Thursday, September 8, 2011

Laundry/Storage Room - The Finished Product

TA-DA!  It's been a long process but I am done, finished, complete, finite with the laundry room/storage room.  There were times on the journey that I thought I would never finish.  Many times throughout the process my husband would question what I was doing because he couldn't see my vision, but here we are on the other side with a room that both of us are happy with and should be SUSTAINABLE!

Let's start at the beginning.  Here is what we walked into when we went to do laundry.

Here were my fundamental problems with the room:
  • I felt like we were being overrun with clothes.  Hanging clothes, clean but unfolded clothes, off-season clothes, clothes that didn't fit
  • My shelves were ugly (I picked them up from someone at work), unorganized and not always used (Let's play Gardens of Time.  Can you find the paper towels in the above picture?)
  • We couldn't get to the treadmill, even if we wanted to
  • There was no room for the freezer I wanted to get
  • Due to hanging clothes and laundry supplies I could barely see the top of the washer & dryer
  • My husband did not have a dedicated space to hang his uniforms to dry
  • I had no room to work on my projects (I need to sew new cushions for my couch and love seat)
  • There are more issues but I think you get the idea
My first step was to start sorting. I picked up an item and put it in a pile in another room.  I had the following piles going:
  • Donation
  • Kitchen Stuff
  • Books
  • Winter Gear
  • Sewing/craft projects
  • Don't know what to do with junk
Here is what the area looked like in the middle of the sort process

Once I completed the "Sort" process I started the "Shine" step.  I don't have pictures of this but basically I dusted everything, got rid of all the cobwebs (of which there were many) vacuumed/swept the floor, cleaned the washer/dryer (including vents and junk catchers). 

Next I "Set in Order".  Typically when doing the 5S process this would include labeling and outlining items.  I didn't do this now but depending on how well the "Sustain" process goes I may need to.  I did give specific instructions to each member of the family as to how this new system would work.  Here are the different areas that I set up
  • Laundry shelves:  I have added shelves next to the washer and dryer which allows me to get the 'stuff' off the top of the washer and drying. There should be nothing on top of those appliances unless the laundry is being folded.  Once the folding is completed the items are to immediately be put away
  • Hanging racks and canvas bags:  My husband likes to hang all of his clothes.  He did create hanging areas a few years ago but I felt like they were in the way since they were over the washer and dryer as well as to the right of the entry way.  I bought two hanging racks with canvas bags.  My husband hangs his uniforms and extra SWAT wear on the one rack while the rest of his clothes go on the other rack.  My son get two canvas bags (one for his clean clothes and one for his uniforms), my daughter gets a canvas bag for her uniforms and the other three are for out of season clothes.  You can see our old hanging racks in the washer/dryer picture down below
  • Storage Shelves:  I painted the storage shelves a sparkly brown color to match the hanging racks I purchased (I was going to go with black but when I found the matching paint I decided to go with that).  While the different colored shelves don't add any functionality it does make the area look more cohesive.  I also stopped at the dollar store and picked up a few more baskets to keep the items organized
  • Sewing Area:  I've moved the table out of the center of the room and for now am using that as the storage area for my sewing material.  Once I complete my sewing project all I'll have is my sewing machine and sewing kit.  I will need to find a better place to store those items but I'll cross that bridge later.  Right now I need everything on the table.  We can also use that table for other craft projects as well as an area to organize all of our pictures (that's another item on my project list) that are in the storage totes next to the hanging racks
  • Freezer:  I've made room for the freezer which we purchased but still need to pick up.  Right now we have a table in the area as a place holder.  Remember the old Formica tables with the duct taped legs?  Yep, that's what is the place holder and was our first kitchen table.  When we moved into our first apartment everything was a hand me down.  That table was given to us by my husband's parents who received it from their parents.  I was planning on putting it on the curb but my husband isn't ready to part with it yet.  We are going to dismantle the table and slide it behind the furnace for now.
I skipped the 'Standardize' portion of the 5S process.  Typically this would involve taking a picture of the area and hanging it in a conspicuous place with instructions as to how to sustain.  Once again, I've given those explicit instructions to my family and they better follow or else :)  If I have problems with the sustainment I may need to re-address.

The last step in the process was 'Sustain'.  What changes were we going to make so that we didn't fall back into our old habits? 
  • Step number one was to change our laundry routine.  My son was the official laundry folder but he wasn't doing a very good job of keeping up with the laundry washer.  This is one of the reasons I felt like I was drowning in clean clothes.  We've relieved my son of his laundry folder duties (don't worry - he was assigned new ones) and now my husband and I fold the laundry right out of the dryer. 
  • Step number two is my husband has a specific drying rack for his uniforms, he is not to dry his clothes any where other than that rack.  Once the clothes are dried they are to be hung up.  Since my husband is pretty disciplined I don't think this will be a problem since he has specific areas to do this. 
  • Step number three is still a work in progress.  We need a donation area.  I have three storage closets in our family room that need to be organized.  My plan is to create a donation area in one of those areas that I can neatly stack items we no longer need until we can make a donation run.
  • Step number four is to make sure that the our stock up area remains neat.  Instead of throwing the items haphazardly onto the table we will neatly add the products to their appropriate shelves.
That's it!  Below are pictures of the finished area.  Enjoy!

Main area of laundry/storage area.  Table will be used for craft projects.  I'm not sure yet what the treadmill will be used for :)

Area where the new chest freezer will go.  The table was our very first kitchen table, my husband isn't ready to get rid of it yet so we'll be taking off the legs and storing it behind the shelves.  

Shelves that I use for storage.  The shelf on the right will be kitchen items while the shelf on the left is for my stockpiled items.  The top of the shelves are usable also but I wasn't able to get them in the picture.  These were a bright yellow that I painted brown to match my clothes racks.

Shelves to the left above the clothes dirty clothes baskets are new, previously the items were stored on top of the washer & dryer.  Clothing was previously hung above the washer & dryer but are now being stored on the clothes racks.  We use the quilt rack right now as a drying rack.

I will be linking this up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie

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  1. You're awesome and thanks for the tip about spray painting styrofoam. I'm sure I would have tried that some day. You just saved me a lot of time finding that out the hard way. I love to clean and organize but the hardest and I mean ABSOLUTE WORST part about laundry for me is putting away the clean laundry. Not the washing/drying/folding it's actually hanging/putting in drawers. I loathe it with a passion. No matter how much i purge there's never enough room. THANKS so much for sharing.

  2. Nicole - thanks for the kind words. If you are ever looking for ideas on how to make an atom, I'm your girl! Just step away from the spray paint when using Styrofoam. We've really struggled with folding the laundry also. My son was so do it immediately after they were dried but between his schedule and 'forgetting' I just decided that my husband and I would do it. I've found that it really only takes a couple of minutes to fold the laundry. Do you have a spot where you could fold it coming out of the dryer and put it in piles for your family to put away themselves? I would just keep trying different things, eventually you'll find something that will work for you :)

  3. Came here thru Org. Junkie. This room looks fantastic! I bet you are so efficient and happy now doing your laundry and crafts! All that hard work has really paid off.

  4. Cathie - Thanks! It is sooo much nicer doing the laundry now. I've also started my cushions and it is very nice having a spot where I can work without feeling overwhelmed. I'm happy to say that we've been sustaining without any problems - so far :)