Laundry Room Makeover

laundry room organization project

Okay, so maybe I am the only one who was waiting anxiously for this project to wrap itself up! But anyway. Here it is. I know I’ve been talking about it for a while, but it is FINALLY ready to unveil.

This is the third of a series of posts on Taming Mom’s Hotspots sponsored in part by Target. As a Target Inner Circle Member, I received a gift card to assist me with this project. Don’t miss my posts about how we organized The Command Center and The Pantry!!!

And stay tuned for a giveaway at the end of this post!!!

Taming Mom’s Hot Spots | The Laundry Room

First, you have to understand how much I have DETESTED this room for the past few years.

When we moved into this house eight years ago, I was so thrilled to HAVE a laundry room that I didn’t much care that it was bare bones. It came equipped with ONE wire rack that was really hard to reach. Take a look.

laundry-room

I KNOW! We are slobs. (Also note the “system” — the laundry sorter that was clearly NOT being used, the drying rack that was overflowing, and the shoe shelves that were empty. Are you sensing a pattern here?)

When we bought a set of front loaders a few years ago, which naturally spawned a series of blog posts, we removed the shelf and never put it back. I had a portable laundry hamper/hanging rack in there and that was IT. Take a look at these BEFORE photos.

laundry room before-3

I’m dead serious. We lived this way for four years!

laundry before

In a wild attempt at organization, my husband hung hooks along one wall for backpacks and jackets, and we hung bins that were supposed to hold important papers that need attention, but those ended up gathering more and more stuff until they were literally overflowing and not at all useful.

I’m not sure WHY I ever thought that bright orange paint was a good idea. I was trying to pick something fun, but that color just sucked all the light out of the room. Also, we only had one light, and it didn’t provide much illumination. With no natural light source in the room, it was a dungeon.

We have 9-foot ceilings in my house, so I knew there was a ton of wasted space, but we just used it as-is because we weren’t sure what to do with it. Because the washer and dryer were on pedestals, hanging shelves or cabinets seemed almost worthless because we’d barely be able to reach them.

It wasn’t until I hired an organizer to help me configure the space that we were able to come up with a workable plan.

Hallelujah!

Darla DeMorrow of Heartwork Organizing stepped in and breathed new life into this space. In full disclosure, I paid her a reduced rate in exchange for social media promotion, but she gave me the same treatment she gives all her clients. She truly will go shopping with you, come to your house and hang shelving units, and give you advice based on your habits and needs. Here is how she describes her business: “Part service, part coach, part miracle worker, with a designer’s eye, we can work with you to improve your situation.”

She is fantastic, and I am not done with her yet!!! If you’re local and looking for professional help organizing or staging your home, contact Darla TODAY and get on her calendar. You won’t regret it.

The Plan

After assessing the situation and asking me about our families habits and current systems, Darla determined that we needed:

  1. better lighting
  2. lighter paint color
  3. shelving
  4. a better system for organizing papers
  5. shoe storage

For starters.

My only request was a nice sturdy hanging rack for line drying clothes and a system for storing all our stuff. Beyond that, I had no vision for the room.

As we discussed the project further, we decided we needed to do something about the ugly green linoleum floor. Darla wanted to paint it, but my husband wasn’t hearing any of that. He was convinced it would end up getting scratched and dinged and looking like crap, so he offered to lay wood floor.

Neither one of us was about to argue with that!!

Then we discussed paint colors. Darla thought we should go with something light in cooler tones that would make the small room feel larger. We looked through her paint palette and picked two coordinating shades of teal that we thought would be soothing in the space. 

Finally we discussed what to do with all that open wall space. Darla recommended an open shelving system on the right wall over the washer and dryer, rather than cabinets. It’s by far the less expensive option, and she promised we could make it look pretty with proper containers. As for the hooks on the left wall, she liked the idea, but gave me tips on making them more effective — such as assigning certain hooks to certain kids so they weren’t constantly hanging coats and backpacks on top of each other’s and knocking stuff onto the floor when they wanted to get to something under the pile.

She also suggested that I remove the pedestals from under the washer and dryer so we could bring the shelving down to a more accessible height. I was nervous about getting rid of that storage space. I use those drawers for beach towels and bathing suits and winter hats/gloves/mittens, etc. But she promised the space could be used more efficiently if we got rid of them.

Clearly this was no small task we were undertaking!!

She took measurements and jotted down ideas and later on the week got back to me with a plan of action. Here’s how our project unfolded.

Laundry Room Organization At Last!

The first thing I did after Darla’s initial assessment was clear out the room and take everything off the hooks. I hung back only the most essential coats and backpacks. Those hooks were never intended to hold Paul’s and my things, so I went through the coat closet in the foyer and got all of our coats and jackets hanging neatly in there. I got rid of all the other assorted junk that had accumulated on the hooks and spread out the kids’ jackets and backpacks so that each had their own hooks. I cannot BELIEVE I never thought of doing that before.

That night, Paul removed the pedestals from under the washer and dryer. Already the room seemed more manageable, but we had a LONG way to go!

look ma no pedestalsPaint

Darla tipped me off that Sherwin Williams was having a 40% off sale on paint that weekend, so I headed right over the next day to buy a couple of gallons. Paul loves Sherwin Williams paint, and it is the brand Darla recommends as well. We decided to paint a darker shade on the back wall and a lighter shade on the side walls.

We went with SW 6191 Contented for the lighter one and SW6472 Composed for the darker one. Aren’t the color names PERFECT???!!!

The next night, Paul went to work.

bye bye orange

When I woke up the next morning, I had fresh paint!

new paint

Flooring

We chose wood rather than ceramic tile or sheet vinyl because we have wood in the foyer and thought it would flow nicely into the laundry room. It’s not very expensive if you do it yourself. I think we spent around $300 at Lowes on the wood flooring. Paul installed it in a weekend.

wood floor1

Color & Design

Meanwhile, Darla and I met at Target to look for design inspiration. The folks at Target wanted me to check out the new limited edition Method line of products in Beach Sage. I fell in love with the color palette, and it went perfectly with our paint colors!

method beach sage

Darla recommended using fabric bins for organizing my stuff on the shelves. I liked these Itso Fabric Bins, and the colors worked so we picked up a bunch. Later we returned the ones we didn’t use. When shopping at Target for things like this, it’s a good idea to pick up extras just in case because they don’t stay on the shelves for long.

itso fabric bins

Installing freedomRail

Once the room was painted and the floor was in, we could start hanging the shelves.

SQUEEEE!!!!!

Darla recommends the freedomRail shelving system. I discussed why at great length in my Pantry Organization post. Basically it’s very good quality, sturdy, and it is easy to adjust to your space.

hanging freedomRail

We are not affiliated with freedomRail at all. I purchased all the shelving at full price; we just both think it’s a great product!

It was Darla’s idea to put the shoe cubbies in the open space between the dryer and the closet to contain the shoes that are always scattered about our house. She hung it high enough off the floor that I can fit laundry baskets underneath it. BRILLIANT, right?????

freedomRail

You can see how the freedomRail works, I hope, from this succession of photos.

installing freedomRail

AND I got my hanging rack!!! We actually designed the system so it is at the PERFECT height for me to reach.

almost done

Then it was time to start organizing the shelves!!!!! All of the stuff we had removed from the laundry room plus our new storage bins were lined up in the halllway.

laundry room stuff

Darla went through and helped me place it on the shelves in an organized manner.

laundry room organization

Clearly I have an unnatural fear of running out of paper towels. HA!!

The cool thing about the fabric bins is, you can move them around depending on the time of year. We used several to house the kids gloves/mittens/hats/etc. Those can go way up high in the summer months and on a lower shelf in the winter months. Same with the basket of beach towels you see there. They will soon go up on a high shelf since we rarely use them in the wintertime.

Expanding the Closet

Now it’s time to discuss the closet. This teeny tiny closet that is located to on the right wall when you enter the laundry room is almost worthless, and unfortunately the door is cut smaller than the actual space inside. I don’t have a before-before photo, but I grabbed this after Paul removed the molding and before we expanded it.

closet before

Not only does it have an extra few inches of storage space on either side of the doorway, but it extends ALL THE WAY to the ceiling inside. Of course, you can’t access that space with the standard door height. It was Darla’s idea to remove the door entirely so I have better access, and then Paul suggested cutting the doorframe all the way up to the top so we could hang shelves and access all that storage space. Darla loved that idea, so that is what we did.

We also ordered more freedomRail shelving so I had solid, adjustable shelves like in my pantry. We painted the inside coral for fun.

closet expansion

We used some Itso Plastic Bins from Target to contain similar products and keep the closet looking tidy. Darla used her label maker to label our containers so even the kids can put things back where they go!

Lighting

I didn’t realize how crucial good lighting is to a space like this. Darla has a whole mathematical equation for determining how much light one needs in a space, but you know how well math and I get along, right? Here is her post explaining How to Calculate LightingNeeds.

Suffice it to say, we needed a second light.

two lights

(Do you know how hard it is to take a photo of lights? LOL!!)

It is AMAZING what a difference the extra light makes in that space. It’s like a different room.

Laundry Room Decor

Our top priority was making this space functional, but we added a few decorative touches to keep the project fun and help make the room a more pleasant place to be. Might as well make the more mundane household tasks as pleasant as possible, right?

Early on in the project, I started keeping a Pinterest board of laundry room design ideas that I found appealing. I found these safety pin plaques at Ballard Designs, and we decided they would go perfectly on the back wall.

clothes-pins

It was also Darla’s idea to hang a piece of artwork for each of the kids to help designate their space on the wall of hooks. We went through a box of their best work that I’ve kept and selected one piece of artwork for each of them. We hung them on wooden pants hangers that we found at Target.

She also picked up a wood letter in the initial of each of their first names, and I decorated them with washi tape. Yes, I actually did a craft! Take a look!!!!!

washi-tape-letters

Finally, she bought a shelf and some frames and we hung more of the kids’ artwork above the doorway to the rest of the house.

kids artwork

Because I have three doorways that converge in that corner, when we elevated the closet door, it looked a bit out of place . . . until we hung this shelf. By placing the artwork over the shorter door, it makes the space look more intentional.

artwork

The Big Reveal!!!!

Welcome to my NEW AND MUCH IMPROVED laundry room!!

laundry-room-organization

That’s the view from the doorway into the laundry room from the house. We rarely enter the laundry room from our garage (which is where the 3rd door leads) because we don’t park in the garage. Don’t ask. It’s a sore subject.

I’ve been living with my new laundry room organization for a week or two (we were waiting to finish the closet before the big reveal) and it’s working out nicely. The fabric bins on the shelves are labeled so we know what’s inside. We have bins for our winter gloves/mittens/hats, one for napkins, one for extra dish towels, and that big box on the top-right holds all my placemats and cloth napkins.

laundry room organized shelving

I love having the washer and dryer off the pedestals. I tend to stand and fold clothes as I remove them from the dryer, and it’s much easier to stack things on top at this lower height. Plus, having the shelves gets all my detergents off the appliances and allows me more folding room. The tops of the washer and dryer also stay cleaner now.

organized laundry room

I’ve been using the Method Beach Sage Laundry Detergent, and I really like it. The scent is lovely, and I love knowing that I’m using a cleaning product that is non-toxic and biodegradable. Plus it cleans well, and it’s so easy to pick up and squirt into my washing dispenser.

Method Beach Sage Laundry Detergent

The shoe cubbies have been a life saver. No more shoes on the floor! The basket is for batteries. I’ve since moved it into the closet.

The bins on top are for odds and ends that tend to accumulate in a laundry room and mudroom area. When they get full, we are supposed to go through them and put things away. I’ll let you know how that works out for us! HA!

shoe cubbies

It was Darla’s suggestion to replace my odds and ends of laundry baskets with matching ones that I can switch around as needed. The teal laundry baskets were just $3.99 at Target! I bought 6 of them. Three live in the laundry room to sort the dirty clothes into whites, darks and towels. Two live in our bedroom closet to collect our dirty clothes, and one is extra for holding clean, folded clothes. Or something like that. (The kids have one of these collapsable hampers upstairs.) So far, the system seems to be working. I might pick up another laundry basket or two next time I’m at Target because we tend to leave our clean, folded clothes in baskets for . . . longer than I’d like. *grin*

The curled wood floral arrangement is from Target. It adds a touch of pretty to the array of cleaning products.

shelves-closeup

And this wreath is from the same Smith & Hawken for Target collection, but I couldn’t find a link online.

wreath

I love my sturdy hanging rack! It’s such an improvement over the wobbly one that was attached to the laundry sorter that I never used. Well, I used it. It gathered outgrown clothes, extra paper towels, and all manner of clutter — anything BUT dirty laundry (and certainly not sorted into workable categories. The problem was the location — it was not convenient to the washer and dryer, the way my doors opened.)

The multiple laundry baskets work much better for me.

hanging rack1

And with the kids’ hooks clearly delineated by their artwork and first initials, they are learning to use their own hooks and keep their things hung up neatly.

kids coat hooks

Overall this project has made a HUGE improvement in our home life. Not only do I have a pleasant, functional space to do laundry, but we have more storage space for all the gear and household products that tend to accumulate in a home with young kids AND a workable system for keeping it all organized.

I could NEVER have accomplished this without the guidance from Heartwork Organizing and the help of my Handyguy husband. It was definitely a group effort.

As a Target Inner Circle member, Target provided a gift card to assist me with this project as well as one to give away, but I still contributed much of my own time and materials. As always, all thoughts and opinions shared in this post are very much my own.