Cleaning and Organizing the Laundry Room–Where We Live Now

how to clean and organize laundry room

Sure, we have a laundry room–in the sense that there’s a nice corner of the basement that has room for our washer and dryer. A lot of us live like that, right? In fact, we’re thinking that there’s nothing more amazing than the envy of a good laundry room. You know the kind that we mean, with the shiny new washers and dryers with huge porthole doors, sparkling next to the white cabinets and immaculate storage units. [photo via wikimedia]

Oh, and don’t forget the doors that neatly hide everything away from people who don’t need to know that you even do something boring like laundry. Check out this HGTV gallery and weep.

Meanwhile, the children are back in school and we’re doing more laundry than ever. It’s occurred to us that we could try cleaning out the dungeon, too. The people at HGTV would recommend that we organize the laundry room cupboards. We don’t have laundry room cupboards. What we do have, however, is a budget that allows us to run out to a big chain department store and buy lots of shelving on the cheap. We’ve gone with a big shelving unit (about 6′ high and 5′ across) for $35.

That’s because we got lucky with an open wall space. The smart alternative is buying three shelf units (standing about 5′ high) for $10 each. In either case, you’re going to find this to be a really smart move. We’re not sure how our laundry supplies regularly get buried behind paint cans and tool kits, but it happens. Having dedicated laundry shelves is a huge time saver.

We’ve also gone with three different laundry hampers in the basement. That’s a cheap solution to the irritating problem of sorting through one overflowing hamper–which always leads to some clothes landing on the basement floor. Now we have one bin for colors, one for whites, and one for heavier items like sheets and towels.

Our final big improvement is having some decent lighting. We once got a kick out of our bare light bulb in the ceiling. It just seemed kind of classic, in a horror movie kind of way. Then we realized that we couldn’t see bad stains until we were back upstairs–after the first wash, and seeing that we’d missed a chance to get the clothes cleaned right the first time. Once again, we’re at the department store investing in plenty of those portable pull lights–because we don’t have the money to hire an electrician. And if we did, we wouldn’t be spending that money on what passes for our laundry room.

Finally, let’s look back at some really glamorous cleaning lessons. If we were Angelina Jolie, we’d be telling you to get the laundry room looking nice washing the tiles and grout. As noted, though, many of us don’t have the luxury of tiles and grout. Instead, we have to think about cleaning part of an unfinished basement floor–and here’s how.

We also need to clean the actual appliances. That’s just a good way to maintain expensive items while also watching out for your family’s health. Here’s how (and why) to clean washing machines, and here’s how to clean dryers. Get all this done, and the laundry room experience will be a lot more pleasurable. The film crew from HGTV won’t stop by– but we don’t want anyone seeing how we dress to laundry, anyway.