I’m making progress on the garage laundry room makeover. I’ve planned this to be a three-part series, so if you missed part one, you can read it here. In this part, I’m covering types of clutter in the laundry room and how to deal with them. I basically found two types of items when cleaning up in the laundry area: “delayed decision” items and “en route” items.
“Delayed Decision” Items
This type of item, in my opinion, is responsible for the lion’s share of the clutter we find around our homes in general. It’s stuff we’ve picked up and contemplated several times that sort of ends up getting shuffled around to different places in the house, or getting buried in a pile. It’s stuff that doesn’t have a home, stuff we want to get rid of but for some reason feel like we can’t, or stuff with a lot of sentimental value, etc.
I found my husband’s boot dryer in this area which, for a period of time, he needed to use daily. Now it hasn’t been used in at least a year, and it’s taking up precious laundry real estate. It has literally bothered me the whole time it’s been sitting out, but I hadn’t come up with a place to store it and didn’t really have the mental space to do so. See? Delayed decision. We’re not getting rid of it because he’ll definitely need it again in the future, but sitting out in the laundry area is not the place for it. I coiled the cord and found a cabinet in the garage where I could tuck it away for future use.
A more visible and space-hogging issue was a box of toys I’d put out several months ago beside the dryer. My children are blessed with an abundance of toys, so I started rotating them to keep their inside toy collection more manageable. It’s been working great, but now I’ve had this unsightly box of toys hanging out where I’m doing laundry.
Often times, we don’t utilize the storage we already have to its fullest extent. This was definitely the case here. I found a mostly-empty shelf in a garage cabinet where I could store these out-of-rotation toys. I do make a regular habit of taking toy and kid items to the donation center, but I know these toys are hits with my kids, and it will be a fun treat to see them reappear after they’ve been put away for awhile.
Other decisions were fairly straightforward. I was planning to install hooks so we can hang our sawhorses on a wall in another part of the garage, but my husband told me he’d actually prefer to keep them in the shed, so that’s a simple solution. The scrap lumber was put up on a top shelf in the garage where we already have a small collection of scrap lumber. Easy!
“En route” Items
I also dealt with items which had been en route somewhere, but for some reason or other got waylaid. Actually, I know the exact reason they got waylaid: I’m chasing two diapered children all day, and sometimes all I have time to do with something destined for the attic is toss it on top of the dryer and tell myself I’ll put it up there later. But then of course, it’s out of sight, out of mind.
This isn’t pictured, but I also often end up with a stack of reusable bags on top of my dryer from a long-completed grocery shopping trip. These need to go back in our van, but often when I’m done with the shopping and putting the groceries away, I just want to toss the bags out into the garage and be done with them.
Another potential tenant on my dryer are items which need to be returned to people. Now, this one I think I’ve been able to curb for the most part. I have a large basket in the house which I designated the “return to people” basket. In most cases, this system takes care of those random items.
Where to Start?
If you want to start tackling the clutter in your laundry room with me, it can sometimes be overwhelming to know where to begin. Here’s a few suggestions to get started:
Take care of the “easy” stuff first. Stuff that has a home and just needs to get put away (i.e. my reusable grocery bags), stuff that can go into a “return to” bin if it needs to be returned to someone else, stuff that just needs to be thrown away, and so forth. Once you begin to see some space getting freed up, it motivates you to keep going.
Declutter! If there’s stuff you really need to part with but you’ve been procrastinating, now is the time. Don’t allow yourself to simply re-store things in some other part of the house to be a delayed decision later. Once it’s gone, you will feel increased physical and mental freedom.
Don’t get bogged down in the details. Now is not the time to pull out the matching baskets or start organizing the shelves in your laundry cupboards. Now is the time to simply clear space. Get rid of the noise and the excess and then you’ll be able to see clearly to organize what remains.
Set a timer. This productivity trick is an oldie but a goodie. I can easily go at a decluttering project for hours, but I don’t have large chunks of time to spend right now as a mom of two small children. I set a time limit when I was decluttering in the laundry area and I was surprised how much I was able to get done in less than 45 minutes. When you just go and don’t look up until the alarm dings, you’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish.
Simple Garage Laundry Room Makeover, Part 3
I’m so excited for the last part of this organizing project. The last phase will be one part organizing and one part makeover, and I’ve already got some fun supplies (see hint below!) to make it happen. Stay tuned!