Simplifying your laundry room storage ends up making the task quicker and more enjoyable. Don’t believe me? Just try it yourself to find out.
Laundry… the one cleaning task that has to get done every day, sometimes several times a day depending on the size of your family. Dirty clothes seem to multiply despite our best efforts to stay on top of it and all too soon the laundry room, or designated area, can become a cluttered, overwhelming mess.
Then there is all the stuff that we use to clean the clothes with. If you open the laundry cabinet door are bottles on top of bottles stuffed in there? Contrary to what the detergent industry is telling you, you really don’t need several different laundry detergents, fabric softeners, stain removers and other bottles of fabric cleaners to keep your clothes clean.
It is possible to have a simplified laundry routine and storage system, getting rid of the all the extra stuff and organizing the clothes. It might take a little bit of thought and effort, and you might have to throw or give away some extra products, but I have some tips to help you simplify in one of the most used areas of the home.
Let’s Start with a Little Dirty Clothes Storage
Yes, it might seem strange and funny to store and organize dirty clothes but unless you wash clothing just as soon as you take them off then you need a system to organize them.
In older homes, most laundry rooms are housed in the basement with some sort of laundry shoot. When I was a kid, my cousins and I were always fascinated by the laundry shoot in my grandmother’s house which was a trap door hidden away in the hall linen closet. We would spend many afternoons tossing various items down the shoot and then run down to the basement to retrieve them only to repeat the process.
Old fashioned laundry shoots where a perfect way to “hide” the dirty clothes. Once they came off, down the shoot they went. More modern homes however don’t include the laundry shoot because typically homes are now designed and built with the laundry room off the kitchen, or if you are lucky, near the bedrooms. So once you remove the dirty clothing, you need a system to organize them with.
I’m a fan of hampers, especially one with lids, to store the dirty clothing. I keep one in both my closet and my kid’s shared closet. Every evening dirty clothes are placed in there, not thrown on the floor, and then in the morning as part of my morning routine, I go and gather up the laundry from the hampers to either place in the wash or house in a larger hamper system I have in the laundry room.
Utilizing hampers to store dirty clothing is a great way to keep the dirty clothes off the floor, cluttered in piled or possibly even mixed up with the clean clothes. By storing a hamper out of the way, either in a closet or in the laundry room, the dirty clothes are no longer adding to the visual clutter.
If you don’t have a hamper system in place, you can use laundry baskets to gather up the dirty clothing and store in your laundry room until you are ready to wash the clothing. I would also suggest that you wash the soiled clothes often so that you don’t have a huge pile of dirty laundry meeting you every time you enter the laundry room. Most days I make it a point to wash, dry, fold and put away at least one load, sometimes two, just to stay on top of the laundry.
Walking down the laundry detergent aisle of the grocery store can be a bit intimidating. Who knew there were so many different brands, products and uses? Adding even more confusion is that most brands now carry several different types of detergent for various washing situations from cold water washing, to preserving dark colors and then you have the hypo-allergenic variety. Which type do you use?
The laundry industry hopes you will use more than one because that means you are buying more product which in turn means you are placing more money in their product. Want to know a simple secret? Most of the laundry detergents are almost the exact same, just housed in different bottles making different claims.
You don’t really need to have five different bottles of laundry detergent. This is only a fairly recent trend as most woman in the past usually only had a simple combination of washing soda and borax to clean the clothing, which still is a perfectly acceptable way to clean your clothing.
Outside of detergents there are bleaches, whitening solutions, fabric softeners, stain removers, dryer sheets or dryer balls, just to name a few. About two years ago I was so sick of opening the cabinet door that housed all my laundry products only to see a cluttered mess of various products, many of which I didn’t even use on a regular basis. So I did a little old-school research on what laundry products I really needed and got rid of the rest.
So what did I keep? Simple, only a few products including one type of laundry detergent, a bottle of white vinegar and a bottle of stain treatment. That’s it. No extra bleach, no fabric softener, no dryer sheets… I got rid of it all. And you know what? Our clothes are clean, fresh, and soft and we don’t have a static problem.
To some that may seem extreme but to me it was all about getting a simplified system in place and using products that are work and are multi-use. For example I use vinegar as a natural whitening enhancer when needed and as a fabric softener if I notice the clothes are starting to feel a little stiff or have static, which is mainly in the winter.
If I have a hard stain to treat, I place the garment out in direct line of the sun, which is natural way to remove stains. Sometimes I even let my clothes air dry outside to give them that fresh from nature scent.
So today when you open your own laundry door and examine your various products, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I use all of these products enough to justify keeping them on hand?
- Can I simplify my laundry routine to streamline the process?
- What products am I willing to get rid of?
- Are their ways that I can use more natural products in a multi-purpose way?
Not everyone will have as much of a minimalistic system as I do but I do think with a little thought, examination, and even research into simplified laundry routines, it is very possible to clean out and organize your laundry room in a few simple steps, even eliminating the unnecessary clutter of various products.