The Laundry Room: Maximizing Space

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W hat do you do when your home is in between and you’re stuck with a laundry room that could be the size of a powder room? Call an architect, knock out a wall, add a state-of-the-art space and put a home office in there as well? Maybe. In the meanwhile, there are some less dramatic steps to take.

Washer and Dryer
Technology today allows you to minimize the time you spend in your laundry room. Smart washers and dryers, such as LG’s WiFi-enabled front load washer with TurboWash360™ technology and electric dryer with TurboSteam™ are compatible with their LG ThinQ® app; choose a cycle, start or stop your load and be notified when the cycle is complete from anywhere in the house.

Stacking the washer and dryer to conserve your limited space has always been smart. Look for a set with cabinet depth, usually 30 inches, to provide more wiggle room. Consider an all-in-one option; select models today range from a 2.3-cu.-ft. compact washer/dryer combo to a 2.4-cu.-ft. combo with wireless technology, saving wall and overhead space.

Pedestal drawers raise front-loading units, improving access. Many drawers feature sectioned storage areas that will hold a good bit of detergent, dryer sheets and other supplies.

If the room is large enough that the washer and dryer are side by side, build a countertop to enclose them. This prevents laundry sorting on top of the appliances and protects products from the effects of vibration and heat.

Going Up!
If floor space is at a premium, examine your vertical space, including the ceiling and corners. A drying rod between walls or cabinets will hold hang-dry-only items; don’t rule out going catty-cornered if you can. The latter might take some creative engineering, perhaps with L-brackets for suspension, but the former can be done with a tension rod.

A drying rack is a smart investment if you hand-wash items or don’t put delicates in the dryer. Search “space-saving drying racks” and you’ll find numerous ideas such as a wall mounted shelf with an accordion pull-out rack that has hooks underneath; ceiling-mounted pull-down racks; collapsible racks that fit against the wall, even a retractable clothesline.

Floating shelves are easy for any handywoman to install and provide a clean look. Extend across the room, hang two or three, corral your products in baskets to avoid a cluttered shelf. Depending on the surface you’re working with, you’ll need dry wall anchors, molly bolts or toggle bolts if the shelf is very heavy; a drill, a tape measure or level. Measure twice, drill once, and remember that there may be wires or pipes behind dry wall or plaster. The shelves will come with directions, and when you’re finished, paint them the same color as the wall for camouflage. Keep a small stool nearby to reach the highest shelves.

Clutter Control
Organize your essentials into containers that fit your style. Trays, baskets and glass jars can keep what you use most easily at hand and keep mess to a minimum. A magnetic bin that attaches to a stacked washer and dryer can also maximize space and corral items you need on laundry day.

If you collect vintage items or have attractive glass apothecary jars for display, get rid of that ugly plastic. Decant detergents and other products into jars of the same size. Tuck dryer sheets into a tissue dispenser, hiding that tacky box.

Storage solutions designed for closets offer plenty of ideas. Stash an ironing board on the inside of the door with the Honey-Can-Do space-saving ironing board that easily hangs over any standard door. It folds up and down smoothly and safely locks when upright. The hanging hooks feature cushioned bumpers to protect the door, and it includes a foam pad and cotton board cover. A wire rack with bins or even an over-the-door shoe organizer is easily moved or repurposed to another room, and it clears floor space, making keeping the room clean a snap.

Whatever you may envision to make your life easier and doing laundry more enjoyable, it’s out there and available with a few mouse clicks. Before ordering, take good measurements of the space you have; it might be helpful to draw a floor plan and pencil in your appliances and storage ideas. It might surprise you how much room there is when you look at it three-dimensionally!

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