Organizing 101: The laundry room
Putting together a practical and welcoming laundry room is not the easiest task! We turned to professional organizer and Whirlpool laundry room designer Clare Kumar for her best advice.
Style at Home: Laundry rooms are often not very spacious and finding adequate storage space can be a challenge. What tips can you provide to best organize your laundry room?
Clare Kumar: Being an almost continuous process, it’s important to make sure the steps in the laundry cycle are easy to accomplish. This means having the right appliances, furniture, storage and laundry accessories in appropriate places.
When laying out the laundry room, consider four zones for an intuitive flow that is easy to navigate. The first zone is the prep area, which includes a sink for pre-treating clothes, a counter and storage for laundry supplies. The second zone includes laundry appliances for washing and drying clothes. This is also an area to consider adding storage either above the appliances via cabinets or shelves, or beneath them in pedestals. Across from zone two, in the third zone, is the folding area – a clear counter surface, under which one can store hampers to contain soiled but sorted clothes prior to washing. The fourth zone is the finishing center, which accommodates a drying rack and ironing board.
S@H: What are the best places to keep detergent, fabric softener and other laundry room essentials?
CK: Every laundry room needs storage space and, if you have the extra room, installing cabinets or shelving above the laundry pair or sink is best for keeping detergent and other necessities organized. If space is limited, pedestals on which you can place the washer and dryer provide adequate storage in a convenient spot.
Image courtesy of Whirlpool.
CK: Consider the following when placing washers and dryers in a laundry room:
• Washer and dryer doors should open away from each other so that it is easy to transfer clothes from washer to dryer.
• Space in front of the appliances should allow for comfortable loading and unloading.
• Front-loading machines can be placed on pedestals to bring the opening to a more comfortable height. A counter opposite appliances on pedestals helps eliminate bending during washer loading and dryer unloading.
• Proximity to plumbing.
S@H: Being practical is the ultimate goal of a well-designed laundry room. What is your advice to make the space as pretty as it is practical?
CK: Since most people spend more time than they think in the laundry room, it’s worth investing in making it an enjoyable space. Paint the walls a bright, fun colour, add plants or artwork, and play music to increase your enjoyment of the space.
S@H: What is your advice to properly look after your laundry room appliances to maximize their lifespan?
CK: With all the time invested in researching appliances that best fit your needs, it’s important to keep them running safely and efficiently. Here are simple ways to maintain your laundry appliances:
• Use the appropriate type and amount of detergent.
• Take advantage of the clean cycles that come with some washers. Using a specialized cleaner such as Affresh helps remove odour-causing residue.
• Clean the dryer’s lint screen every time you use the dryer to avoid risk of fire.
• Check dryer vent hoses for cracks or tears, and keep free of lint.
• Make sure the outside dryer vent is kept clear.