Organizing the Laundry Room

Organizing the Laundry Room

The initial title that popped into my head was “Re-organizing the Laundry Room.”

Then I thought, “Ummm, who am I kidding?”

I’ve cleaned my laundry room before.  I’ve even given another go at using my unbelievably-cool-so-why-can’t-they-solve-all-of-my-problems stackable laundry baskets.

But still, that was my before pic.

This time, since organization was my goal, not just survival . . . I tried to do it right.  I’m all for survival, but I finally felt that, after almost a year of being fairly successful with my laundry routine, I was ready to organize.

For my way of doing things.

To do it right, I pulled out everything.  I HATE doing this.  Seriously.  I know hate is a very strong word, but  there have been way too many times when pulling everything out of a chaotic space has ended up making my home only more crazy because I got distracted in the middle of the project . . . and left the pulled-out-chaos in the middle of the floor for . . . . a while.

Or more.

But since my daughter was sick and we were home instead of being gone all day Wednesday as we planned, I decided that a big, intensive project was possible.  And her being sick meant that I could justify letting her watch TV so I could work without being interrupted.

In the end, it only took me about 2 1/2 hours.

Go figure.

After pulling everything out, grossness was revealed.


So, in an effort to carry out this “doing things right” business, I started scrubbing.

And mopping.

Until things looked like this:

And this:

I sighed happily when I stepped back and saw this:

Until I turned around and saw this:

At that point, the familiar overwhelming panic started to rise in my chest.  It’s just so much crstuff.

So much.

So I began repeating over and over to myself . . .

Do the easy stuff first.



I can do easy.

Easy means things like moving the donate pile . . . to the donate spot!

The donate pile . . . you know, stuff like the boppy.  (It’s been over three years since I nursed a baby.)  And the large cleaning items that I had multiples of.  And the floaty swim suit that I don’t remember ever seeing before I pulled it out from behind the dryer.

Easy means rolling the little-rolley-cart back into its spot.

Easy means moving the trash out of the hallway.

Easy means moving the blanket-that-a-kid-who’s-not-mine-slept-on-so-it-needs-to-be-washed-but-who-has-the-time-when-there’s-so-much-else-to-wash-and-we-haven’t-actually-needed-that-blanket . . . into one of those handy-dandy laundry baskets, even though I don’t know exactly where those baskets are going to go yet.

Once the easy stuff was gone, it looked like this, which was much easier to digest.  (Actually, it seems that I didn’t move the blanket until after this picture.  But because I love my long-hyphenated-phrase-turned-adjective above, I’m leaving it.)

I kept making decisions until it looked like this:

Tools were put on the left, where the baskets used to be.  (Yes, I have two Wonder Mops.  Libman sent me a new one, but my old one is still good, so I hate to throw it away.)

And on the right, I put . . . . nothing.  The shoe-drying-rack-thingy-for-the-dryer-that-I-actually-do-use-once-a-year . . . I wedged at the side of the dryer because I didn’t know what else to do with it.

But the rest of the space . . . is just space.  Aaaaaahhhhh.

I want it free and clear because I’m planning to spend some of my Christmas money on a small folding table that can be used for all sorts of things, but primarily for folding laundry on Mondays.

That’s right, I’m spending my fun money on a laundry accessory!  I’m cool like that.

And looky up there on the dryer.  Do you see it?

A little “contain”-er for cleaning rags.  I’m so hoping that solution will actually work for me!!!

Wondering what I did with the baskets?

I took them out.

As much as I love the idea of everyone taking their laundry to the laundry room every night to sort it into those cool baskets . . . it’s not going to happen.  The only thing that works around here is for there to be a laundry-collecting basket or hamper within a decent throw’s distance from where the clothes get stripped off.

I’ve accepted it.

So, I moved the baskets to my bedroom.   The kids have a hamper that they’re pretty good about using most of the time. 

In the laundry room, the baskets were just too accessible as junk-collectors.

And of course, as always happens when I declutter/organize, there was one last item that threw me for a loop.  I get a little paranoid when I have absolutely no idea what something is.  If it’s that mysterious . . . it must be important, right?

It’s like a pony-tail holder, but it’s humongous.  Way bigger than a human head.  Any guesses?


Check out my Decluttering page to see more of my decluttering projects and read what I’ve learned (from way too much experience) about how to declutter.

I love looking at the before and after side by side.




  1. 1

    Great job! I think your mystery item is one of those elastic bands used around the trash can to keep the trash bag in place. We had them for our old can because the bag was always falling in!

  2. 2

    Way to Go Nony!! You have come SO far since the start of this process! I remember being so addicted to your blog that I read it from the very first post to the very last, in two days! When I SO had things that needed to be done, needed attention way more, but I couldn't help it, your blog posts are addicting! Anyhow, just wanted to say congratulations!! :0) I am now starting my Project 2011 Organization on my blog! You should check it out!
    Although, I only introduced it so far lol I was supposed to have one thing done today, however its gonna take just a couple more days, cause like you I procrastinate! lol

  3. 3
    Anonymous says:

    All I can say is you are not alone … I can so relate. Never used to but life happened with children and the old me would not get along with this me. I'm a "Type A Wannabe." … A- would suffice for me right now. Thanks for opening your heart and your home and making me feel a bit "normal."

  4. 4
    Rebecca Bany says:

    I started organizing my laundry room today! Hope I have as much luck with mine!

  5. 5

    "At that point, the familiar overwhelming panic started to rise in my chest. It's just so much (cr)stuff."

    This statement sums up how I have felt oh so many times. Sometimes serveral times a day.

  6. 6
    goodenoughmommy says:

    I check your blog every single day (as early in the day as possible) because of posts like this. I love it. It makes me feel so much more normal and not alone. The pictures alone are worth the price of admission. Thank you for sharing your struggle. Please know you are not alone and are truly an inspiration.

  7. 7

    I agree with Meggin. I think the mystery item is a wastebasket/trashcan band…used for the exact purpose she mentioned. Good luck on kicking procrastination to the curb and getting your laundry room straight. Wanna come do mine?

  8. 8
    Nony the Slob says:

    Thanks for all of the encouragement!

    It makes sense that that is what it is, but I do NOT remember having one of those . . . ever.

    Maybe it was an impulse buy that was going to solve all of my problems. Or maybe my mother bought it for us to solve all of my problems . . .

    • 9

      Question…I find it’s a constant battle. I think I married a hoarder. I’ll declutter only for him to turn around and fill cabinets/drawers right back up. I find myself literally decluttering kitchen then bathroom almost every month. Is this normal for everyone or just me?

      • 10

        I think it’s somewhat normal. What is he putting back into these things?

        • 11

          Well he uses the kitchen cabinets as his personal medicine cabinet. So his Echinesia that he takes whenever we’re sick so he doesn’t get it, ibuprofen, anti-naseau, and the list goes on. Then any paycheck stubs, phone #’s he’s collected, medical bills ( where he was in the hospital before thanksgiving) , pocket knives….he’s a hoarder I tell ya.LOL
          That’s just the one cabinet that’s suposed to be for plates, bowls. He also has started collecting milk jugs, old 2liter bottles, and soda cans.He plans to reuse these so he washes the plastic and leaves sitting on my counters; the cans he says he’s going to try to sell to one of those places so they get put in plastic shopping bags hanging on windows or door frames.
          Unfortuneatly my kitchens small so I don’t have alot of room for nice bins, and I have a 1 and 1/2 yr old that thinks she’s a goat.

  9. 13

    Good job! It looks great!! I need to do a little scrubbing in my laundry room too 🙂

  10. 14


    Just an idea…. I hung my dryer rack just behind and above my dryer. That way it is always reachable, but out of the way.

    Good Luck

  11. 15
    Nony the Slob says:

    That's a good idea. It would just need two big nails to hang it on. And I do have the wall space back there.


  12. 16

    That was sooo funny! (as usual!)
    Great job!

  13. 17

    My husband asked me yesterday what type of special cleaner we needed to get all that mould and gunk off the washing machine and I informed that the product was called "time and desire" both of which I do not own…

  14. 18
    Nony the Slob says:

    Ha ha Crystal!

  15. 19
    Tara @ Feels Like Home says:

    Oh, honey. My laundry room looks about like that, but it's 3 times bigger, and the pile is 3 times bigger, too. Plus there's a half bath in there to muddle things. I've been inspired by one of those Peter Walsh shows (on OWN) to get rid half of the stuff in my house. It's going to be a big job because I have A LOT of stuff. An awful lot.

    And I can not imagine what is under the piles of stuff in my laundry room. You are a brave woman for posting those photos. I'm not sure if you'll ever see mine. Thank you for being so real.

  16. 20
    Nony the Slob says:

    If mine was three times bigger, it would definitely have had three times more in it!

  17. 21
    Anonymous says:

    Hi Nony – I found your blog about a year ago and I LOVE reading it!!! Have you considered writing a book? The way you articulate the slob experience is so clear.

    I cheer on all of your success, but am heartened when you share that things are still not perfect. It is much more motivating than someone who is a "fully-recovered" slob. You have a lot of courage and a generous heart to share your journey!!



  18. 22
    Nony the Slob says:

    Write a book? Who me?

    I'd love to someday, of course!

    Thanks for commenting. While I know there are probably people who are disappointed to see that my laundry room didn't stay in order after the last time I cleaned it out, it's so important to me to make this blog all about honesty. This process isn't easy, and is far from instantaneous, but it IS possible!

    • 23

      I LOVE the honesty and the fact that you cheer us on by showing your real photos and the fact that your house isn’t perfect.

      • 24

        Oh, and I wish I had enough space between my washing and dryer for that cart you have. It looks great!

  19. 25

    I have a thing like that that goes around my crockpot to hold the lid on for travel…

  20. 26

    I was going to say what Katie R said–crockpot lid holder! I forgot what mine was for, too. 🙂

  21. 27

    Again, you are so characteristically funny!
    Can I say that I love how NORMAL your home is? It's not ultra-fancy or over-the-top organized with expensive modular units and such. It's just a normal house with normal messes. Love your blog!

  22. 28
    Sandy Jenney - Organize with Sandy says:

    I was cracking up reading this. You did a great job! I love how you tackeled it. Just a little bit at a time. I have no idea what that elastic band is for..
    Thank you for linking this up to my link party! Please stop back by again!!

  23. 29

    I just found your blog recently and I love it!! It truly makes me feel like I am not alone!! I procrastinate, I start a project and then get side tracked or overwhelmed!! I just recently cleaned out my laundry room and now I don't dread going in there as much! Thanks for being so honest!! It is truly appreciated!

  24. 30

    Looking for tips on laundry organization, so I thought I’d pop on by your site. Your laundry room looks so great- mine on the other hand is lookin’ pretty gross right now. I usually rush down, throw a load in and rush out so I don’t have to look at the mess! Ugg.

    The Messy Nest

  25. 31

    I love this! I just saw your photos on Pinterest and decided to stop in for a visit. I am trying to figure out ways that I might convert our current laundry closet that is inconveniently, in my opinion, located in the hallway between the kitchen and dining room….exactly where I think a posh little butler’s pantry should be! I have an 11′ x 13′ dressing room right off of our master bedroom that could easily accommodate a stackable washer & dryer OR I’d like to rip out the Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom on the basement level of our home and create a closeted laundry space there. (NO ONE ever takes a bath down there!!! It was there when we bought the house.) Anyhooooooooo… the meantime, I have gained inspiration for improving upon the space in which I currently do laundry. It is obvious you put a lot of work into this. Congratulations!!!

  26. 32
    Christine says:

    Where did you get that thing that you have your detergent on in between the washer and dryer? I am looking for one!

  27. 34

    I just came across your blog and I love it, I can so relate! I’m going back through and reading… I love this! Did you realize your cupboard doors are hanging open on the after pic? 😉 haha, that made me smile, because you said something about that in another post! Keep up the good work!

  28. 36

    Love your article. I always have mystery items…that I save, you know, just in case. You posted this a long time ago, but…I think your mystery item is a skipping rope, double dutch it might be called. You don’t remember it because it wasn’t yours. That’s my two bits anyways.

    Keep up the great sharing 🙂

  29. 37

    One of my October decluttering projects is my laundry room. My DH was so thoughtful when he put a large table across from my washer and dryer to fold clothes on. BUT, it grew into a gathering space for a snack basket, items I want to keep but can’t use yet, cans of food from the warehouse stores, and beans, beans, beans (bags!!!). I also have two of those rolling two or three tiered organizers. I’ve got my work cut out for me. I keep telling myself – do the easy stuff first, so I guess it’s going to be the table. Ugh! Once it’s clean – by golly it’s going to stay that way!

  30. 38

    Wow, this subject has generated a lot of comments – I like that I am not alone with problems in the Laundry Room. Nony you have motivated me to get rid of my three bin sorting cart on wheels, because I also have moved to a laundry basket in the bedroom closet. Great job on your laundry room. I love your blog.

    • 39
      Colleen P says:

      I just got a 3 bin sorting cart on wheels and it works SO well for me, far better than baskets did! But-each house and household has its own individual solution that works, we just have to find it. I did have a laundry basket in the closet but it always seemed to spit things back out into dark corners and I’d have to go crawling in after them, and I’m a bit too old and arthritic for that! 🙂

  31. 40

    Love it! The ponytail thing might be the rubber band that holds the crockpot lid in place. I used to have one like that.

  32. 41
    Robyn Gaffel says:

    Your cuoboard door is still open in the after pic! Yes, I read that blog and relate.
    Job well done. I also change things like laundry depository placement to work for what is happening. But the baskets still need to make their way to the laundry. I collect in a large basket from each place. Just easier that way.

  33. 42
    imanurseontheside says:

    Just surfing the web for some inspiration – I’ve read a few of your posts this morning and think I’ve found the motivation I need

    BTW your large white ‘pony tail-like thing’ is, I’m pretty sure, one of those elastic bands that help keep a crockpot lid in place when transporting it places 🙂

  34. 43

    You are so awesome!! I now feel like I am not the only one that has these issues to tackle. I try to do a room a day; however I have to back track behind my daughter picking her stuff up. And nothing EVER stays in the appropriate places after I have cleaned so double duty calls.

    My one problem I cant change, even after 16 yrs of marriage, is my husband is go of his old tshirts and jeans or anything. He has shirts 20 yrs or older in our closet and more in furniture in our basement. I have tried getting rid of things when he is not home, but I don’t know how he knows something is missing but he does. What do you suggest on that problem

  35. 45
    Bernadette says:

    I know that this blog post is about 4 years old, but thank goodness I was still able to read it! The thing that is great about your blog and your before and after pictures, is NOT that I look at it and think, “there is someone who is worse than me”. It is that I look at it and think, “that IS me! That is exactly what I am dealing with day after day in my struggle to organize”. And you make realistic AFTER photos….realistic in that I don’t have to hire an organization expert to set up an expensive system, or find expensive organizing tools, baskets, shelves, etc. You use what you have, you get rid of what you don’t need, you tuck things in the corner when you don’t know what to do with it, lol. It gives me hope that I too, will be able to overcome the disorganization that is my life! (It took a LOT of procrastination but I finally set up a tickler file system. I don’t know what took me so long, hahaha). Thanks, Dana! I hope you know how important your vision and insight are to the other “slobs” in the world.

  36. 47
    Heather Shields says:

    Your mystery item reminds me of the band used to hold my crockpot lid on. Could that be it?

  37. 48
    Rebecca Sanchez says:

    I am going to tackle my laundry room today! Thank you for the inspiration!

    And if that is a garbage can bag holder, I need one! If you ever remember where you got it please let me know!

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