With larger families than average Americans laundry can be a major chore for many of us Latinas. And these days, many of us are expecting more and more out of our laundry room. In the past, homeowners were satisfied with simply having a washer, dryer and utility sink relegated to some dark corner of their basement. While this is certainly several steps above using a washboard and metal tub like many of our Abuelitas had to do, nowadays people are looking for a more enjoyable, satisfying and convenient clothes-cleaning experience.
No matter where your utility room is, here are five tips to help you update your laundry-doing space.
Choose bright, cheery paint and tile colors for walls, floors and cabinets. If you have recessed shelving, paint the back wall with a pop of color to accent accessories kept on display. Instead of keeping laundry soap in its original box or bottle, empty the detergent into a decorative glass jar and keep it on display next to containers filled with brushes, ink pens and colorful rags.
UPGRADE FOR FUNCTION
Though they tend to cost more, front-loading washers use nearly 40 percent less water than top-loading washers, according to ConsumerEnergyCenter.org. Using a horizontal drum partially filled with water, these washers tend to be more gentle on clothes than a traditional washing machine. They also boast a faster spin cycle, which cuts drying time and uses less energy. Another benefit is that you can cover the tops of front-loading washers and dryers with countertops, maximizing every available space.
MAKE ROOM FOR STORAGE
Some of the main laundry room issues people complain about aren’t having enough counter and storage space and inadequate lighting. First, move everything that doesn’t associate with doing the laundry into the attic, garage, a SmartStop self-storage unit or even reconsider if you even need it. If not, donate or throw it away. Then begin installing more counter space and a movable or stationary island for folding and sorting clothes. Cabinets, shelves and rods above your washer and dryer can serve a dual purpose. Not only are they functional, but they force you to display what you use — helping you cut down on clutter.
Keep it Safe
Washer leaks and malfunctions are one of the leading causes of floods in the home, and dryers cause an alarming number of fires. As you remodel, here are some tips for making your laundry room the safest it can be:
- Use steel washer hoses that are braided for durability (instead of rubber ones)
- Seal any metal dryer pipes with foil tape instead of using flexible plastic hoses (plastic hoses can be fire hazards)
- If possible, use a washer box recessed into the wall so valves will be accessible and hoses aren’t squashed behind the machine and prone to damage
- Installing a washing machine drain pan can help protect your floor from water
Avoid having to collect laundry and carry it all downstairs by installing a laundry chute. If you have a clear path from upper floors and there’s no plumbing, wiring or duct work in the way, you can run a chute from the upstairs hallway or bathroom right down into the laundry room. In older homes, you can even convert an old dumbwaiter into a laundry chute. As a bonus, install an extra shower stall — the necessary plumbing is already there. Especially great for wet, muddy days and washing the dog, a utility shower, will quickly become more than a convenience.