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Quick fix: laundry room

Simple do-it-yourself ideas to transform your space without emptying your wallet

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Veldhoven built this industrial-style ceiling rack with pipes and fittings from from Value Sales on Windmill Road in Dartmouth, N.S. Photo: Amac Photography/Get Organized by Design

When you find yourself putting off the laundry until tomorrow, it’s often because your laundry area isn’t inviting say design professionals Jane Veldholden and Kim Jakobsen. But with a few simple changes you can craft a space that encourages productivity.

Kick the clutter

Jane Veldhoven is a professional organizer, an interior designer, and owns Get Organized by Design in Halifax.“Declutter as much as possible,” she says. “Get rid of a lot of stuff if you can.”

She suggests keeping a hamper in each bedroom of the house. This prevents having a laundry space piled with dirty clothes, which can make the task seem even larger.

“Plan a couple days to do laundry so that it is all washed, dried and put away,” says Veldhoven. “A lot of people make the mistake of throwing laundry in every day and then there is always laundry clutter.”

Cost: Free to $40 for hampers.
Time: An afternoon to find homes for non-laundry items.

Be bright

Colour has a profound impact on our psychology, says Kim Jacobsen, designer at Kim Jakobsen Design in Saint John, N.B. She recommends using “colours that make you feel like something is bright and fresh and clean,” like blues, whites, and greys. Choose a colour for your laundry room that makes you feel renewed when you walk in.

Cost: $50–$150 for paint and supplies.
Time: A weekend, including drying time.

Superior storage

“Make a home for everything,” says Veldhoven. She loves wall mounted ironing board racks that help free up floor space. When your ironing board is visible and accessible you’re more likely to use it, she says.

Vertical organization is key in tight spaces. Jakobsen suggests investing in wall-mounted shelving or cabinetry.

These floating shelves help keep everything up out of the way and organized. Photo: Photo: Kim Jakobsen Design

Ikea’s Lack floating shelves offer a budget DIY option with clean lines. You can also try your luck at resellers like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. In addition to keeping good fixtures out of the landfill, you may find quality cabinetry at a low cost that you can sand and paint.

Keep your power bill low and your delicates in like-new condition with a drying rack. You can tuck fold-up versions away when not in use, and ceiling mounted options keep floor space open. Veldhoven recommends those who enjoy industrial design build their own with steel plumbing pipe and connectors.

Cost: $25–$200
Time: An hour to a weekend.

Stack it up

When you’re in the market for a new washer-dryer set, consider an all-in-one or stackable to reclaim floor space. Some brands of free-standing front-load machines offer after-market stacking kits.

If you prefer your machines side-by-side, Jakobsen suggests placing countertop over them to create a folding station. Find countertop at a hardware store or big box store for about $30 per square foot.

Cost: $1,300–$2,500 for a washer dryer combo; $150 for countertop.
Time: Shopping and installation time.

East Coast Living