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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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