A laundry is often one of the smallest, most neglected spaces in the house. Improving the workflow in your laundry room can save you time and frustration: here’s how.
If you’re lucky, your laundry is a room, usually between the kitchen and the back door, that fits a washing machine, a few shelves for assorted linen and storage, and maybe a nice clear area at the side to prop an ironing board or fold clothing.
Those of you who are less fortunate may just have a laundry sink, the washing machine and the space above it. This is pretty common in the homes of our customers in the inner west and eastern suburbs of Sydney. (Funnily enough, those of you who don’t have a washing machine may be the most fortunate of all because you have an excuse to outsource your laundry—yay!)
If you’re struggling to make your laundry a workable space, here are a few rules that will help you improve the laundry workflow.
Organisation is your friend
The saying “a place for everything and everything in its place” is appropriate here. Doing the laundry often involves bits and pieces—from washing powder to a lint brush, fabric softener to an ironing board—so make sure you have a cupboard, shelf or drawers where you can easily find the things you need.
- Try to categorise things according to the point in the cycle that you need it: washing powder or liquid with fabric softener in one section separate from pegs, separate from your ironing items.
- If you have a room to work with, you might like to set aside some of it for storing miscellaneous linen like tablecloths, towels, bedsheets and so on. Large, uniformly sized, square-based baskets or tubs work well here: label them and make sure that’s where those items live after they’ve been washed and folded.
- If you just have the space above your washing machine, you can still invest in a shelf where you can put all your laundry-related items, keeping the top of the washing machine accessible (especially if it’s a top loader) or available for folding and sorting activities.
And while you are at it, get your washing machine organised by changing over the hoses. Did you know that burst washing machine hoses are one of the most common insurance claims and can run into thousands of dollars of damage? A flooded laundry is NOT a workable space! Here’s how you can get your washing machine organised: spring clean your washing machine.
Room to move
It goes without saying that cramped quarters does not happy laundry make (if you believe in the emotional state of laundry). Organisation will help you declutter the space, but there are a few other things you can do to establish a workflow.
Take a look at how the laundry room is set out.Is there a logical flow where dirty laundry comes in, enters the machine and then proceeds to the drying area (whether that’s your backyard, drying room or a dryer)? What happens if there’s more than one load of laundry in waiting?
Find out where the bottlenecks are. Perhaps your machine is in the wrong spot or you simply have your storage and workspaces round the wrong way. There’s not much you can do about changing where the washing machine and laundry sink sits unless you want to renovate, so the key here is to make room where you need it.
Your washing machine and laundry sink will see the most traffic, so don’t store things around this area in a way that will obstruct the flow. Use the under sink storage and the vertical space above the machine so you can load/unload the laundry with ease. If you don’t have a laundry room, this means designating the area around that space as a laundry zone only.