Eight Steps to Achieving the Perfect Laundry Room BY: CHERYL DANGEL CULLEN

Make doing the laundry less of a tedious chore with a laundry room that is pleasant to be in and is also efficient and organized.

There are few people who enjoy doing the laundry but the task can be made more pleasant with an efficient laundry room that is not only practical, but energizing too.

The laundry room is all about the best storage, the layout, and little details – like the right products – that make cleaning clothes less time-consuming and more cheery. Here are eight steps to achieving that perfect balance of efficiency, practicality and aesthetics to make doing the laundry less of a chore.

  1. Choose a smart layout: Don’t position washers, dryers, ironing boards, etc. behind doors or in awkward corners. If you purchase front-loading washers and dryers, consider pedestals to raise them up and make access easier. When choosing flooring, avoid wood or ceramic tile and go for something durable like porcelain tile (unglazed to prevent slipping when wet).
  2. Be efficient: Evaluate how much washing you’re doing these days. If you’re not using the most efficient machines for your needs, new ones may actually save you money. When buying new machines, always investigate how much electricity they will use in a year. Other design features that help save energy include water level controls, moisture sensors, and spin cycle adjustments.
  3. Decorate/paint the walls: So many laundry rooms are drab, utilitarian places. Don’t be afraid to continue your home’s décor into this space. You’ll enjoy working in there more if it feels as warm and inviting as the rest of your home.
  4. Include plenty of storage: If you can afford it, built-in cabinets and shelves are smart (and can even add to a home’s value), but there are plenty of inexpensive free-standing or between-the-washer-dryer caddies, cabinets, organizers and bins found at Chicago-area ACE, True Value, Menards, The Home Depot or Lowe’s stores.
  5. Keep stain removers, sponges, and scrubbers in containers on a shelf or in a cabinet above your washing machine. Transfer detergents into smaller, dishwasher-safe containers that are easier to handle. Have special stain remoders on hand like Shout or Raise Armpit Stain Removerthe Good Housekeeping’s Product of the Month. The latter is a solution that bonds to yellow armpit stains (releasing it from the fabric) turning it into a salt that can be washed away in your laundry and won’t ruin your clothes.
  6. Consider a fold-out or hide-away ironing board: Having an ironing board set up all the time takes up a lot of space. There are a lot of models that are meant to hide behind the door or fold up on the wall when not in use. Find full-size boards online at sites such as www.containerstore.com or at the Container Store located in suburban Chicago OakBrook, Ill.
  7. Create a timesaving sorting system: Never face a heaping pile of dirty clothes again. Designate baskets for darks, lights, and dry-cleaning so everyone can help sort clothes. Have canvas-lined baskets embroidered, or label them with a fabric marker. Discount and specialty stores sell rolling carts with divided bins. Use adhesive felt letters to label each one, so everyone knows what goes where.
  8. Music: Dirty Laundry never sounded so good – when sung by Don Henley. Make sure you have a CD player or stereo for some tunes.

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