Win the battle with your laundry, part 1
By Aimee Heckel
Every month, we talk to the professional organizers at Colorado-based Major Mom, for expert tips on tackling the biggest problems of running a family home.
This month, Major Mom “liberator,” Cathy Thompson, shared her tips on how to win the battle with your laundry. Thompson is the author of Major Mom’s latest organizing book, “Laundry Organizing Tips: Your Jumpstart for Getting On Track,” available now on Amazon for just $6.19.
Here’s where to start, according to Thompson:
1. First, think about your laundry room. Create a vision for how you want this room to look, feel and function — within the bounds or reality. Is this room in your home big or small? Is it a separate room or just a closet? Factor the limitations of this space into your vision.
2. Now, create a “space plan” of this room. A space plan will help you distinguish the different zones. Ask yourself: What will happen in this room? Is it where you will sort? Wash? Dry? Air dry? Will you use this room for folding, hanging and ironing?
“Many times, we put too much pressure on our rooms to perform more than what they can actually bear,” Thompson says.
3. Create an action plan, too. This specifies who does what in that space, when they do it and what supplies they will need.
4. Follow the acronym “S.T.E.P.S.” This stands for:
- Sort into categories: Take everything out of the room and sort by products (detergents, fabric softeners, stain sticks), tools (hangers, laundry baskets, drying rack, washer bags); specialty (dry cleaning, ironing, mending); other household cleaning items, if you keep them here (such as sprays, sponges, brooms); and other household items (light bulbs, batteries, overstock).
- Treasure what really matters. Only keep what you really need. Donate or toss items that are old or no longer needed, such as old hangers. Keep only what matches your original vision. If you want a sleek, contemporary space, don’t keep those bent, metal hangers from the dry cleaners.
- Establish homes and systems for everything. When deciding where things will permanently live, consider the height of who needs to be able to (or stay away from) certain items. Keep your household cleaners away from young kids, but store the laundry detergent on a lower shelf, if you have older kids who help wit the laundry.
Also, don’t forget to fully use your wall space. Go vertical and get things off the floor. Use hooks on the wall. If the room is big enough, stash your iron with an Iron Caddy, like this Ironing Organizer, $14.99, from the Container Store. Also consider hanging your broom and mop on the wall.
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Another great organization tool is a tension rod for hangers. Or use a towel rack or horizontal paper towel holder, if you only need to store a few hangers.
If your wall space is limited, look for over-the-door iron caddies and organization tools.
If you like too hide things behind closed doors, consider installing cupboards. And make sure you take measurements of the shelves before you finalize them.
If your laundry room is bigger, check out rolling garment racks, steamers and sorting systems.
- Plan your container strategy.
“Successful organizing depends on choosing the best container for each item,” Thompson says.
She suggests using clear containers, so you can see what’s inside. A slim cart, like this one at Amazon.com, can fit in small spaces and maximize space. Use drawer dividers or smaller containers inside drawers. And label everything!
- Start new habits. Use the laundry room the way you organized it, and be patient with your family members.
“Remember, it takes 21 days for something to become a habit,” Thompson says. “Make adjustments as necessary.”
Now that you’ve mastered the first part of laundry room organization, it’s time to read about part two — coming on Thursday.
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