Living Space: Big ideas for small laundry room
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If your home has a large laundry room, you have plenty of space for baskets, cleaning supplies, drying racks, a counter and sink. If not, it is possible to carve out some precious space that may be hiding in plain view - making your laundry room more efficient.
One of the biggest space wasters is quite possibly the item you use most often: the laundry basket. Large, cumbersome baskets are hard to hide, tough to store and don't fit anywhere except in the open. They not only create visual clutter, but more importantly, also reduce the amount of room you have to work.
Try a collapsible laundry basket instead. There are a variety to choose from and these handy devices can do double duty as beach or camping totes. Better still, they can be tucked into a drawer or on a shelf. Collapsible baskets make it easier to carry laundry through doors and up and down stairs than rigid plastic baskets. These soft portable baskets are also a good value at less than $10 (spacesavers.com).
If you prefer a laundry basket with artwork, try the collapsible wire version at CB2.com. Its chic look can even make a statement when folded and hung on a wall ($40).
Another space waster is the giant jug of laundry detergent. If space is at a premium, go with the small toss-in pods. In a glass jar, the pods look positively artistic on a counter.
If you have space between the washer and dryer, add a slim organizer to hold detergents, stain treaters and clothespins. These narrow drawers really maximize that little bit of wasted space and make it useful again. Often overlooked is the space on the wall. Add some hanging bins or baskets to corral dryer sheets, odd socks or items pulled from pockets.
To hang up clothes, add wire shelving above the washer and dryer. You can have it cut at your hardware store to fit your space exactly, and include hanging bars. Add a retractable drying line for delicates that can be neatly put away when not in use.
If you have a front-loading washer and dryer, consider stacking the two appliances. With the extra space, you can add a cabinet and countertop for folding and storage. If the washer and dryer must remain side by side, add a counter on top that can double as a place for folding laundry or gift wrapping.
There's no reason your laundry room has to look institutional. In fact, if it's attractive, you're more likely to spend time there, do more cleaning and find laundry and other household chores more enjoyable. Tackle lighting first.
Take out ugly fixtures and replace them with something attractive. A small lamp on a countertop will add a touch of warmth. Finish up with artwork, stencils or decals on the walls and create a new, cheerful look for the space.
Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.