Does your basement laundry room feel like a dungeon?
The average person spends six hours a week doing laundry. That’s the equivalent of 13 days straight of nothing but laundry! No wonder there is a trend towards upgrading laundry spaces.
While upstairs laundry is becoming the standard, many people still have to trudge down to the basement to get the job done. But you can make laundry more enjoyable (or at least less dreary) if you set up the room respecting both form and function.
Let’s first address the function part of the equation. What activities do you need to accomplish in this space? In what order are these tasks completed? Here is a list to get your brain started:
- Transporting laundry
- Sorting laundry
- Pre-treating laundry
- Folding and hanging laundry
- Ironing laundry (yes, some people still do this!)
- Hand washing (and air drying) delicates
- Sewing and craft activities
- Gift-wrapping station
- Storing laundry supplies
Now that you know what needs to be accomplished in this space, think about form. After all, the laundry room is a space where you can really get creative! While lively décor may not necessarily make laundry fun to do, it will make the time seem to go by faster. And you’ll be surprised at how little it costs!
- Clean up! Before you get started, create a clean canvas. Clutter – if you’ve got it, you need to purge it. Next, clean it as if your Mom is coming for a visit and will sleep in the basement. If your basement is still in its original form, consider painting the walls and floor with a light, neutral color. Keep items off the floor as much as possible.
- Chutes and Ladders! Consider adding a laundry chute to help with laundry transportation (albeit one way!). This is especially helpful if there are those (and they know who they are) who don’t get their “dirties” where they belong on a regular basis.
- Define the laundry space. Is your laundry area floating in the middle of the room, or tucked into a corner? Set some boundaries. Add colorful FLOR interlocking carpet tiles to define your laundry space. You can make it just the size you need, and in whatever colors you want. Not only is a great design element, but it’s softer on your feet.
- A place for everything, and everything its place. Create a movable cabinet with built-in storage by adding casters to the bottom of a vanity cabinet. Use this movable space divider to help define your space in an otherwise expansive room. Check irregulars or discontinued items at your local DIY store to get a good deal.
- Sort it out. Buy three large laundry baskets for sorting your laundry in light, medium or dark. Make decorative signs to indicate which is which. Or just write on them with a sharpie – whatever gets the job done!
- Know when to fold ’em! Pick up a discontinued kitchen island at a great price and use it as a folding table. Not only will it be a more comfortable height for your back, you’ll also score additional storage underneath! And why not add a couple bar stools for doing crafts or just hanging out? Mini-fridge optional.
- Hang out. Hang a pole over or near the “folding island” to hang items as you fold, or get a rolling garment rack. If you hang shirts while they’re still slightly damp, you’ll have a much easier time ironing them. Use hanging dividers to separate clothes by owner to keep items organized.
- Bright Ideas. Don’t skimp on lighting. Use a combination of ceiling and task lighting to make sure you can see what you are doing. If you have windows in the basement, clean them up and dress them up with light curtains that let the natural light in.
- Make it fun! Add a whimsical element such as a colorful sign that says “Drop Your Dirties Here” with an arrow pointing down to the laundry sorting area. Find clever cabinet knobs with a laundry theme. Add a tip jar for loose change found in the wash. Use colorful containers to hold supplies. You can find many inexpensive plastic bins at dollar stores. Use your imagination! But avoid small chatchke items that collect dust (and spiders).
- Think Green. Add an indoor tree to add life to the space. Perhaps a nice, durable rubber tree or faux ficus.
Still not excited about laundry? Add a stereo or TV to help pass the time. Chaka Khan’s “I’m every woman” just might do the trick!