15 Ways to Make Laundry Day Easier

Spend less time doing laundry and more time doing the things you love. Here are 15 ways to make your laundry routine easier.

Vicki Ingham

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Laundry Room
Room to Fold

    Install a countertop so you have a place to fold clothes as they come out of the dryer. Ideally, it should be right above the dryer as shown here. If that's not an option, bring in a table or cart that's tall enough for you to work on while standing up.

Love to Iron

    A built-in ironing board saves space and makes ironing less of a chore -- just flip out the board and plug in the iron. Wall-mounted ironing centers like this one from Iron-Away come equipped with a spotlight to illuminate your work surface and an electrical outlet for the iron. A TV installed nearby doesn't hurt either.

Install Clothes Rods

    Every laundry room needs a place to hang clothes fresh from the dryer or delicate items you prefer to air-dry. Sturdy clothes rods installed between upper cabinets are one easy solution. Position the rods far enough from the wall to leave adequate space for the hangers.

Stay Organized

    Being organized makes any job easier. Gather all of your laundry and clothing-care supplies into one utility cabinet near the washer and dryer so that everything is at hand when you need it. Store extra supplies here too, so you'll know when it's time to restock.

A Bin for Every Body

    Open shelves accommodate individual laundry baskets, one for every member of the family. Some families keep two sets of laundry baskets -- one that fills with clothing headed for the laundry and one to carry back from the laundry room filled with clean, folded clothes. The goal is for each person to take responsibility for his or her laundry.

Location Location

    Choose the right spot for your laundry room and spend less time traipsing from the laundry to the rooms where dirty clothes are generated. For singles and couples, a stacked washer and dryer in the bathroom may be perfect. Cabinetry that matches the rest of the bathroom holds pull-out wire baskets for dirty clothes and keeps them out of sight until wash day.

Pre-Sort to Save Time

    Streamline sorting tasks with a laundry cart on wheels. Ideally, keep the cart near the bedroom or bath so you can toss dirty clothes into the appropriate bag -- whites, darks, delicates -- as you go.

Stay Clean and Fit

    Multitasking may not always be advisable, but if you can work out, watch TV, and do the laundry all at the same time, you'll increase your sense of accomplishment. To make a basement laundry room comfortable enough that you'll want to spend time there, paint the walls a soothing color, install good lighting, and opt for attractive, easy-care laminate flooring or low-pile carpet.

Keep a Clothesline Handy

    Save on electricity by letting delicates air-dry. An old-fashioned wooden drying rack fans out to let air circulate around items. Install a retractable clothesline on opposite walls or door facings. Pull the line out when you have clothes to hang and let it snap back into its receptacle when it's not in use.

Minimize Bending

    Front-loading washing machines save on water, but leaning over to load and unload them can be hard on your back. To eliminate that problem, raise the appliances to a comfortable height on cabinetry that also provides drawer storage. Some front-loading models now come with optional 15-inch-tall pedestals that raise them to a comfortable working height.

Little Helpers

    Keep a small waste basket and a couple of bowls close to the washer for items that come out of pockets before you do the wash. A simple cardboard hanger caddy keeps hangers untangled. Hang a couple of oversize clips on the wall for orphaned socks or stain-remover recipes.

Wall-Mount Clothes Organizer

    If you don't have room for a clothes pole in the laundry area, invest in a wall-mount clothing valet. It flips down to hold the hangers as you empty the dryer, then folds up against the wall when it's not in use.

Invest in a Drying Cabinet

    A heated drying cabinet offers a gentler alternative to the tumble dryer and a faster option than air-drying. Several manufacturers are offering drying cabinets, which have been used in Europe for some time. Usually outfitted with shelves and hangers, they're handy for drying damp outdoor gear in winter too.

Limit Your Choices

    If you have a tendency to collect a lot of laundry products, you may end up with cluttered shelves full of half-full bottles. Limit yourself to one laundry soap, one stain remover, and one fabric softener. Keep measuring cups dedicated to laundry use on the shelf beside them so you have only to reach up and get what you need.

Make It Pretty

    It's easier to work in a room that makes you happy to be in it. Decorate your laundry room in a way that expresses your personality. Handpainted cabinets, beaded-board walls, and an old iron-base trestle table contribute to this laundry room's garden-inspired good looks and comfortable functionality.

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