Laundry rooms are often neglected, but given that they are generally dedicated to just one purpose, they are easier to get right, particularly when compared to other more multifunctional, open-plan areas of the home.
Following a few small laundry room storage rules will ensure this hardworking space feels functional and looks fabulous.
We think slowing down and thinking about the different kinds of storage solutions your family might need in a small laundry room is time well spent, as it will make laundry day run more smoothly.
Small laundry room storage rules
Here are five small laundry room storage rules to follow for a space that makes doing laundry easy. With a bit of luck, it'll mean you have some space for decorative pieces, too.
1. Be strict about what you store
A small laundry room is a space dedicated to washing, sorting, and folding laundry, removing stains (and perhaps giving the dog somewhere to rest away from the noise of the rest of the house). This frees up space in the kitchen, bathroom, or under-stairs closet. So try to only store laundry-related items in there and avoid letting it become cluttered with things that don't belong. The more disciplined you can be the better. Tidy laundry room, tidy house, right?
Interior designer Jennifer Verruto of Blythe Interiors shared a top tip for keeping messes at bay: use a designated 'clean' basket for any clothing that needs to be folded and put away.
2. Blend beauty and function
The laundry room is never the first place you show visitors when giving them the tour but that doesn't mean we should forget about the aesthetic side. When investing in new storage products, don't forget to choose baskets, bins, and containers that you actually like looking at.
Take the time to shop around in-store and online and choose storage solutions that will make laundry day more fun. Whether that's natural woven wicker baskets, clear containers with handmade labels or a divided laundry hamper, at Amazon, for separating out whites and darks.
By kitting out your small laundry room with functional storage solutions that spark joy, you will be much more motivated to keep things neat. Good-quality storage solutions are more likely to stand the test of time, too.
3. Always decant
Something as simple as taking Tide pods out of their bright orange, plastic packaging and decanting them into clear containers can make things look infinitely more streamlined and put-together, which is especially helpful in a small space.
Store detergent, dryer sheets, dryer balls, and pegs in transparent jars and containers corralled on a tray or lined up on shelving for an apothecary-style laundry room. Plus, it'll mean you're never caught short because you can always see when the jars need refilling.
4. Balance open and closed storage
Speaking of shelving, consider the balance between open storage – where everything is out on display – and cabinetry. Open shelving often creates a sense of space when compared with cabinets, as well as giving you storage space that is easy to reach.
'Upper cabinets and shelves are great ways to maximize space,' says interior designer Jennifer Verruto. 'Purchasing attractive baskets and bins can help open shelving have a clean and polished look.'
Similarly, the back of the laundry room door can double up as storage. Elizabeth Grace, interior designer from Dream Home Making recommends installing an over-the-door shoe organizer, at Walmart, or hanging storage pockets to hold small items like dryer sheets, lint rollers, or sewing kits. 'This utilizes otherwise unused space and keeps frequently used items easily accessible,' she says.
On the other hand, you may be glad to have the option to store dirty clothes and other laundry items away behind cabinet doors to keep things visually calm, so strike a balance that works for you.
Elizabeth Grace is an interior designer and furniture expert. She received her degree in Interior Design from the University of Notre Dame. Elizabeth landed her first job as an intern with a leading firm in New York City, learning from some of the city’s top designers. She currently works as an interior designer for both residential and commercial clients.
5. Think about the layout
You may not have much choice in terms of layout, but if you are able to make changes, think about how you would move around the space and see if you can work around where your plumbing is to make it as functional as possible.
'Whether your appliances are inside cabinets or out on the show, I recommend installing a shelf directly above your washer and dryer to hold baskets of detergent, fabric softener, and so on, so they are right where you need them when doing laundry,' says Zara Stacey, content editor at Homes & Gardens. 'Store linens and towels near the door so they are easy to access when guests come round and keep clothes folding boards, at Walmart in a cabinet below some countertop space.'
Zara joined Homes & Gardens in February 2022 as a Content Editor. After studying English Literature at University, she worked as an Ecommerce Website Editor, Content Writer and Buying Intern at multiple independent businesses within the luxury retail and lifestyle sectors. Her role at Homes & Gardens unites her love for the world of design and her desire to create inspiring written content.
How do you use dead space in a laundry room?
'Dead space in a laundry room can be used to store other cleaning items – vacuums and brooms can often be tucked into corners or hung on the wall while other cleaning supplies can fit on shelves,' says Jennifer Verruto.
If you have an awkward gap between your washing machine and cabinetry, measure the space carefully before purchasing a slim slide-out storage unit, at Walmart for holding smaller bits and pieces, from stain removal products to dryer balls and ironing accessories.
Look at where you may be wasting space in your small laundry room currently, and seek out solutions that will make the room function with ease. This could be shelves, over cabinet-door storage racks, or a fold-out drying rack. And although laundry rooms are all about utility, there's no reason why your storage ideas can't look great, too.
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Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.
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