Laundry room lovin’

December 30, 2010

One of the best decisions I ever made was to make sure that the second floor design of my new house incorporated the laundry units.  When I was growing up the laundry was in the basement and I never liked having to schlep my stuff up and down all those steps.

Of course, the dream I had of a new giant laundry room all decked out with deep countertops and cabinets galore, along with drying racks and sorting bins, was just that – a dream.  I was able, however, to carve out a nice sized closet, big enough to place my washer and dryer side-by-side, so that I could use the wall space above for one largish cabinet (for detergents, etc.) and a hanging clothes rod to air dry delicates.  Considering that all the bedrooms are on the same floor, I couldn’t have asked for better placement, and it’s working out great so far.

Electrical outlets were installed at waist height, just above the height of the machines.  Why so great? It’s the perfect place for me to be able to plug in the iron and/or steamer without having to climb behind my machines or use an extension cord.  I have a small “portable” ironing board which sits right on top of the washer (and hangs on the clothes rod when not in use), and I’m able to do my ironing on the spot, right as I pull items out of the dryer.

Here’s my newest, brightest idea: Keep a bin or box at hand in your laundry room for giveaway items that are still in decent condition but should not be making their way back into your closet. I placed a big plastic bin up above my upper storage cabinet, so I can just toss items up that no longer fit.  The bin is clear so I can see when it’s full.

 

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Closet case

October 31, 2010

Considering closet shelving. It’s been one of the most difficult decisions we’ve been putting off since before we moved in.

There are TONS of closet and wall-mounted shelving options to consider and it’s totally overwhelming.  I’ve been trying to find comparison reviews by searching for “closet systems,” “closet system reviews” and “closet system comparisons.” There isn’t a comprehensive list out there anywhere that I can find. Argh.

I ended up individually researching companies I’ve heard of from magazines or word-of-mouth.  Let me just say this – closet systems are unbelievably expensive. Seriously. But I honestly believe that you get what you pay for.  We got a quote for doing Elfa in our master closet. I took measurements into the store and an employee sat with us for nearly two hours helping us design what we thought would be the perfect set-up for our lifestyle.  And the system is such that you can start simple and add pieces over time as your needs change.

We also got a quote from a private company – akin to California closets, called Crooked Oak. They have BEAUTIFUL products, similarly priced to Elfa, but that are MDF rather than wire, and have the look of built-ins.  The upside to Crooked Oak is that they have customizable options that you can add to over time as well, unlike California Closets, which are built in.  And a service rep came out to our house and talked to us about our needs within our own space. She took the measurements and did the drawings, and I had to do nothing other than give her my wish list.

But given our (very) tight budget, and my organizational proclivities (who, me?) we went to Home Depot and got ourselves some good old Closet Maid pieces and combined those with existing furniture we already had from our previous homes.

What I like best about this solution is that it’s a sturdy rail system – nothing needs to be screwed into the wall except the foundational structure.  Everything is an add-on and customizable.  We can go all the way to the floor (like I did in one area on Ayesha’s side) or layer more shelves above the hanging section (like I did on mine).  And I can do it all myself – so I have the freedom to combine stand-alone pieces, and odd sizes, and whatever I want whenever I want, easily.

It totally works for us and our master closet.

I’m working on the home office closet now 🙂

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Top Tips: Seasonal Clothes Swap

October 29, 2010

I’m so glad I finally got around to switching out my seasonal clothes last week because it was only 32 degrees this morning when I walked the dog and will be a balmy 37-40 all day today. Brrrr!

Although I have more overall storage in the new house, I have less bedroom/clothes closet space than I used to.  So I’ve been storing out-of-season items so I can better utilize the space I do have. 

Hate swapping out your stuff? Not sure where to start? Here are my top tips:

  1. Do all your current laundry. Laugh if you want, but this simple first step will save you the later annoyance for having to drag out the ladder/schlep more items to the basement/etc. to add more items to your already tucked away storage boxes.
  2. Have medium, airtight, plastic storage containers on hand. I like clear ones so you can actually see what’s inside. Don’t go too big – clothes and shoes can get heavy. Or, if your only storage option is under the bed, or you are worried about moisture, invest in vacuum-seal storage bags that air-seal.  If you are swapping out stuff already in storage, dump it all out next to your dryer and use those same containers. You’ll want to spin all your storage stuff in a quick “refresh” cycle before you put it back in your closet anyway – but you do that last. 
  3. Clear off a large space (the entire bed, or all your floor space) as your “decision drop depot” and set out a couple of empty containers that you can quickly toss stuff into.
  4. Pull everything out of the closet you know you’re NOT going to wear this season and toss it all into one of three containers/piles:
    1. Store
    2. Give away
    3. Throw away 
  5. Bag up all of your give away and throw away items and get them out of the way. Less stuff to think about. Yay!
  6. Now take everything from the store pile and set it all out by category first, before you pack them. I pile up all of my shirts, jackets, pants, pjs, work-out clothes, and shoes separately, and then pack like items together.
  7. Label everything! List on your labels what types of items are in that container.  That way, if you need to go looking for a particular item later, you know exactly where to find it:
    1. SUMMER – Ts, Tanks & PJs
    2. SUMMER – Shorts & Skirts
    3. SPRING/FALL – Jackets, Pants, Capris

Now you have lots of room to put away all those “refreshed” clothes in your closet for this season!  (Or shop to fill in the gaps – LOL!).

Have fun!

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