Benita of blog Chez Larsson decided in May of 2008 to start sharing her organizing mania and neatness with the masses instead of keeping them to all to herself. Her blog, www.chezlarsson.typepad.com, focuses on home life the clean, bright, white, organized and Scandinavian way. Benita lives in a small 1930’s house in a Stockholm suburb and that’s where all the organizing action takes place.
Recently one of my readers, Lynda, sent me an e-mail asking for help with her laundry room. I can sort of see why she’s desperate:
Lynda needs the space for more than just laundry. Her pantry is in there just behind the door and she also needs to store dishes, pet products and craft items.
Solution: every organization starts with editing. Edit, edit, edit! This basically means you open one drawer or cabinet at a time and ruthlessly get rid of the things that are no longer in use. Get a trash bag and a box for charity out and divided the things you no longer need. Keep asking yourself all through the process if you use the item or not. When in doubt, throw out.
You then sort what’s left. In Lynda’s case I suggest she starts off by putting all her kitchen related items in the cabinets closest to the open pantry shelves. Depending on how much there is she uses as many cabinets as needed.
Any leftover cabinet space on that side can be used for craft items. Those things have tendency to overflow if you don’t keep them contained. I love using white ice cream containers to sort ribbons, notions, stickers. A little basket can hold tools like scissors and tape and such.
For the laundry items which are used daily I suggest corralling them so they don’t trail all over. Keep them in a pretty basket or on a nice tray. Corralled they can stay on the dryer as Lynda requests. If this was me, I’d consider decanting the detergent and fabric softener into white or clear plastic bottles and labeling them. I once bought a brand I didn’t particularly like only to get the nice milky white plastic bottles, removed the labels and wrote the contents with a marker. Assign the cabinets above the washer and dryer to store all things laundry related. Inside the cabinets again corral small items like clothes pegs in containers or baskets.
Either on the counter or on one of the machines, a pretty and functional laundry basket would work well. I also suggest a rolling laundry sorter which could be placed against the back wall. I like the one with the rail at the top. I also like the idea of a rolling cart between the cabinets and the machines if there’s room.
Lynda already has a junk drawer. It’s the one right next to the door. I would suggest that the cabinet below be used as the junk cabinet! This is where all the larger items that have no immediate home can go. The junk drawer and cabinet are then the spaces Lynda will need to sort every once in a while, but hopefully they will keep the rest of the room from getting overly cluttered.
As for the pet stuff I suggest to use one bottom cabinet for bulk containers with pet food (removing the shelves altogether if necessary) and one top cabinet and/or the drawer for extra bowls, toys, medicines etc. Again (I’m starting to sound like a broken record) use containers or baskets to sort and separate little things. The every day food can be kept in a large pretty jar on the counter with a scoop.
For all those other items I see on the counter tops with all the editing and sorting Lynda has done by now she can store those in the remaining cabinets.
To pretty things up and for a clean look I would go for a pale blue wall colour. It will go nicely with the browns that are on the trim and floor and will make the white cabinets look fresh. I would add wicker or other natural fiber accessories to soften the space. I would definitely switch from the vertical blind to a white roman blind or a simple roller blind and would add a plant, maybe a fern, on the window sill. A nice clear soap dispenser by the sink, a roll of white paper towels and Lynda is set to enjoy her laundry room.
To sum things up:
• Edit your belongings!
• Sort. Toss. Donate.
• Keep countertops clear by corralling clutter into baskets.
• Use white, milky white or clear for plastic and utilitarian items.
• Stay away from coloured plastic that never ever match and always, always look dull.
A – Cat Food Storage Canister $49.95 from Harry Barker. A bit pricy but so much nicer than a plastic tub if on display.
B – Aluminium Scoop $2.58 from Admiral Craft Equipment. Gotta love those scoops!
C – Litter Pan $3.69 from Doskosil. White plastic of course.
D – Three Tier Laundry Cart $29.50 from Whitney Design. Great small space solution.
E – Woven Willow Laundry Basket $11.85 from Whitney Design. Pretty and practical.
F – Laundry Centre 29.29 from Whitney Design. Love.
G – Clothes Dryer $6.56 from Whitney Design. Great for socks.
H – Inflatable Hangers Pack of 2 $3.50 from Whitney Design. No more pointy shoulders.
I – Hanger Holder $4.79 from Spectrum Creation. Put one behind the door.
J – Woven Banana Leaf Waste Bin $18.71 from Whitney Design. Just nice.
K – Willow Baskets 3-piece set $16.99 from Organize.com. Corral a multitude of things.
L – Woven Rush Baskets with Lids 3-piece set $13.95 from Whitney Design. Perfect for counter clutter.