I have waxed lyrical about my obsession with Pinterest before... but it's really starting to become a problem. I am getting dissatisfied with perfectly functional areas of my home because they don't have perfectly coordinated accents and creative & ingenious storage solutions. The thing is, that functional does not equal pretty.
Take my laundry room slash cloakroom slash downstairs bathroom. It is what I like to refer to as an organised mess. There is:
- a cupboard above the washer & dryer to store cleaning supplies. Check.
- a row of hooks for coats & bags. Check.
- storage shelving for shoes. Check.
- a basket for dirty laundry and a basket for clean laundry. Check, and check.
But it's still a mess and quite frankly an eyesore. Unfortunately, this utility room opens directly from my open plan kitchen and dining area so everyone gets to see it. It is also where our downstairs toilet it is located, so most visitors need to actually venture in there. Cue embarrassed me. So after a recent depression-inducing browse through Pinterest, I decided to something about it. I felt there was no harm borrowing ideas from the grand schemes displayed by people with A, lots more money than me; B, no kids; and C, domestic help!!! I would just adapt them to suit my budget and lifestyle! :-)
Firstly, I took stock of what I had in this area and made an inventory of the things that needed storing and a list of activities/functions that the room had to serve. I employed this strategy recently when organising my kitchen junk drawer. While I call the area a laundry room, it is in fact much more than that. Functions carried out in the area include: laundry & ironing; storage of coats, hats & scarves, umbrella, bags & shoes; storage of cleaning supplies & equipment; storage of DIY items such as lightbulbs, flashlights etc... It is also where the washbasin for the downstairs bathroom is located!
Ultimately, what I needed was storage that worked! The biggest investment was replacing the wire cube shelving with some cupboards from the Stuva range from Ikea. I chose these because they are sturdy, well built and spacious, allowing laundry baskets to be stored on the shelves comfortably.
However, they are also not one-trick ponies! They are actually a range designed to be used as furniture in a child's bedroom. You can buy hanging rails for the interior to turn them into wardrobes. This is important to me as we rent our home and as expats are likely to move on in the next couple of years... I want multi-function furniture that can be re-purposed in other parts of the house! Taking inspiration from many of the aforementioned Pinterest gems, I purchased some extra laundry baskets to aid the sorting process. One is for the clothes ready to put away in the boys' closets upstairs. One is for Him Indoors & myself! The other is for items that require ironing. Each basket is labelled using some nifty box labels I found in Target (far more practical than fancy chalkboards)... these are similar!
The square Sterilite ones fit the shelves perfectly and they come in white or beige!
Another great aspect of this range of furniture from Ikea is the option for deep drawers. These are perfect for storing shoes of all sizes (including the boats that Him Indoors wears)!!!
For taming the clutter in the wall mounted cupboards above the washer/dryer I bought a variety of plastic baskets and bins and sorted the contents of my cleaning storage cupboard, making things easier to find.
A major improvement was in de-cluttering the coat hooks and putting a basket for the school backpacks on the floor below. This helped remove some of the bulk on the hooks. I labelled each hook for a member of the family so that the kids can take ownership of their own items. I found this worked brilliantly for some stair baskets I set up. To label each hook without damaging the walls I used some brilliant Post-it Labels. I also invested in a wall rack to organise the brooms and mops that were cluttering up the corner. This has made a huge impact on reining in the clutter.
I used suction hooks to hang things like the clothes horse off the side of the dryer.
One of the best investments I made was to get a countertop ironing board. As with many ironing boards I found the pad that it came with was a little thin, so I also invested in a universal fit felt pad. I have another suction cup on the side of the wall mounted cabinets to store it when not in use, but it really doesn't take up any space so is actually easy to leave out. It really streamlines the laundry process too, as if an item needs a quick iron I can do it as I pull it out of the dryer. I added an over the door hanging rail to help with this. I store hangers here to put ironed items on.
One of the most effective things I employed in cheering up the room (without being able to actually decorate) was to pin a piece of bright patterned fabric to the wall behind the washer & dryer!! The fabric was only about $5 a yard from Ikea and really creates an impact... I love using cheap fabric for cheap & easy DIY wall art on a big scale!