I am not a professional organizer or a expert photographer. I’m not a gourmet chef, super nanny, or consistent blogger. And will never claim to have it all together. But from time to time, I stumble upon a product or accidentally develop a system for managing my home or time that works for my family’s lifestyle, and I feel compelled to share it. The most recent trendy term for this kind of thing is known as a “life hack” and if you’ve ever attended MOPs at Big Valley Grace, you may have been blessed by a segment called “It Works for Me” where a few moms at a time have the chance to share a life hack with the group.
For my first installment – the laundry room. When we moved in almost 14 years ago <whoa!> it looked like this:
It’s very small, and appears functional. But in reality, those cabinets don’t hold as much as they look like they should, and there is a huge amount of wasted space since the ceilings are so high… and I’m all about making the best use of space! To complicate matters, we added two active boys to the mix, and the amount of dirty laundry we created multiplied by approximately a million.
If you’ll remember the beginning of this post, I laid it all out straight: I ain’t June Cleaver. Now, I don’t have a problem getting the laundry washed and dried… but taking (or making) the time to sort, fold, and put it all away reasonably soon after the dryer buzzes is not my cuppa tea. I wish I had taken a photo of Mount Laundrymore, but just imagine a giant pile of clothing (in four different sizes) jumbled precariously in a wrinkled heap on the counter, spilling onto the floor and threatening to swallow anyone who dared to remove even a sock from its masses. I wish that was an exaggeration!
That’s when we decided to <ahem!> customize things a bit. After a brief design discussion, we headed to Lowe’s and picked up some supplies. With a little time and a lot of elbow grease, we had tons of great storage. Now I have plenty of space for our guest bedding (in two extra large totes at the very top), pet supplies, cleaning products, and other household items.
Enter Life Hack #1: Steam cleaner accessories. With two boys and two dogs, we use our steam cleaner a lot. So the containers that supply and collect the water, soap, and… uh… other stuff need to be easily accessible. We used to end up just leaving them in the utility sink to dry, and I bet you’d be surprised to hear that they never got put away between uses, rendering the sink useless. Now we can use them, rinse them, and leave them on the shelf since they can just drip dry directly over the sink. #winning
Life Hack #2: Laundry Baskets Galore! Sometimes the stars align and you realize you already have the supplies necessary for making your life a little easier. In my case, I had a plethora of laundry baskets. The three small round ones you see in the photo above were actually intended for an organizing system a la The Fly Lady. But that system had long since fallen by the wayside, and they fit perfectly on my new shelves. So now, instead of dumping all the clean laundry on the floor until I get around to putting it in its rightful place, it gets sorted right away… one basket for Evan, one for Ryder, and two for Ryan and me (we also use the rectangular one that sits directly on the counter). Now, when someone needs a specific item, we don’t have to dig through a giant mess of everyone else’s clothing, and the floor is clear of danger. We just find the right basket and pull out what we need. And for the record, I do eventually get around to the folding and putting part. More often than I used to. Just not till our laundry room baskets are full to overflowing and I’m left with no choice. 🙂 Also, just out of view in the photo is a green laundry basket I used to use in my classroom. It’s for dirty laundry that can’t go in our other dirty clothes hampers because it’s super wet, muddy, or otherwise soiled. Thanks to OxyClean, nothing stays in that basket longer than a couple of hours since I just toss it in with whatever’s getting washed next.
So there you have it. Nothing Pinterest-worthy or magazine-ready. I prefer to call it “organized chaos.” But… It works for me!