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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Laundry Room Ideas

Does your laundry room look something like this? This one is functional, it's clean enough but it's not very pleasant. It's cluttered, disorganized and there is no attempt to decorate or make it pleasing to the eye.

I did a little Google search and got some more wonderful ideas on laundry rooms. You want it function for you and your family. You want it to be efficient, clean and a pleasant place to work. And let me start by saying, no matter how much time, money or effort you spend on decorating, cleaning, organizing a room, it won't do you any good if you and your family don't keep it up. You can have the huge laundry room of your dreams and it will look like a dump if you and your family don't work together to keep it up. It's like any other room in your house, it takes maintenance. You can have an expensive, professionally designed and decorated laundry room to trash if you don't keep it up. It doesn't matter as much about how much room you have, but rather how you use what you have.

If you already own your home then it's time to take inventory of what you have and what you want it to be. If you are looking for a new home, or building your dream home, then plan ahead to include what you want in a laundry area. Everyone has to do laundry, it's just a matter of how much laundry you have to do, how much time you spend doing it and if you need your laundry room to do more than laundry.

Here are some things to think about. If you live alone, then you may not have as much laundry to worry about. Even if you dry clean most of your clothes, you still have to wash your undies/socks, towels, sheets, cleaning rags, etc. To a young person, it may not seem too hard to carry laundry baskets up and down stairs, and if you don't do a lot of laundry, then a basement laundry may be acceptable to you. Why do a lot of old houses have laundry rooms in out of the way, inconvenient places? Because, when they were built there was no such thing as washers and dryers like we have today. Heck, some homes were built before there was even indoor plumbing at all. Washing clothes were done in pots over fires in the backyard or in a wash house. Or you paid someone to do the laundry at their place. My husband's great grandmother lived in a mill village and she took in washing and did it in her back yard. It was how she made a living. Once washing machines became affordable and people had enough disposable income to afford them, they had to find a place for them. To add a washer to a house usually meant putting it in the garage, the basement, the back porch. And, still, dryers were a luxury that many couldn't afford so new houses in the 1950's and 1960's were often built with a place for a washer but not one for a dryer. Today we are used to purchasing the pair and most young people can't even imagine not having a washer/dryer. They are pretty indispensable now. One place we lived when we first got married didn't have a place for a w/d so our first pair went in the dining room with the water and vent going in and out of the window.

To get back to your laundry room, be sure you have it where you want or need it. Don't accept anything less. If you don't mind going up and down stairs, then having it in the basement is not a problem for you. Or if you have a multi-story house, do you want the laundry area up or down stairs? Near the bedrooms/bathrooms? Or near the kitchen/mud room? And how long do you intend to be in this home? If this is your home for a few years, it might not matter where the laundry room is right now. On the other hand, if you intend to grow old in your house, then keep in mind you might not always be able to go up and down stairs. You may not have a house full of teenagers to wash up after or to help you with the household chores. So if you are going to be there for long, plan ahead too.

I'm middle aged, disabled and we are probably in our current house for the rest of our lives. So when we were looking for our house, I told my husband, I would not even look at a house where I would have to carry clothes baskets up and down stairs. I wanted a one story house because I didn't want to live in half of my house if I ever got so bad that I couldn't go up and down the stairs. I would be relegated to living on only the first story (which is something else you should think of, always have a full bathroom on the first floor in case you become disabled or elderly and can't go upstairs any more).

A lot of new neighborhoods are building bigger homes but on smaller lots so they can increase the number of houses in a neighborhood and, therefore, increase the profit. For instance, a neighborhood of 50 acres could have 50 homes on 1 acre lots or 100 homes on 1/2 acre lots or 150 homes on even smaller lots. Of course, they make more money selling more homes but how do you get bigger homes (which the market demands) on smaller and smaller lots? Go vertical. So builders are building multistory homes... 2, 3, even 4 levels. You stay in good shape by going up and down stairs all day but think clearly. Can you go up and down stairs all day? I used to, but now that I'm older and disabled so I didn't think I could from now on.

So, think long and hard about where a laundry room would work best for you and your family before you build or buy your next home.

Next, what do you want to do in your laundry room? What jobs? Do you need a dog grooming area in your laundry room? A cat litterbox in your laundry room? A mud room in your laundry room? A 1/2 bath that accommodates guests as well as being in your laundry room? A craft room? A sewing room or at least a place to do repairs and hemming? A storage room? A place to arrange flowers and take care of your indoor plants? Do you iron in your laundry room? A pantry? Gift wrapping area? There are all kinds of things that you need a place for. Decide what YOU and YOUR FAMILY needs? I have friends who have dog rescue organizations and a laundry room becomes a dog grooming area or a quarantine room for new dogs who come into rescue or a whelping area if they come in pregnant. I have friends who have small children and they need a play area while Mommy does the laundry and ironing. I have friends who are avid gardeners and use their laundry room as an extension to the potting shed. Pots, vases, seed storage, etc. Then there are friends who want a freezer or additional refrigerator so it goes in the laundry room. I have space in mine for a freezer but we haven't put one there yet. So decide what your laundry room is going to do for you and how much room you will need for it to function the way you envision.

Now you need to figure out how your family is going to function with the main use of LAUNDRY! Are you doing the laundry all by yourself? Does your husband help? Are your children old enough to take on some of the work? You want the chore of laundry to work efficiently. Do you have hampers in each bathroom or in each bedroom? Or just one large one in the hallway linen closet? Would it work better with a laundry chute? Do you fold clothes or hang them? Do you use baskets for clean, folded clothes to transport the clothes back to the bedrooms or do you fold and leave on shelves in the laundry room for the children to take their own clothes back to their own rooms? Do you wash delicates and drip dry or does everything get washed and dried? Do you iron? I don't iron hardly at all but my husband irons all his own clothes. So guess where the ironing board is? Yes, in his bedroom. So how does it work with you and what do you need for it to work better? And nothing is written in stone. If something isn't working for you, change it. Give it enough time to develop new habits, but if it's still not working, try something else.

Do you de-cant or not? I de-cant almost everything that comes in the house. What do I mean? Do you leave everything in their own packaging or do you open up the package and dump the contents in a container? That's called de-canting. For instance, when I buy flour, I open the bag of flour as soon as I unload the groceries and pour it into a canister. Same with coffee, sugar, tea bags, etc. There are some things that I don't do. For instance I don't decant laundry detergent (powder or liquid) because it's pretty messy. And you can have fancy glass canisters for your liquid detergent but as soon as you use some, it leaves residue on the inside of the canister so it no longer looks "pristine" and perfect". And it's heavy and so it's harder for me handle and manipulate. My hands are particularly weak. So I usually leave it conveniently on top of my washer and use it from there. Not so pretty, but I have my reasons. What do you do? How does it work for you? What do you prefer? Do you like everything in a pretty, matching container? Then decant.

Finally, think outside the box. I don't often go to a store to buy a container for a special use such as a container made specifically for laundry powder with "Laundry Powder" written on the outside. You could use a cookie jar to hold laundry powder or a galvanized bucket or galvanized lined flower box to hold your laundry powder. Be willing to think outside the box for solutions that work for you. And if they don't work after all, toss it and try something new. Do some research on the Internet. Look for ideas. Check out what others have done.

Now that you've made some plans, gut your laundry area and start work. Take everything out, clean it. Clean the shelves, the light fixtures, the appliances themselves, the walls, the baseboards, the floor. Do you need new flooring? Think of vinyl, linoleum, ceramic tile. Don't do wood floors or laminate floors in an area that has water like a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. You may include a drain in case your washer malfunctions and overflows. Paint or wallpaper the walls. Paint the trim. I love to paint with semi-gloss or gloss paints because it's so easy to wipe down the walls and clean the trim and keeping it clean is what makes it look good a lot longer.

Add new shelving, re-line your shelves. Purchase containers, hampers, clothes baskets. If your clothesbasket is broken, get a new one. If your hamper has mildewed, throw it away and get something new.

Add some touches that decorate your space. A few vintage pieces, a framed print, some touches of color, whatever makes it a pleasant place for you.

Now let's look at the examples I found on the Internet for you.

How about a sorting station below a laundry chute?

This is a pretty good idea for a builtin hamper.

Somebody did a wonderful and imaginative job with the tiled back splash

This is a masculine looking laundry room. And notice the shower? Why have a shower in a laundry room? Maybe you live in a farm and you like to have a place to take a shower after coming in from riding horses or gardening. Or maybe you live on the beach and need a place to rinse off the sand. It's something to think about.

Laundry chutes (Please be sure that a laundry chute cannot be used by children or pets to fall into if you have children or pets!)

For more ideas on Laundry Rooms

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