Build a streamlined laundry room

Story highlights

  • These basics will keep your laundry room organized and tidy
  • A few wire shelves and tension rods create a built-for-you drying area
  • Keep a stain chart in the laundry room to help attack them before they set into fabric

Laundry rooms are notorious for being cramped. If you need new inspiration for making over your laundry room, these laundry room ideas will help you save precious space and time.

In Kevin Sharkey's laundry room, he wanted everything necessary to clean and care for his clothing in one place. He put together kits for minor sewing repairs, stain removal, shoe care, and clothing storage, and set them within easy reach on the lowest shelf. A catchall holds loose change, popped buttons, or whatever else is in his pockets. He decants powder detergent; a glass container makes it easier to see when you're running low than a cardboard box does.

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Great divider

To keep folded linens organized in neat stacks, flip two shelf brackets on their heads and fasten them to the wall and the shelf with finish washers.

Laundry-room drying bar

Cotton button-down shirts, which have a tendency to shrink, are best removed from the dryer while slightly damp, then air-dried. Unlike a drying rack, which holds a few shirts at most, a bath-towel holder mounted on the underside of a laundry-room shelf makes a good spot for a row of shirts on hangers. The bar can also be helpful when you're ironing; hang pressed shirts as you work.

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Laundry wall

Adjustable wire shelving is convenient and waterproof; in this laundry area, one shelf is reserved solely for drying sweaters. The wooden boxes house supplies. Install a tension rod upon which to hang clothes as you take them out of the dryer; that way, they'll need only a light ironing or no ironing at all. The iron and the ironing board are stored nearby for easy access.

Stain chart

The best defense against stains is information -- knowing how to attack a particular spot before it sets permanently into the fabric. Since there are so many kinds of stains, each with its own best cleaning method, it's difficult to memorize them all. That's where this convenient "first aid" chart comes in: It's a comprehensive listing of stains, from grease to ink, along with advice on how to handle them for both washable and non-washable items. Laminate our chart and hang it on the wall in your laundry room, where you can refer to it whenever needed.

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Perfect towel folding

Here is an easy trick for keeping your towels neatly folded. Place the towel flat on the bed. Place a standard-size cutting board in the center of the towel. Fold one end of the towel over to the edge of the cutting board; then fold the other side of the towel. You might have to adjust the cutting board so it's perfectly centered. Remove the cutting board, then fold the towel in half. For hand towels, use a smaller cutting board.

Tight-space laundry

In the compact laundry workstation and storage area of a small bathroom, the stacked European-style washer-dryer set economizes space. A shelf between units pulls out for folding items fresh from the dryer, then slides out of sight. A matchstick shade lowers all the way to the floor, gracefully hiding the utility area when guests are expected.

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Adjustable laundry closet

These shelves are positioned to fit the closet's contents, with little wasted space in between. The two center shelves accommodate stacks of folded clothing. On top, a small shelf holds collapsible bags, while the lowest shelf is designated for laundry.

Carry and wash

A pair of canvas bags -- one for laundry, the other for dry cleaning -- eliminates sorting later and makes for easy transport. Clear luggage tags on each indicate the appropriate cleaning method. You can also insert your contact information to streamline drop-offs at the cleaner.

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Everything in its place

A laundry room that has plenty of storage options and is also pleasing to the eye will help keep you organized. Mix and match the hutches, wall-mounted shelves and cabinets shown here from Martha Stewart Living™ Laundry to create a custom laundry system that works for your home.

All-in-one cart

This cart is the perfect solution for smaller spaces - use it to hold all of your laundry supplies as well as an ironing surface. The wheels allow for mobility around your home as well.

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