An ideal laundry room has everything. Most likely, you'll have to make some compromises.

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Wouldn't it tickle your fancy to create a wall unit for your laundry area like the one shown below? Unfortunately, this is usually just wishful thinking. However, you could pick the most desirable traits seen here and adapt them to fit your own circumstances.

Think about the greatest difficulty you encounter on laundry day. Is it finding a place to fold or hand clothes? Needing bins for dirty laundry rather than having heaps on the floor? Or is it having enough shelf space for all the detergents, bleaches, water softeners, and presoak products you use? Determine your priorities first, especially if the space around the washer and dryer is limited.

An overhead shelving or cabinet unit is a smart move to make, since it demands no floor space. The unit can either run the length of the area, covering both the washer and dryer as they sit side by side, or you can include a rod for hanging clothes fresh from the dryer or clothes from the washer that must drip-dry. A system for presorting dirty clothes, such as wire baskets, can be a big aid during the week and on laundry day. An extra touch is the addition of countertop work space above the baskets, which supplies an excellent place for folding clothes, removing spots and stains, and compiling clean clothes for distribution throughout your home.

Today's fashions dictate fabrics that demand a lot of attention and care. In the past it wasn't as important to properly drip-dry dresses and shirts or to shape, mold, and lay out sweaters, slacks, and blouses on a flat surface for drying. These garments may remain in this position for at least two days before they're fully dry. How do you obtain this much space for this much time? Based on the available space in and around your washer and dryer, choose a suitable drying rack for the space's configuration. Racks that fold up for compact storage when not in use are of particular value.

An iron and ironing board are more necessary today than ever before, again due to the fabrics dictated by fashion. If you have enough space to keep your ironing board open and ready for pressing, you're one of the lucky ones. Most people are faced with the dilemma of whether they should put the ironing board in the crack between the wall and the refrigerator, shove it against the basement steps, or find some other equally inconvenient spot. Manufacturers have contrived a variety of compact, collapsible, self-contained storage systems for concealing or containing the ironing board. They range from a folding ironing board that springs from a box to a unit that springs from a drawer (see the photograph above) to a unit that transforms itself into a chair when it isn't being used.

Sometimes the laundry facilities have a room to themselves, not just a recessed closet-size area in a hallway kitchen, or corner of the basement. If this is the case, there may be room for plenty of cabinets for laundry storage. Then the laundry room becomes the area for stowing all your cleaning supplies, such as scouring cleansers, window cleaners, and furniture polish. Cabinet storage can be improved by installing racks and plenty of shelves.

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