Small space, lots of crap
February 20, 2018 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Can you suggest any better way to organize this small laundry room? We have a small house with little storage and need to put all the cleaning supplies/laundry supplies/reusable grocery bags somewhere. Are there pull-out shelves or something else innovative that people who live in tiny apartments know about?
posted by latkes to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you can finagle 14" of space in there you can use one of these types of metal shelving units on wheels, with some s-hooks on the end to hang your brooms and bags and so on from.
posted by drlith at 8:20 PM on February 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

I was going to suggest something similar to drlith, except a custom built wooden shelves mounted on tracks attached to the side wall. It would give you a solid wall in the front to mount your brooms.
Also, I assume those units have a pedestal that fits underneath, but the combined weight of the two units would be too much for it. It may be possible to fit a pedestal between the two units for detergent, softener, etc... but good luck lifting the top one into that.
posted by Short End Of A Wishbone at 8:33 PM on February 20, 2018

Yeah there are a million solutions. It looks like the main thing is you're losing a ton of vertical space on the left because of the various horizontal racks and shelves. If you tore all that out and replaced it with a tall narrow shelving unit you could likely fit a lot of that stuff in the shelf cubbies. Add to that a super narrow cart that could go in the space to the right and there's a lot of new space. You also have the option of putting a shelf all the way across at the top of the laundry units to put less-often-used things, like the "clean rags," but you've have a lot more space for those kinds of things, and things wouldn't fall of it onto your head. You could mount that fire extinguisher somewhere else in a proper bracket - with the double advantage that if you ever actually need to use it, you won't need to climb into the niche and knock down several bottles and a bin to get to it.

The main thing to do is pull everything out, look at it, and design your storage solutions around the things you actually need to have close at hand for doing laundry. The cutest storage solution in the world isn't helpful if it doesn't accommodate the stuff you uniquely need to store there.

Some useful items:
Sliding narrow storage rack
Tall narrow shelf like the one in the middle of this pinned pic
Tall narrow linen cabinet
Slim storage cart

The other thing to do is to look at every single thing and ask "does this need to be in the laundry room?" The reusable grocery bags, for instance, don't necessarily need to live there. They fold, so they can go into a drawer somewhere, or into a kitchen cabinet, or coat closet. They definitely do not deserve the abundance of space they are getting here now. The rack for the brooms and mops is handy but depending on your final design, you might be able to actually push that farther back into the niche if you have a pull-out cart in front of it. Also, what's going on to the right of the picture? IS that a wall surface the broom rack could go onto instead of where it is?

Loads of ideas out there - just google "organize small laundry room" and start saving photos you like.
posted by Miko at 8:36 PM on February 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

It may be possible to fit a pedestal between the two units for detergent, softener, etc... but good luck lifting the top one into that.

This occurred to me too. Another potential solution though is building a heavy, well-bracketed shelf all the way across to hold the top unit. That would also add another surface, but reduce the vertical space accessible.
posted by Miko at 8:37 PM on February 20, 2018

Oh god I just noticed the annoying position of your vent hose. Can you do anything about that? That is limiting your options a lot too.
posted by Miko at 8:39 PM on February 20, 2018

A few spring-loaded curtain rods across the window on the right with s-hooks can hang baskets and bags for storage of lots of small things. Get narrow containers to sit on the sill, too. If you can actually get in there you could screw shelf supports directly into the window frame, since obviously you're not using it to look out of.

One thing I've seen done that might work for you or might be a disaster is keeping a bucket with cleaning supplies inside one machine and a big bag with your reusable bags inside it in the other machine. Obviously the danger here is forgetting to take this stuff out when doing laundry, or if you're a household that is constantly doing laundry then both groups of things won't actually have homes. But if you can manage it, using the inside of the machines as storage can free up a ton of space.
posted by Mizu at 8:46 PM on February 20, 2018

Here are some nice-looking, reasonably priced, pull-out shelves in a variety of dimensions.
posted by mrmurbles at 8:54 PM on February 20, 2018

Response by poster: Great suggestions so far! Really helpful ideas.

Yes that vent hose is very annoying. I'm not sure how to address. I guess I'd need to make a new hole to the outside for venting and move the whole thing? But that's not a bad idea as the current position is annoying inside and also outside where it vents right onto a stair coming off our small back porch.
posted by latkes at 9:21 PM on February 20, 2018

Some suggestions:

- Mount your dryer and get it right up against the ceiling on the left hand side away from the window. Move the washer as far to the right as possible too.
- Put in a bench above the washer, wall to wall.
- Hang you brooms etc on the back of the door, using the rack you have.
- Put a trolley under the bench to the right of the washer. You might find you have enough depth to put in two. Use the back one for deep storage of things you don't use much.
posted by kjs4 at 9:48 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Refer to the user manual for vent hose specifics as far as lengths and bends and ... details.

Fold the reusable bags so they fit into one bag or into a box. Or better yet, keep most of them in the transportation used to bring things home. Keep one or two bags by the door for when you need to take things places. If the bags have to stay in this area (I’m thinking bikes and subways), you might hang them on the window side. Maybe with some command hooks or magnet hooks depending on what your machine cases are made of. Shallow shelves across the windows could also work with cup hooks on the undersides for bags. Maybe put a potted plant or two in the window to green up the space.

However you end up storing the big container of laundry soap, do it at waist height or higher so you don’t have to keep lifting it. Sure, the lifting is good for you if done properly, but the one time you drop it, you’ll be a sad panda.

The clean rags can go live in the places that get cleaned with them. A few in the bathroom, some in the kitchen, etc. You’re probably more likely to clean if you don’t have to leave the room to find a rag, and a fresh spill is nearly always easier to clean than one that’s set. If they need to stay in this area, maybe something like an ikea raskog shelf with boxes for rags (storing them folded will save room), a shelf for the spray bottles. You could make or find some kind of insert for the laundry soap on the top shelf of a raskog.

That giant dust pan takes enough space that it’s likely to be fine on the floor since it juts into the air an awkward distance. Do you love it or would one without a long handle work well for your family? Smaller is easier to store, so I would vote for replacing it. If you keep it, move the broom holder higher so that the bottom of the dustpan well clears the top of the new raskog. Of course, measure your space and check Ikea’s website before you go there.
posted by bilabial at 10:13 PM on February 20, 2018

Build a step on the left side above the vent to mount the washer and dryer. Make sure you include a clean out for the vent. This frees the right side to build some type of sliding rack/drawer system next to the window. The brooms, pans, etc, should be mounted upside down on the left wall so they don’t obstruct anything.
posted by ihadapony at 10:32 PM on February 20, 2018

We have a very similar room, and had some metal tubing shelving screwed to the wall next to the units - the disadvantage of that was that when we had the repair guy in to look at the dryer, the shelving had to come down (and we still haven't put it back up). So, watch out for that.

Our solution now is to not keep much stuff in there, and mainly keep it in baskets on the floor or on hooks on the wall.
posted by altolinguistic at 1:54 AM on February 21, 2018

I would also suggest a door-mount rack for your mops and brooms, so you gain shelving space along that wall as well.
posted by Mchelly at 5:39 AM on February 21, 2018

Just realized I misunderstood the orientation of the door in question, so that may not work for you after all.
posted by Mchelly at 5:42 AM on February 21, 2018

We had a 12" wide niche in our laundry room and found an IKEA 11.75" wide and 15" deep bathroom cabinet we were able to shove in there to hold a lot of laundry doodads.
posted by telophase at 10:50 AM on February 21, 2018

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