Even if you rather enjoy doing the washing, one thing that can really put you off the task is a disorganised and chaotic laundry room bereft of effective storage solutions.
Small laundries, in particular, are prone to being overtaken by things totally unrelated to getting the washing done: muddy shoes, school backpacks, sporting gear, pet accessories and more. Then there’s bulky cleaning equipment, the ironing board, clothes airer and the countless bottles filled with all sorts of potions like detergent, softener, stain remover sprays and soakers – the list goes on!
Getting your small laundry organised isn’t just a matter of making it look pretty and neat. Effective laundry storage solutions will save you time and energy. They will also help you wash clothing more efficiently (saving both water and power). Not sure where to start?
Professional home organiser, founder of The Organising Platform and Hills ambassador, Chelsea Smith, says decluttering is a great place to start. “Go through your laundry supplies and get rid of any products you no longer use or need.”
1. Re-jig the layout
Once you’ve removed items you don’t need, sweep your eyes over the laundry and assess whether the layout can be tweaked to create more storage space. If your laundry is truly tiny and you are desperate for more storage space, consider replacing single-use appliances with those that do double duty.
Washer dryer combos have come a long way since they were first introduced. LG for example, recently launched a range of large capacity washer/dryers that can handle a 12kg wash and an 8kg dry, so you can get through more washing in less time.
Or, perhaps you have a washing machine and a dryer placed side-by-side. This configuration is great for medium to large-sized laundries, but can make a small laundry feel cramped. Stacking the appliances can free up valuable floor space for a broom cupboard or shelving unit instead.
Sometimes the layout of a small laundry can be dictated by the swing of a door. If a traditional door is getting in the way of your dream laundry,switching it to a barn-door, pocket door or folding door could be the solution.
2. Identify sources of clutter and find a place for everything
Now that you’ve maximised the available space in your laundry, the next step is to identify the items that regularly tend to make your laundry look messy. Here are some of the common clutter culprits:
Washing basket: Washing baskets are often too big to store in a standard laundry cupboard. If you have limited room, consider swapping out a rigid plastic basket with a collapsible alternative. If your laundry basket must be on display, make it a beautiful one! Wicker is a great choice and will add warmth and texture to your laundry.
Large cleaning and laundry equipment: Stacking washing appliances can free up floor space for a broom cupboard to keep tall and bulky cleaning equipment stored out of sight. If a dedicated cabinet is not an option, wall hooks designed to clamp onto broom and mop handles could be another great option to keep these items up and off the floor.
Pet accessories: If you have pets, your laundry probably does double duty as a grooming station. Keep all grooming items together in an easy-reach basket or caddy that you can store under the sink and pull out whenever you need it. If your laundry also has an exterior door, consider hanging wall baskets to act as a catch-all for leashes, collars and more.
Shoes: If you don’t have space for a dedicated shoe cabinet or rack, a wicker basket is your next best friend for keeping shoes contained. A basket with handles is also a great option, as it makes the task of putting away the shoes in one hit much easier.
Bags: If the laundry is an entry point to your home, it can become a dumping ground for schoolbags, handbags and the like. Walls hooks are an easy solution, but if you want to keep them out of sight, a storage bench that the kids can open up and throw their bags in will also work.
3. Select the right hamper
Perhaps the biggest source of clutter in a small laundry is an overflowing hamper. If you’re not up to doing the laundry daily, you’ll need an extra-large laundry hamper, or perhaps even multiple hampers. The benefit of owning multiple hampers is that you can use them to sort items as you go.
“Separate your laundry into different piles based on colour, fabric type and washing instructions,” says Chelsea. “Not only does this prevent colours from bleeding into lighter fabrics, it also ensures that each load is washed correctly, saving you time and money in the long run.”
Then come washing day, all you need to do is empty the contents in its entirety into the machine and away you go. It’s also better for your water bill if you wait until you have a full load of washing, rather than running multiple smaller washes throughout the week.
“Always opt for a hamper with a lid, it helps keep dirty laundry out of sight and prevents odours from spreading throughout the room,” says Chelsea.
4. Streamline laundry and cleaning products
It doesn’t take long for all of laundry and cleaning products to take over limited cupboard space. Many of these products also tend to come in irregular-shaped plastic containers that are difficult to stack and store. The simple task of decanting laundry products into slimline reusable containers can instantly free up more cupboard space.
“Label containers and baskets so you can quickly identify what’s inside and prevent confusion. This is especially useful if you have multiple people using the laundry,” says Chelsea.
Switching to eco-friendly products with minimal packaging (detergent sheets and pods, for example) can also prevent products and bottles from monopolising cupboards.
5. Maximise every inch of space
There is always room to add more storage, even in the tiniest laundry! Slimline storage trolleys can turn an unutilised gap between fixtures into bonus storage that can be wheeled in and out for easy access.
“Make the most of the vertical space available in your laundry,” says Chelsea. “Use hooks and open shelves to store items such as ironing boards, drying racks and laundry bags off the floor and out of the way. This can help free up valuable floor space ensuring your laundry is tidy and functional.”
If your laundry doesn’t have wall-mounted storage cabinets, consider installing them. The Practa wall cabinet from Bunnings costs about $101, while Ikea’s Ivar cabinet in white mesh starts at $149. Opt for cabinetry with doors, rather than open shelving, to ensure your laundry always looks tidy.
If you’re renting, a great way to take advantage of vertical space without making holes in the walls is to build an ‘Over the Washer’ shelving unit. Look for a unit that includes space to hang delicate washing to dry and plenty of shelves for keeping essential supplies on hand.
Don’t forget the back of the laundry door, either. Over-the-door storage options include valets, airers, hampers and even iron and ironing board holders. Simple hooks can also add extra functionality to the back of the door.
6. Only buy accessories you can hide away
Don’t waste precious space on bulky laundry accessories that can’t be hidden away. In a small laundry, items like collapsible laundry baskets, lightweight ironing boards and easy-to-fold drying racks are your best friend.
Look for drying racks that fold completely flat, or those that can be mounted to the ceiling. Ceiling drying racks are fantastic as they utilise space that would otherwise be wasted and can be pulled up and down as required.
Small laundry room storage essentials
Save room in a small laundry by swapping out separate washer and drying machines for a single appliance that does it all. This large-capacity machine can handle 12kg loads of washing and an 8kg dry. It’s also ThinQ compatible, which means you can control it remotely from your smartphone.
Free up space in your laundry cupboards by saying goodbye to bulky plastic packaging and embracing eco-friendly detergent sheets. Tirtyl’s concentrated laundry sheets dissolve in both hot and cold water and are suitable for all machines and handwashing. Unscented version also available.
Leif’s heavenly laundry products come in 100% reusable, slimline containers that will look beautiful displayed out and proud on a bench, or take up minimal room in a cabinet. The detergent is made from non-toxic ingredients and is biodegradable.
If your laundry basket must be out, make it a beautiful one! This handmade rattan style is sturdy, rectangular, and features easy-to-grab handles that will make lugging laundry just that little bit easier.
A beautiful double hamper that would fit right into a coastal or Hamptons-style home. The woven texture will add warmth to a laundry room while keeping piles of laundry well hidden. Each bin features a removable liner. Also available in a single basket version.
Foldable baskets are excellent for small laundries, as they can be easily stored away and out of sight when not in use. This lightweight basket is sturdy and constructed from bamboo and a waterproof polyurethane fabric.
Clever design is everything when it comes to laundry accessories, and Joseph and Joseph’s beloved laundry hamper certainly meets the brief. It’s not the cheapest hamper, but hundreds of five-star reviews say the price-tag is worth it. This double hamper can hold a lot of laundry – one reviewer says it can easily handle laundry for a family of four.
Many woven laundry baskets come with a hefty price tag. Achieve the look on a budget with Big W’s Openook range. This large basket features a rounded design and sturdy handles – perfect for carrying heavy loads to the clothesline and back again. Also available in small, medium and extra-large.
Wall hooks are a quick and simple way to utilise vertical space in a small laundry. These sturdy hooks not only look beautiful, they’re also double hooks so can hold hats, bags, clothing and more. Each can hold up to 5kg and all the installation hardware comes in the pack.
The perfect broom cupboard for storing tall and bulky equipment such as a vacuum cleaner, mop, mop bucket and other cleaning products. We love the grey frame with a simple shaker profile, but other door options are available including white, concrete effect and oak effect.
Wall hanging storage baskets are a great catch-all for pet accessories, keys and anything else that can quickly clutter a small laundry. Mount them close to an external door so you can easily grab what you need as you leave the house.
An over-the-washer shelving unit is perfect for renters. Kmart’s budget option features two shelves and a hanging rod for drying delicate items. Perfect for adding vertical storage space to a European style laundry.
It’s amazing just how much storage space this $15 trolley will add to a small laundry. Its plastic construction makes it ideal for a wet area, such as a laundry, while castors allow the unit to be wheeled around the room as required. The slimline design is perfect for adding functionality to even the smallest of laundries. Also available in black.
Caddies are a great way to group cleaning products together according to purpose. Then, any time you need to clean, just carry the caddy to that room and you have everything you need without having to go back-and-forth to grab what you need. This woven style will look great displayed on a bench or on an open shelf.
This high-tech clothes airer may cost the same amount as some entry-model dryers, but if you’re committed to drying your clothes in a gentle manner, this gadget may be an option. It can be mounted to the ceiling and features a motorised, retractable design that makes it super simple to use. It’s also equipped with fans that circulate air around the clothing, making them dry quicker than they would on a standard airer.
Keep open-shelving looking tidy by investing in beautiful baskets that keep small items contained. The open-weave design is greate for keeping linen organised and fresh while the sturdy construction will withstand being pulled off upper shelving regularly.
Once everything is in its place, labels will help you (and anyone else who uses the laundry) keep track of where things belong. These sleek and minimal labels are easy-to-read and will complete a neat and tidy laundry.
Clothes airers are fantastic for balconies, rainy days, small apartments and drying delicate items. Dry more clothing quickly by investing in Hills’ expandable airer which features 27 metres of drying space. Despite it’s drying capacity, this airer is lightweight and folds completely flat so you can store it away when you’re not using it.