The houses in our neighborhood are all pretty much carbon copies of each other. Each kitchen has a pantry, and the laundry is set up in the basement. However, our home was renovated in the last few years, and the owners opted to forgo the pantry in order to bring the laundry up to the main floor. The machines, along with a counter, cabinet and shelf, are placed in the exact same spot as the old pantry, behind a set of bi-fold doors. As much as I hate not having a pantry, I do looooove having our laundry on the main floor…even if it isn’t exactly spacious and is smack dab in the middle of the kitchen action.
I am a total sucker for closets with a pop of pattern along the back (like here and here), so I knew I wanted to do something fun to the walls in this laundry closet (read how I did the bees here). But really, the bigger challenge was outfitting the single cabinet and high wire shelf in a way that was truly useful and functional for us.
It might be hard to tell from the pictures, but the one cabinet is actually fairly high up. I can only reach the counter and bottom shelf with ease, and the second cabinet shelf on tip toe. The top two cabinet shelves plus the wire shelf all require a stool. As such, I focused on placing the items we use the most within reach, and less-used items higher up.
Originally, I had the laundry supplies stored in a basket inside the cabinet. While this was working fine, I knew I could free up cabinet space and make the laundry operation easier by moving the supplies to the spacious counter. I found this lidded, compartmentalized acrylic box at a dodgy thrift store years ago, and it’s still one of my favorite ways to store our laundry items (you can see it in our last laundry room here.) I don’t have an exact link for you but something like this could work too!
Not only does the lidded box keep items easily in reach, but the clear style helps us keep tabs on when supplies are running low. Gone are the days of opening the pod container to realize they are all gone!
NOTE: Although this (not locked) lidded box is sitting out on the laundry counter, it is NOT easily accessible by little hands. Our 3-year-old would have to get a stool and climb onto the counter in order to reach them. Additionally, we’ve talked over and over about how these are soap and not candy, and he even says “Do not eat,” when we are putting them in the washer. We are comfortable with this solution, but please keep your own home and kiddos in mind if you choose to un-box pod-style detergents!
In our first 6 months of living here, the rest of these cabinet shelves sat mostly empty. Partly because they were really high, but also because there wasn’t anything else we really needed to store in here. In trying to figure out how best to use these shelves I did something I’ve never really had to do: I thought about what could go here instead of elsewhere around the home.
What do I mean?
Usually, in most organizing projects, I have to declutter enough to make everything fit and still have to look around the house for places to put extra/overflow items. This time though, I had the opposite problem: lots of space and not much to put there. So I thought about other areas around our home that were stuffed a bit too full and moved the most logical items to this laundry closet. This not only allowed me to use up the awesome storage space in the laundry closet, but also reduce clutter in other spots around the house (namely, the linen closet and front hall closet). Talk about a win win!
On the bottom shelf, I put our iron, our taller laundry sprays, and a “Time Out” box. Quite often, when we take things away (because they are either being thrown or fought over), they get placed somewhere random. Then we sometimes can’t remember where we put it. A “Time Out” box creates a central “dump zone” for these confiscated items…one that is easy to see, easy to remember, and well out of reach of little hands.
On the next shelf up, I placed three containers to hold items brought in from the front hall closet and upstairs linen closet: First Aid supplies, Sunscreen and Bug Spray.
Although I brought the First Aid supplies downstairs to alleviate space upstairs, this is a welcome and much-needed location shift. These items are most usually needed downstairs or outside, so it makes much more sense to have them on hand here. This container holds basics like band-aids, tapes, gauze pads, and rubbing alcohol. Inside the cup is a thermometer, tweezers, medicine dropper, and nail clippers.
To keep the box from becoming too disheveled, I loaded all the band-aids, gauze pads, etc into zipper pouches and added a coordinating label. I love having all these supplies down on the main floor of the home!
Skinny bins hold sunscreens and bug sprays which were rescued from the very-full front hall closet. Although I typically like to keep these things by the door so we can grab them on the way out, this laundry spot is almost as accessible!
TIP! If you’re sorting through your sunscreens and First Aid supplies, check for expiration dates before loading everything back up. You might be shocked to see your stash drop by half!
The top shelf cannot be reached without a stool (by any member of the family), so I specifically looked for collections of items that just fit and still made sense. By removing our power cords and furniture feet from the upstairs linen closet (as well as the baskets that hold them), I freed up space there and made use of this highest shelf.
For years, I have stored our power cords in old toilet paper tubes to keep them corralled and tidy. Pretty cardstock wrapped around the tubes just make them more fun to pull out and put away!
The observant eye will notice I carried the navy blue+gold bee background into the cabinets. No, I didn’t paint the back of the cabinet. Instead, I painted sheets of foam core (that I already had on hand), attached more bee stickers, and then stuck the foam core against the back of the shelves (just like I did here).
This extra step literally took about an hour, and makes the whole display feel a bit more custom and cohesive!
The top wire shelf provided an expanse of space to place some other, larger things that didn’t fit inside the cabinet but we still like to have (fairly) easy access to.
Long-time readers will recognize both our Battery Kit and Picture Hanging Kit.
Both of these kits have worked brilliantly for us over the last few years. Not only do they keep everything together in one organized spot, but the handles make it easier to grab them down off the high high shelf. (Pssssst – These two kits make for great quarantine projects for bored and/or anxious hands )
The rest of the wire shelf is dedicated to our “filing cabinet.” A few years ago, we ditched a traditional filing cabinet because we could never find a place to put the big, bulky, metal cabinet in home after home after home. We now store all of our household files in these Bigso boxes and this is why: we can place them anywhere we have the space…like a wire rack in our laundry room. I kept all my original filing exactly the same (you can read all about this method here), but just swapped the box labels for plain white versions.
All in all, this newly organized laundry closet is working SO well for us! The accessibility of the items we use most combined with outfitting the higher shelves with other logical and well-fitting household collections has meant we can get laundry done easier than before AND more space has opened up in other home “hot spots.” Now it’s time to go organize that front hall closet!
I can’t wait to hear what you think of this little laundry nook! Back here on Friday, I’m going to dive deep into those Cricut Joy Smart Labels (as seen all over my laundry room). If you have specific questions about this new Smart Label material, leave a comment so I can address it in my post! See you then!
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#LabelingLove #RoomMakeovers #StorageSolutions #Organization #1-Organization