Laundry rooms see a lot of daily activity, but surprisingly they are often one of the smallest spaces in the house. Whether your laundry room is nothing more than a closet, or has been corralled into the corner of the garage, you can make the most of your tiny laundry room with proper design and organization.
Consider a Move
If your laundry room is a combo unit in the kitchen or you have to go out to the garage for each load, you might decide it’s worth it to relocate the washer and dryer. Maybe you have a small space in the back of a room or an empty hall closet you could repurpose. Note that while the appliances do not take up much space, you will have to wire a special high-capacity outlet for the dryer and connect a plumbing outlet for the washing machine.
Choose the Right Unit
With a clear understanding of how much space you have, give some thought to the appliances. Traditional washers and dryers seem to get bigger with each generation. Calculate your requirements and buy only the size you need. Look for a model with a flat top that can double as a folding table or storage surface. Depending on the type of space you have, you might consider a stackable unit. These compact designs maximize the value of small areas using vertical space. The less room you fill with appliances, the more you have for supplies and workspace.
For an even more compact laundry area, invest in an all-in-one unit that washes and dries in the same machine. These are popular in places like northern Europe and the Caribbean where the laundry is often in the bathroom or kitchen next to existing plumbing. Also consider whether you actually need a dryer. In some areas you may hang your clothes outside to dry using the original solar power.
The largest factor of success in any size laundry room is your level of organization. Here are some steps to help you out:
Step 1 - Sort
Start by making decisions about what must be in the laundry room and what can be relocated. Be brutally honest. Just because the sheets have always lived by the washing machine doesn’t mean they need to stay there.
Step 2 - Shelving
Having a place to keep your laundry soap and fabric softener is vital to the organization of your space, and shelves are a great solution. In rooms with side-by-side units, you can mount a long shelf above the machines. In a space with stackable appliances, add several shelves beside them.
Step 3 - Design for Laundry
The laundry room has a specific use and purpose. Design the space with that flow in mind. For example, if you’re adding shelves beside your stackable units, include a rod beneath a shelf at chest height where you can hang clothes as they come out of the dryer. Remember to leave a space for a laundry basket between or beside the machines. Place a small garbage can in the room for dryer lint and used fabric softener sheets. Also give your back a break and install the pedestals offered when you buy front-loading machines. Some of them even have drawers you can use for bonus storage.
Step 4 - Organize Supplies
Depending on the layout of your space, you can organize supplies in a variety of ways. Put an over-the-door shoe organizer on the back of the door or mounted to the wall to hold cleaners, laundry aids, and errant socks. Use baskets or small tote bags for storage on shelving or inside cabinets. If you don’t have any cabinets, build some bookcase-style open shelving near your machines.
It doesn't take much space to care for your clothes. If you work with what you have, streamline the process down to necessities, and tidy up your storage spaces, your small laundry room will provide everything you need.