat and tidy? Whether you’re using a garage, basement, closet or even a dedicated room, here are some tips for creating a laundry area that’s easy to keep organized. Getting Started Inventory items in your laundry area. I recommend taking inventory of the items currently stored in your laundry room and deciding if this is the best place for them. Be intentional about what you plan to store in your updated space. Consider culling any laundry products you no longer use. Prioritize your goals. Create a wish list for your dream laundry area, taking into consideration the available square footage. If you have a large space, it might be realistic to include the pet-washing station you’ve always coveted. However, if you only have a tiny closet, focus on what’s most important to you. Must-Have Features for Any Organized Laundry Area
Tough flooring. 
Strong, nonporous flooring that’s easy to clean and can withstand detergent spills and water leaks is essential for any laundry area. I recommend installing concrete, porcelain or ceramic tile floors to mitigate potential water damage. Luxury vinyl planks or sheet vinyl flooring might also be possible, but check with the manufacturer to make sure water damage won’t occur. Carpet and hardwood are generally not recommended under a washer. Adequate lighting. Good lighting is crucial to keep your space tidy. Even if you have a window, consider installing plenty of additional lighting so it’s easy to read laundry labels, treat stains and clean spills, dirt and dust. Install electrical outlets and water lines in the correct locations. Ensure that electrical outlets and water lines are in the correct locations before you sign off on any design drawings. A stacked washer and dryer combo may require a different setup than side-by-side appliances. Consider installing additional outlets if you plan to use the space for ironing or steaming clothes. A utility sink will require a water line. Laundry in the Garage A functional garage laundry area shouldn’t be an afterthought. I recommend giving it top priority when competing for territory with cars, bikes, sports equipment, gardening items, tools and other household supplies. Here are a few tips for designing a garage laundry area that’s easy to keep tidy. Finish the walls and cover them with a high-gloss paint. Finishing the garage walls with a moisture-resistant drywall will make the space feel like an extension of the house and help keep dust away from clean clothes. A high-gloss paint finish is easier to clean than a flat paint finish. Treat the garage floor. Concrete floors treated with epoxy or a similar product are nonporous and easy to wash. Some of my clients prefer interlocking garage tile systems, which can be softer on the feet. Whichever flooring you choose, be sure to select a product that doesn’t stain easily. Install a utility sink. If you have the room, consider installing a utility sink to pretreat clothes and clean up other messes. Include counter space. Design your laundry zone with adequate counter space to sort and fold clothes. Add a built-in hamper. If space allows, consider installing a built-in hamper to keep dirty laundry off the garage floor. Choose closed cabinets over open shelving. Closed cabinet doors keep dust and grime from the garage off laundry items. Consider adding doors. Some garages have a small alcove or nook that might be ideal for a laundry area. If there’s space, think about installing sliding doors to separate the washer and dryer from the rest of the garage. A roll-up door like this one might be another good solution to separate the laundry area from the rest of the garage. Laundry in the Basement Similar to the garage, a basement laundry room is easier to keep tidy if the floors and walls are finished. Installing closed cabinets instead of open shelving will keep dust and grime off laundry items. Adequate lighting is essential for illuminating this potentially dark space. Since many basements are large, there may be ample opportunity to create your ideal laundry room. Laundry in a Small Closet Creating a stylish, functional laundry area in a small closet or nook is possible, but you’ll have to prioritize your wish list. A side-by-side washer and dryer setup with cabinets above might be difficult for a shorter person. Someone taller, however, might prefer that arrangement with a top-loading washer. They won’t have to bend down to use the washer and can easily reach the detergent, dryer sheets and stain remover stored in the upper cabinets. In this photo, a rod installed between two upper cabinets is perfect for hanging clothes to air-dry. A built-in countertop above the appliances functions as a table for folding and is also a drop zone for laundry baskets. (However, if you have a top-loading washer, installing such a countertop isn’t an option.) I suggest purchasing rubber mats designed specifically for a washer-dryer to protect the top from scratches. If you’re on the shorter side, overhead cabinets might be difficult to reach. In that case, a vertically stacked washer and dryer, as seen here, might be a better option. You’ll free up space on the side for a cabinet with a countertop and a pullout shelf for folding. Here, a rod has been installed for air-drying clothing. Stacked appliances might make it difficult to reach the controls at the top. One alternative is a laundry center or laundry tower, which houses the washer and dryer vertically in one unit. The controls for both appliances are in the middle, making them easy to reach. In some cases, the footprint of a laundry tower is less than two separate stacked units. Research the features of both options before purchase to decide what’s right for you. A small laundry closet might be able to accommodate a sink if you stack your appliances vertically. If a sink is a high priority, you probably won’t have room for a countertop on which to fold clothes. Laundry Room-Mudroom Combo The laundry room doubles up with the mudroom in some homes. I recommend positioning the laundry area on a separate wall from your coat and shoe storage wall. Consider installing a countertop above your appliances to keep laundry baskets off the floor. Since there will be a lot of action in this space, adding solid-front cabinets instead of open shelving can help keep visual clutter to a minimum. In this mudroom-laundry room, the washer and dryer are tucked behind closed doors in a built-in cabinet. There’s plenty of storage under the utility sink for stashing laundry supplies. Although not shown in the photo, the opposite wall has built-in cubbies and hooks for storing jackets, shoes and backpacks. Household members can easily keep their belongings separate from the laundry area. In this photo, the washer and dryer are tucked into a large center island in the mudroom. Backpacks, shoes and jackets are stored on the opposite wall. The large countertop on the island is an optimal surface for sorting and folding. The island also provides plenty of storage space to organize laundry supplies. There’s a visual separation between the apparel wall and the laundry area. Large Dedicated Laundry Room If you’re fortunate enough to have a large dedicated laundry room, options for creating your dream space abound. Here are a few of my favorite ways to keep things organized. Double washer and double dryer. If you have a large family — or otherwise have a lot of laundry — you might consider installing two washers and two dryers to expedite your routine. With laundry done in half the time, there might be more time to fold and put away clothes, helping keep your space from becoming cluttered. Center island. In the large laundry room here, a center island not only provides a flat surface for folding clothes, but it also has cubbies for laundry baskets. A designated spot for stashing baskets will help keep the room tidy. Pet-washing station. A dog-washing station might be just what you need in your dream laundry space, especially if your laundry room has a door to the outside. Think about installing easily accessible cabinets for pet towels and shampoo. Bathing your dog in the laundry room will help keep the rest of your house clean and tidy. For small dogs, a large utility sink might be easier to navigate. I recommend styling your laundry area like you would any other room in your house. Why not make doing laundry a more pleasant experience? Consider expressing your personal style with distinctive wallpaper, paint, flooring and lighting. You have the freedom to make some bold design choices, whether your laundry area is tucked behind closed doors or in full view.  
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