Welcome to Week 5 of the Less Mess Challenge! This week, we’ll be working in the laundry room and linen closet! If you’ve been busy plugging along on the rest of the spaces, you *may* have gotten behind on laundry these past few weeks. We’ll take care of the mountain—and everything else—while we declutter and organize the laundry room.
I’ve written about laundry pretty extensively in the past — every topic from organization, to schedules, to routines, to setting timers, to getting kids involved. I’ll link them below if you’ve got a certain pain point in your space! If you just want challenge info, scroll a bit, it’s below!
Yikes. It’s almost embarrassing how much I talk about laundry!
Laundry is a pain point for many people, but I don’t mind it. I love I can do most of it passively. I also delegate a lot of the putting away to my children. I’ve got a system down that makes laundry manageable, so I’m rarely behind.
The laundry room can be a simple space to organize if it’s not already too cluttered. Laundry rooms are consistent and functional, the items stored within them don’t change often. Since all laundry rooms are different (cabinets vs shelves, a room vs a closet vs a basement corner, hanging space vs none) some directions may be vague. Apply them in whatever way you can to your space.
Before starting this challenge, consider how well (or poorly) your laundry room is functioning for you. What’s working well? What are your pain points?
If you’re missing any of these, add them!
The linen closet tends to be a place of excess. Too many towels and sheets can really take a toll on the function of a space. Consider how many towels and sheets you actually need for your family.
I’m betting those numbers are lower than what you’ve got.
We have 2 bath towels per person and three sets of sheets per bed (two for summer, one for winter).
We also have some pool/beach towels – two per person.
If your linen closet is full, consider letting go of a few items (pet shelters are always grateful for blankets and towels). You can also look for alternative places to store items. For instance, we store sheets in each person’s closet rather than one shared family closet.
If you don’t have a linen closet and you’re not happy about that, you can purchase a cabinet with doors for your family’s linens. Alternatively, linens can be stored in a chest.
If You Only Have 30 Minutes: Quick Declutter
- Unfortunately, if you’re behind on laundry, you won’t be able to tackle it in just a half an hour, but don’t let that stop you – throw a load in and fold another!
- Clear the tops of the machines if they have anything on them
- Remove any items from this space that do not belong
- Remove any clean clothing from the space and put it away
- Tidy up the shelf or space where you keep your laundry containers.
- Empty your lint trap and garbage can.
- Do a quick check of your linen closet — can anything go?
If You Have an Hour: Declutter & Surface Clean
- Do everything above, plus run a tub clean cycle (We use Affresh Tabs once a month)
- Remove items from the shelves, dust them, wipe up any spilled detergent, combine duplicate bottles to free up space, and replace the items neatly, keeping items you use most often the most accessible.
- Dust the tops of the machines.
- Vacuum the floor and in between the washer and dryer.
- Do a quick inventory of everything you have in the laundry room—remove any items that don’t belong. Group like items and place nicely on shelves or in bins.
- Fold any towels or sheets nicely within your linen closet.
If You Have a Few Hours: Declutter, Deep Clean & Organize
- Do everything above, plus clean out your dryer vent (someone should do twice it a year, it’s a fire hazard) Here’s how.
- Wipe out the gross stuff around the lip of the washer (and the dryer, as needed)
- If you already have bins, remove everything, wipe them out and replace only what you actually need or want. If you don’t have bins, consider adding some. Adjust labels, as needed. Laundry rooms are a great place to store household items such as batteries, extra cleaners, and lightbulbs – just make sure you group like items together and label them.
- Remove all items from your linen closet. Replace only what you need, folded neatly. Consider containing smaller items in baskets.
- Clean light fixtures, baseboards, cabinets, etc.—laundry rooms are DUSTY—eliminate as much as you can.
Maintaining Your Organized Space
I find a load a day keeps the piles (of laundry) away. Regardless of whether you have time to do a load every day, establish some kind of laundry routine and schedule and stick to it. It will help laundry become more manageable and it will keep your space (and closets) more organized.
Organizing the Laundry Room for Kids
While it’s not entirely possible to organize your laundry room for kids, you can include them in doing laundry from the age of two on. Get your kids involved in doing the laundry bit by bit and soon they’ll be independent and self-sufficient.
A few items to include in your laundry space to help your kids succeed are a bench (those buttons are high for little people) and detergent strips. Strips are easy for little people to use because they’re light and won’t make a mess. TruEarth detergent strips are my favorite.
Laundry Room Organizational Products
I say it every week, and I mean it: You can be organized without spending a ton of money on bins and baskets.
BUT sometimes they help the function of the space and I believe if you invest a bit of time and energy in making a space pretty, it’s more motivating for you to keep it that way!
Here are some of my favorite items for laundry room and linen closet organization:
- A turntable is a great way to access all those extra items you might need such as stain sticks and specialty detergents. This Youcopia Turntable has a large lip and adjustable dividers to help everything stay put.
- Bins or baskets are also a great way to contain those extras.
- A little trash can is great for lint and dryer sheets (if you use them). This magnetic lint bin sticks right to your dryer.
- If you don’t have space for a full rod, these fold out hanging bars are quite useful!
- Finally, if you have powder detergent or OxiClean, glass canisters take the look of your laundry space up a notch. Although they don’t improve organization, they can make you feel better, which makes laundry less of a chore!