When we renovated our home, I had dreams of a gorgeous Laundry Palace Room that would fit a chandelier, folding station, tons of cabinets, hidden hampers, sink and plenty of square footage for drying racks galore.
And then reality set it.
We were renovating a small, choppy ’50’s style rancher that did have a washer/dryer hookup but it was basically in the middle of the kitchen. We knew we would relocate our washer and dryer but as we began determining our Must Haves, I realized we were going to prioritize a large, eat in kitchen and open floor plan family room over my Laundry Fortress of Solitude. In fact, our dedicated laundry space slowly but surely morphed into a shared space with two of our Must Haves: a desk space and a powder bath.
Luckily, I’m not really into doing laundry so I’m not super sad about the loss of a dedicated space but I did have to get creative in order to make our insanely small laundry nook functional and eye pleasing.
Here are my Been There, Done That tips for maximizing the function of a tiny laundry space:
Door it Off
No matter what you do, no matter how small your space, build some sort of barrier between you and that dirty clothes bomb you call a laundry room.
We went with a clear glass sliding pocket door and I keep it closed, oh, 90% of the time.
I have a small child who thinks a spinning dial that lights up and sings when he spins it is Heaven on Earth. I find his efforts to stop my laundry progress to be, uh, less than hilarious. Also, whether the laundry is dirty in baskets, divided into color piles on the floor or clean and hanging from the racks, I really don’t want to make eye contact with it on a regular basis. Having a door keeps my eyes shielded (yes, even a clear glass door) and supports my “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.
Another bonus of the door situation is it provides a buffer from the hum and whir of the washer dryer. I don’t really need household electronics to wake the baby or drown out the peaceful sounds of the Teen Mom 2 marathon I have blaring in the background, so a buffer was a must.
Rack and Stack
By far, the easiest space saving tip is to use a stack kit to create a stackable washer and dryer set. We actually only have a small cut out space that houses the washer and dryer and that’s all she wrote for the dedicated laundry room space. With those bad boys shoved into their cubby hole, I really started to get nervous about the drying rack situation. I mean, nothing takes up more space than those darn accordion drying racks and while I refuse to wear anything that cannot be washed and dried (so, leggings), my husband has higher standards. Drying racks were a must so I had to get vertical.
Ikea makes these insanely cool, wall mounted hanging racks that fold flat when not in use. I love how cheap they are, how tough they are (they hold tons of wet laundry) and how they maintain a low profile when out of use. We made sure to install them so that the washer and dryer doors could open while the racks were in use and we haven’t looked back since.
Get creative with shared and unused space
You can see in the photo above that I have baskets on top of the washer and dryer stack. The space is too narrow and short to create a true cabinet (especially once our renovation budget ran too dry to hire a custom cabinet maker) but that doesn’t mean it should go unused. I stack soft, flexible baskets the depth of the washer/dryer unit and fill them with lesser used laundry things – you know, dryer sheets (I have never used a dryer sheet in my life), lint rollers, stain spray and bleach. If something is really breakable, I stash it in the small corner of the shelves above the desk that I reserved for laundry room things (the rest is all paperwork, bills and boringness).
As far as shared spaces go, I also use my desk as a folding surface and sock collector. Long gone are the dreams of a folding station, but my little desk top gets me through in a pinch. Most of the time my blog things are trying to take over the desk space but the laundry is dominant and takes no prisoners. If I need a surface to hold clean sheets and towels until they make their way to the linen closet, the desk is the safest bet.
While our space isn’t large, she is functional and I think we’ve managed to squeeze every inch of usefulness out of her.
If I could do it again, I would still choose to sacrifice the laundry space to more family square footage. I rarely wish we had a bigger laundry room and I have never wished that we had a smaller living room or one less bathroom. Ok, now spill: what do you wish were different in your laundry room?