Monday, May 19, 2014

7-Day Plan: Get a Spotless, Beautifully Organized Laundry Room

by Laura Gaskill

Whistle while you work, knowing that your laundry

area is as neat and clean as your freshly stacked clothes


Laundry is a chore you likely have to tackle often — and when the laundry room is cluttered and grungy, that task can quickly become something to dread. Whether your washer and dryer are in a spacious room of their own or at the bottom of a rickety flight of stairs in an unfinished basement, this weeklong plan is here to help your laundry area be the best it can be.


Make a plan of attack. A fairly tidy laundry room in the main part of the house will require far less time and effort to spiff up than a dark, dusty corner of the basement that you usually spend as little time in as possible. Read over the entire plan before you begin and tailor it to meet your needs. Aim to get the toughest jobs done on a day off when you can devote several hours to them. The rest can be done in smaller chunks on weeknights.




Day 1: Deep clean the washer and dryer.

Cleaning tasks: Today is the day to get your appliances clean inside and out, so they will work more efficiently and get your clothes cleaner.

Cleaning the washer:

  • Use a damp sponge or microfiber cloth to clean the exterior and inside the lid of your washer, paying special attention to rubber seals.
  •  If your washer has a lint trap or removable detergent dispensers, take them out and clean them with warm, soapy water in the sink. If not, use cotton swabs to get the gunk and grime from the corners.
  • Pour a cup or two of white vinegar in the washer and run it on the hottest setting, without any clothes in it.


Cleaning the dryer:

  • Wipe down the inside and outside of the dryer with a damp sponge or microfiber cloth. 
  • Remove the lint filter and use a narrow vacuum attachment to remove built-up lint from inside the space where the lint filter goes.
  • Unfasten the dryer hose from the back of the machine (check the owner’s manual if you are not sure how to do this) and use a vacuum attachment to remove lint from the hose and the duct.



Day 2: Declutter and Get Rid of Grime

Cleaning tasks: You know those lint balls, empty detergent containers, used dryer sheets and random things from pockets lying all over the place? Now is the time to give them the boot. Once the obvious junk is gone, move on to these tasks:

  • Vacuum the space from top to bottom. Get under and behind appliances and furniture as best you can.
  •  Launder or spot clean any rugs and soft furnishings.
  • Use an all-purpose cleaner to get counters, shelves and doors fresh and clean.
  •   Mop the floor, paying special attention to corners and around the bases of appliances, where dirt and grime tend to build up.


Decluttering tasks: Do you know what all of those bottles on your laundry room shelves contain? If you’re not sure, take a few moments to look over each product and keep only those you actually use. Open up small containers to check that the product is still good.


Day 3: Get organized.

Decluttering tasks: With your laundry room clean and decluttered, it should be much easier to get organized.



  • Sort products into two categories: daily use and stain fighting or specialty products. If you have a choice, store the products you use daily (like detergent) closest to the washer and less frequently used items on a higher shelf.
  •  If you do hand washing at a sink in the laundry room, put the soap and any other supplies you use beside the sink.
  • Open baskets and trays are quite useful for corralling groups of products — not only do they look attractive, but they make it easier to grab exactly what you need (for example, the stain-fighting kit) because you won’t have to rummage around on a crowded shelf.
  • Make a dedicated place for stuff that comes out of pockets, like a small bowl placed atop the dryer.
  • Be sure you have a small wastebasket at hand for lint balls and dryer sheets.


Day 4: Gather resources.

Decluttering tasks:
 Now is the time to check your inventory of supplies and fill in any gaps. In addition to your usual detergent and dryer sheets, consider including these things:

  • A clipboard or small corkboard. Hung on the wall, this makes the perfect place to display a helpful stain-removal chart and washing instructions.
  • A small mending kit. So you can quickly take care of minor holes and loose buttons as soon as you notice them.
  • A bottle of white vinegar. Great for removing stains naturally and cleaning the washing machine.
  • Hangers. Being able to hang delicate items promptly upon removing them from the dryer will save some ironing time.
  • A folding drying rack. For items washed by hand.



Day 5: Add some style.

Decluttering tasks: A vase of fresh flowers on a shelf above the washer, a pretty new laundry bag, a row of shiny new hooks on the wall and a framed photograph or art print are all great ways to personalize the laundry room. There’s no need to go overboard on decor — this is at heart a functional space — but even a small hit of color or pattern will be most welcome. 





Tips for basement laundries. When your washer and dryer don’t have a room (or even a closet) of their own, and are, in fact, surrounded by boxes of old stuff, exposed ducts and concrete, it’s easy to want to completely give up on making the area a nice place. If this is your situation, here are four things that can make your space feel more inviting:

  • Proper lighting. A table lamp or wall sconce is so much more pleasant than a bare-bulb shop light!
  • An outdoor rug. A colorful outdoor rug will add some much-needed softness and color and is tough enough for a basement.
  • Shelving. When everything around the washer and dryer looks too grungy for your clean laundry to touch, dedicated shelving and a folding surface are what you need.
  • Pretty baskets. The space will look instantly more finished and organized.


Day 6: Make a wish list for the future.

Get out a pen and paper and list the things you would most like to change or add to your laundry room. New flooring, fancy fold-down drying racks or a farmhouse-style sink? Figuring out exactly what you want is the first step toward making it happen.



Day 7 and beyond: Set up a laundry routine that works.

Stay on top of laundry and keep your laundry room fresh long after this week is over with a few new habits.

  • Sort your laundry before it gets to the laundry room and avoid the dreaded piles-on-the-floor sorting method.
  •  Keep hand washables in a laundry bag on a hook rather than in the basket with everything else, to avoid confusion.
  •  Leave the washer door open between loads to avoid moisture buildup that leads to mildew and funky smells. If you can’t leave it open (because of curious cats or little ones), at least try to leave it open for 10 minutes while you are around to let the warmth and moisture dissipate.
  •  Clean out the lint filter in the dryer before running each load.
  • Schedule a regular time to clean out the dryer hose and duct — keeping it free of lint will help prevent fires.


Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256
 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com












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