Looking to make the most of your laundry room? Check out these how-to tips from Kevin Sharkey and more on laundry organization.
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Streamline the Laundry Room
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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Divide and Conquer Linens
Photography: Steven McDonald3 of 14
Install a 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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Create a 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.
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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, including grease and 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.
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Make the Most of Compact Space
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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Make Your Closet Flexible
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.
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Use Sorting Bags
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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When it comes to laundry, as with any other household chore, having the right equipment is essential. A sturdy, oversize laundry basket with a removable liner is both practical and attractive -- the liner protects delicate clothing from snagging and is a washable barrier between the basket and dirty clothes.
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Craft a country-style laundry bag out of bandannas with this simple sewing project. Change the dimensions or number of bandannas to make a shoe bag or a tote.
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Outfit a woven laundry basket with a homemade liner made of bandannas, or fabric that matches the decor of your laundry room.
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Make a Fold-Out Drying Rack
A simple foldaway rack makes ingenious use of laundry-room wall space. The rack consists of two wooden frames -- a smaller one, fitted with eight horizontal dowels, inside a larger one (each is painted to match the wall).The frames are hinged at the bottom, and the larger frame is attached to the wall. A small metal latch at the top keeps the rack closed when not in use. When open, the inner frame is held by eye hooks and chains.
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Keep laundry care information organized and close at hand with a laminated chart mounted in the laundry room.