It never seems to end, but doing the laundry is my favorite chore. It’s one of the few chores that you can accomplish while watching Project Runway. Having an organized laundry room makes all the difference.
It starts, of course, with a dependable washer and dryer. Since I am a fashion lover with a lot of delicates, I opted for a front-loading washer, which tends to be much gentler on clothing than a top loader with an agitator. Front-loading washers and dryers are also usually stackable, which gives you options when you are designing the laundry room.
I didn’t end up stacking my washer and dryer, so I had a counter built over them to use as a large folding area. The problem with having a fixed counter over the machines is that it is a big chore to pull them out if they need repair or the dryer line becomes clogged with lint. Also, the temptation to use the counter for storage is significant. Our home is tiny, so the counter has become home to our fruit dehydrator and a basket full of bags for grocery shopping. Still, there is room for folding and the counter has been a good addition to my system.
Many models of front-loading washers and dryers sit on pull-out drawers to raise them up from the floor. I’m always shocked when I visit clients who didn’t realize there were drawers down there or who leave them empty.
The best things to store in these drawers is laundry soap and softeners, a little container for spare change and other things found in pockets, those pesky single socks and other laundry-related miscellany. OxyClean is also a must to have close at hand, as is Wine Away if you have the occasional cabernet spillage.
Alternatively, if you have cupboards of shelves above the machines to store soap and things, a drawer under the dryer is perfect for rags. After washing and drying rags, just unload the dryer right into the drawer.
I don’t usually love organizing gadgets, but some of the best are made for the laundry room. I’ve been incredibly happy with my drying rack from the Container Store, which is wall-mounted. It is 10 years old and still going strong as the hangout for my constant stream of newly washed yoga wear.
I also really like the collapsible “Pop Open” sweater dryers from the Container Store, which are sized to fit in a bathtub or on a counter and cost under $10.
I don’t have laundry hampers all over the house, just one three-section large hamper in the laundry room. I’ve trained the husband to put his seemingly infinite golf shirts and Levis in one section, whites in the middle section, and my clothing goes into the third section. It is clean looking, with washable white bags and a chrome frame on wheels so that it can be easily moved for cleaning the floor. It is from—you guessed it—the Container Store.
If you have a large or multi-story home, hampers in each bedroom or bathroom or at least one on each floor can be helpful.
If you are on a well, as we are, your washing machine can get pretty scummy, and frequent cleaning is necessary. There are pods and soaps available for these necessary periodic cleaning cycles, and you can also take a rag to the interior. Be sure to focus on the seal around the door, where dirt and debris can settle.
Finding paper money is much more fun than the usual quarters and golf tees that make a racket in the drum of the washer. It’s another reason laundry is my favorite chore. Last time, I cleaned the washer I found 80 bucks between the door seal and where the water drains, probably from the pockets of those Levis I mentioned. Now that’s what I call money laundering!