No Thanks
Let

Keep In Touch With MarthaStewart.com

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Organizing the Laundry Room

Organizing Good Things 2004, Volume 2004 Special Issue 2004


Whether your laundry room is a tiny closet or a spacious basement, organization is key. These 10 tips will help you make the most of the space you have.

1. Arrange products and supplies according to how you use them. Anything you regularly need should be within easy reach; place extras and incidentals on a high shelf or another out-of-the-way spot.

2. Decant detergents from large boxes and jugs into smaller containers or soap boxes; refill as needed.

3. Store small supplies in boxes or bins: Place stain-removal products in one, sewing materials in another, and sponges in a third. Have rags on hand for spills.

4. Sort whites, colors, delicates, and heavily soiled items in bins or rolling carts.

5. If you don't have room for a folding table, affix a fold-down shelf to the wall.

6. Keep a drying rack handy for drip-dry items.

7. Attach an ironing-board hanger to the wall so the board and iron are secure and out of the way but easily accessible.

8. Install a rod in the laundry room on which to hang clothes as you iron; or install a hook over the top of a door to serve the same purpose.

9. Keep clothes hangers and mesh bags for delicates with your cleaning supplies or in a nearby cabinet.

10. Use free space in the laundry room to store gift wrap, ribbon, basic tools, and pet supplies.

Do You Know?
Adjustable, plastic-coated wire shelving is a great surface for drying clothes. When not in use as a drying rack, the shelving can serve as extra store space for detergent, starch, and your iron.

Comments (28)

  • 2 Sep, 2008

    My 7 children all have learned to help with the laundry. Getting kids to fold clothes is easiest when they are little. At age 2-3 they can fold washcloths and small towels, by 7-8 they fold their laundry, by 10 their laundry and sheets and by 12 they iron. They have a "folding party" by first sorting the laundy on a just vacuumed floor. While they fold they watch a favorite show or movie. They put clothes away because they have to fold them and don't want to fold any more than they have to!

  • 2 Sep, 2008

    My 7 children all have learned to help with the laundry. Getting kids to fold clothes is easiest when they are little. At age 2-3 they can fold washcloths and small towels, by 7-8 they fold their laundry, by 10 their laundry and sheets and by 12 they iron. They have a "folding party" by first sorting the laundy on a just vacuumed floor. While they fold they watch a favorite show or movie. They put clothes away because they have to fold them and don't want to fold any more than they have to!

  • 2 Sep, 2008

    My 7 children all have learned to help with the laundry. Getting kids to fold

  • 2 Sep, 2008

    For those who asked: I purcased my rolling laudry sorter at "Walmarts." It was rather inexpenseive with removable (long) mesh bags in each of 3 sections. I also bought my collapsible laundry drying rack at "Walmarts." Both are real time savers!

  • 23 Aug, 2008

    In "olden days" before I had a wonderful laundry room I used plastic laundry baskets in the tub (unused - we shower) to sort clothes as we took them off. Hidden by a pretty shower curtain. The laundry was in the garage and my husband hung a metal pipe from the rafters to hang up clothes just taken from the dryer--saved lots of ironing.

  • 19 Aug, 2008

    Lowe's Home Improvement

  • 17 Aug, 2008

    My laundry room is arranged in a similar manner to the photo. I have the stackable washer and dryer, and I think I'm going to give that a try. It would free up some space for lower shelving. More storage for bulk laundry, bathroom and kitchen supplies. What I don't have are the rolling carts That are mentioned in "4." Where can I get those?

  • 17 Aug, 2008

    My laundry room is in my master bath. My husband put up shelves across the wall over the water heater and washer. Excellent storage. Items are in see through containers, labeled of course. Stuff I don't use often on top shelves. He also put shelves across opposite wall over dryer. A rod across the room, up high, for hangers and clothes I don't put in dryer. If the kids don't help with laundry, it's their job for a week, alone. I get plenty of help. :)

  • 17 Aug, 2008

    How about tips to help us that only have a corner of the kitchen with a washer and dryer? No room for anything and everything out in the open (yuck!). The washer and dryer are loud, too.

  • 16 Aug, 2008

    Laundry room? Whats that? You mean you don't have to make way through a single car garage (that a car would not fit in) to the back, climbing over surfboards, skateboards, bikes, and an assortment of other boxes and sport equipment . WOW. How lucky are you. Any you are right, Once you fold the laundry, it doesn't get put away. If it makes it to the kids bedroom, it sometimes lands back in the laundry basket. How do you train the kids to put it away and or hang it up?

  • 16 Aug, 2008

    I have a laundry room and it is always full of folded and hanging clothes. They never seem to get put away....

  • 15 Aug, 2008

    Yeah, I agree - I wish I had a laundry room too!!! My washer and dryer are in the garage by the hot water heater and no where to hang the clothes unless I bring them in and hang over the door in the bedroom. Maybe one day when I win the lotto, I can have an "inside" utility room! (it doesn't hurt to dream)

  • 15 Aug, 2008

    Wish I had a laundry "room". My appliances are in a closet w/bi-fold doors. I have one wire shelf and I have used it for hanging my ironing, but the shirts can not hang freely they land on the waher and dryer. Maybe one day I can have an actual room with a window , chair and table.

  • 15 Aug, 2008

    We use our utility/laundry room as a tornado shelter.
    Any ideas to keep it free from flying objects? Our typical response is to toss everything out of it into the garage which is a door away, but - it's nuts when we're in a hurry anyway. We have washer/dryer and cabinets above in a very small room.

  • 15 Aug, 2008

    That'll be the day...when I have the time or the inclination to "decant" my laundry detergent!

  • 15 Aug, 2008

    On the cold winter days when I am loathing the fact that our washer

  • 15 Aug, 2008

    I 'decant' my detergent into a smaller bottle because the huge warehouse bottle is too cumbersome and heavy for my arthritic hands to deal with. The small bottle is left within reach on a lower shelf. It takes up much less room on that shelf so other frequently used items also fit. For me, decanting is not chore clutter. I have also installed a drying rack on the ceiling that is on a pulley (it came from Ikea). My laundry area is in the garage and space is tight.

  • 15 Aug, 2008

    Where has everybody been?!? Havn't you heard of FLIPFOLD? It is the greatest thing ever for folding clothes and staying organized. And it folds everything like towels, T-shirts, all shirts, pants, etc. Check it out!

  • 15 Aug, 2008

    My laundry used to be the butler's pantry off the kitchen. I have put the plastic-coated wire shelves on all 4 walls at about 6'6" hieght. I can store extra paper towels etc on these shelves, they let light through and I can hang items to drip dry or to hang until I make a trip upstairs to put things away.I hang my step-stool on hooks on theh wall as well as the iron and board.

  • 15 Aug, 2008

    I don't love suggestion No. 2--decant detergent into smaller bottles.

    Talk about chore clutter!

    Better to have space enogh for big bottles that's not overhead.

    Wire shelving is great for air-drying stuff that should be laid flat--but what are you supposed to do w/ the detergent, starch, and iron while the clothes are drying?

    What about an extra shelf you hang only an inch or two below existing ones (use carabiners or S hooke)? Take it off to put the clothes on, then put it back up to dry.

  • 19 May, 2008

    In response to Kim Rene, a foldable shelf behind the door or on a wall could solve part of your problem. And a high shelf could be ideal to store 3 bins or pretty baskets to sort the laundry (label them :lights, whites and darks)

  • 16 Apr, 2008

    Seriously, MsSir! When I was young, a woman blew herself clean out of her basement putting hangers on the gas pipe! Please, don't do that!

  • 11 Apr, 2008

    In response to MsSir - DO NOT HANG ANYTHING FROM GAS OR WATER PIPES!!! Goodness. What a bad idea.

  • 11 Apr, 2008

    For those of us who still have an unfinished laundry room in the basement, try these ideas:
    *Put empty hangers on the overhead gas pipe.
    *Use an old dishpan to store your prewash cleaners and dryer sheets on top of your dryer.
    *Save your back by elevating your front load dryer. Ours is on heavy duty sturdy milk carton crates and a 3/4" sheet of plywood.
    *Use a vinyl covered laundry line to air dry thick items like towels before fluffing in the dryer.

  • 10 Apr, 2008

    Is there anyway you could stack the washer and dryer? I have front-loaders so I'm planning to stack and put a shelf next to them. If it is just a coat-closet sized space, the rolling cart may be your best option.

  • 10 Apr, 2008

    I have the same situation. My folding table is my bed, and I keep the ironing board up in the guest room. It's easy enough to store in the garage when company comes. Sorting happens on laundryday on my bed and the floor. Once it's sorted, I "store" it (pre-sorted) back in the laundry bin. Rolling sorting bins - maybe my next house.

  • 10 Apr, 2008

    Gosh, that could pose quite a problem. Do you have a stack unit?

  • 10 Apr, 2008

    We have downsized, and our laundry room is a small closet with no room for putting up even a shelf. I have thought to put a roll cart next door in the entry closet, any other ideas?