How to Solve the 9 Largest Laundry Room Storage Problems
The laundry room is the room you love to hate…unless you have a spouse or partner who does the laundry for you!
If you’re like most, your laundry room is cramped. You lack storage. Those cheap wire shelves are a constant reminder of how messy things can be.
If you’re like most, you struggle with space to fold clothes. You’re desperate for a laundry room counter.
If you’re like most, you have no effective place to hang clothes (the back of the doorknob just ain’t cutting it!). Your family’s clothes look a bit (or more than a bit) wrinkled.
If you’re like most, the room is dark and depressing.
To put it bluntly – the laundry room is a D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R!
The challenge is how can you conquer this mess and create a room which isn’t a nightmare to work in if you’re the one who ‘gets’ (and yes I’m being sarcastic here) to do this tasty task?
If you’re looking for practical ideas to improve laundry storage, folding, hanging and eliminate organization problems you’ve come to the right place. As a guy who leads a business who designs and installs laundry room storage systems, we’ve seen some ugly laundry rooms in our days (and I’ll bet some are waaaay worse than yours!).
In this article I’ll list the 9 largest laundry room problems and dish out practical solutions for you. And while some of these ideas don’t cost much, there are others which can be pricey. I’ll look at basic and grand ideas. You ‘pick and choose’ which strategies are practical and effective for you. So, let’s dig in.
Laundry room storage problem #1 – Your ‘upper’ storage is practically nonexistent
When it comes to laundry room storage most home builders take the cheapest way out. They installed one wire shelf above the washer and dryer and call it done. This ‘investment’ ‘sets them back’ (sarcasm intended) about $40 (including labor). The problem for you is you see all your supplies (which aren’t exactly stacked on this shelf in a way House Beautiful would feature in their magazine any time soon) on this flimsy ‘storage system.’
In addition, there’s dangerous chemicals (detergent, spray starch, detergent pods etc.) you hope your little ones don’t get into (more about this in problem #6).
And meanwhile there’s a ton of dead space above this lonely and rickety wire shelf which is begging to be used.
If there’s one thing which can make a dramatic (and not too costly) impact for your laundry room is to add 30” wide x 12” to 14” deep cabinets above the washer and dryer. Adding cabinetry here will make the room look instantly neater and grow your storage. You can not only use this volume for your laundry supplies (detergent, fabric softener, bleach etc.), but these upper cabinets are a smart place for overflow kitchen storage or out of season gloves and caps for the kids.
Laundry room storage problem #2 – A ‘slop sink’ which looks like it belongs in the garage or basement
It’s nice to have a ‘slop sink’ (‘er utility sink) to soak clothes or to clean off paint brushes. However – when this sink looks like something which belongs in your ‘cellar’ (‘er basement) it won’t contribute to the upgraded laundry room you’re looking to create. In addition, since there’s no concealed storage underneath, you’ll be forced to stare at your old boxes and litter and dog food bags thrown haphazardly on the floor. This doesn’t make an inviting laundry room.
For your remodeled laundry room look at blowing up the ‘slop sink’ and upgrading to a 24” deep base cabinet with a small undermount laundry sink. While a sink and a laundry room base cabinet won’t be cheap (the cost of a small laundry sink alone will be $600 or more and you’ll have to pay a plumber to remove the old unit and install a new one), you’ll create a finished look and gain hidden storage underneath the sink to keep things (at least before you open the drawers) looking neat.
Image Source: www.sinkology.com
Laundry room storage problem #3 – You’re desperately seeking a counter to fold your clothes
You’d love a large counter to fold clothes like you see in swanky model homes and drool-worthy interior design magazines. However, you realize your laundry room would need to be ‘super-sized’ to make that happen. You want a place to fold clothes in this room before you put them in your laundry basket, and they get wrinkled. But where will you find space for a counter?
Well – the ideas to create laundry room counters (or folding space) can range from inexpensive to elaborate.
If you’re on a tight budget, buy a $50 a wall mounted floating table. Flip it into use when you need it. Fold it down when you don’t.
Image Source: www.wayfair.com
If you want a stylish – and larger countertop solution –add a 60” or greater counter over the washer and dryer. However, make sure you have front loading appliances and pay attention to the height of the units to make sure the counter won’t be too tall if you’re V.C. (‘er vertically challenged). The optimal counter height is 36” or 42”.
The last strategy – which unfortunately won’t come cheap – is to convert to a stacked washer and dryer. Then put a cabinet and folding station on the side of the stacked appliances.
Laundry room storage problem #4 – Your family is ‘wrinkled!’
OK – maybe your family doesn’t have the same type of wrinkles as your 95-year-old Aunt Edna – but nobody is calling their clothing ‘neat as a pin’ either.
Since you have no place to hang anything in the laundry room today, clothes get thrown into laundry basket from dryer. Then your ‘wrinkle game’ begins once again.
You know you should be hanging those dress shirts and pants up, but the question becomes where can you do it?
Well in a perfect world (OK – this IS NOT the world you’re living in); you’d have a 24” deep closet in the laundry room to hang them while you’re in the middle of this chore. However, in the real world few people have room for a 24” deep cabinet. So where can you hang them?
Well – you could add a hanging rod over your new laundry room sink (see problem #2) or add a hanging rod over a countertop or over your washer and dryer.
And if you don’t have room for a hanging rod a smart idea is to use a ‘valet rod’ which comes out of a shelving section to offer hanging space on ‘as you need’ basis.
Laundry room storage problem #5 – You have no place to store brooms, mops, ironing boards and your vacuum cleaner
Clutter begets more clutter. And in a laundry room you KNOW that’s the truth.
And when you have your brooms, mops, ironing boards and vacuum cleaners in random places on the laundry room floor, your space doesn’t feel welcoming.
However – the good news is there are ways to lick this problem (OK – not literally, that would be yucky!).
If you have room, a tall storage cabinet where you can hang your ironing board or wheel in a vacuum cleaner will brighten your mood because these ‘fun’ tools are out of sight.
Or if you don’t have room for a tall cabinet –get relief from the mess on your floor by adding slatwall behind an inswing door to hang brooms and mops.
Image Source: www.myuncommonsliceofsuburbia.com
Laundry room storage problem #6 – Your laundry room is a dangerous place for your kids or grandkids
It was reported by Reuters that poison control centers fielded over 73,000 calls in a 5-year period from kids ingesting laundry storage pods (or packets) after they were introduced in 2012. And these statistics don’t include the dangers from kids getting into bottles of bleach or sprays lurking on open laundry room shelves – or inside your cabinets (if you’re lucky enough to have cabinets).
Laundry rooms are dangerous places. And if you have little kids or grandkids –one experience you DO NOT want to have with them are emergency room visits which could have been avoided.
It’s for this reason it’s smart to include one locking cabinet in a laundry room. It’s better to be safe, than sorry – especially when it comes to your little loved ones.
Laundry room storage problem #7 – Your laundry room is depressing
OK – this isn’t your favorite room in the house. And why should it be.
Laundry is a job you have to do and do and do every week. It’s a ‘gift’ which keeps on giving.
The room is hot (and not in a Matthew McConaughey or J-Lo sort of way).
The room is dark and dreary.
The room is cluttered.
And while these statements may accurately describe your laundry room today, there are ways (both on a tiny budget or with a larger budget) to make you stop dreading this space. Here’s a few ideas to consider:
- Give the room a fresh coat of – lighter colored – paint. Small rooms feel bigger (even if they aren’t bigger) with light colors.
- Add fun wallpaper. A pop of style (even on just one wall) adds interest…even to a laundry room.
- Include a nook in your cabinetry for your pet. There’s nothing better to brighten your day more than your with 4 paw friends hanging (no laundry room pun intended) with you on laundry day.
- Add a window (if your laundry room has an outside wall). Natural light improves vitamin D, wards off depression, and improves your sleep. And even if you don’t have the room for an operable double-hung window – a transom window makes your laundry room feel more inviting.
Image Source: www.1001homedesigns.blogspot.png
- Use fun handles on your cabinets. Handles and knobs are the ‘jewelry’ of your cabinetry. Why not install distinctive handles and ‘live a little?’ They’re a small idea which adds big impact at a nominal cost.
Laundry room storage problem #8 – Your laundry room can’t be used by everyone in the family.
If you have a family member who has mobility challenges are they able to independently use your laundry room as it’s designed today? If you’re like most homeowners, the answer is a BIG FAT NO!
However, with a few smart design – and product changes – it’s possible to create a universal design laundry room which works for everyone. Here’s 3 ideas to get you rolling:
- Idea #1 – Get your washer and dryer off the floor. A top loading washer and dryer on the floor are difficult (to impossible) for someone in a wheelchair or walker to use. Buy raised units with drawers on the bottom.
- Idea #2 – Make sure your washer and dryer door hinges are on the opposite side – This will make it simple to transfer wet clothes from the washer into the dryer.
- Idea #3 – Use pull-out shelves in lower cabinets – This will make it possible for anyone to reach supplies in the back.
For more universal design laundry room tips read 5 Essential Tips for a Universal Design Laundry Room and learn more from my friend Rosemarie Rossetti (a national consultant who speaks on this topic).
Laundry room storage problem #9 – Piles of dirty clothes ‘grace’ your floor
There’s nothing more frustrating and unsanitary than piles of dirty laundry on the floor. With this ‘system’ you’re forced to rummage through the ‘rubble’ (‘er piles of clothes on the laundry room floor) attempting to find your favorite blouse you’ve got to wash tonight for your important board meeting tomorrow.
This ‘floor organization system’ has got to go.
A way to make this happen is to add a hamper and bin system. Have a bin for darks, lights, and delicates. Organize your laundry process and get your clothes OFF the laundry room floor.
So, how can we help you solve your laundry room storage problems?
I hope you’ve found the solutions to the 9 largest laundry storage problems helpful. And while it’s simple to read these solutions – if you’re like most people you may not know the cost of fixing these problems or the cost of laundry room storage systems. In addition, you might not know which problems to tackle first.
And if this describes you (and you live in Columbus Ohio) my team would love to help with a Free 3D laundry room design. We’ll develop solutions to your problems (OK – we’re only qualified to work on your storage problems) AND share a design to begin your transformation. Call 614-545-6888 or click for a Free Design Consultation.
And if you’re not in Central Ohio (which is likely most of you), in the comments below tell me where you do live, and I’ll work to find a referral for you.
To connect with me reach out @MikeFoti on LinkedIn.
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