November 12, 2009

Seasonal Cleaning: Laundry Room

The laundry room can be a challenge. Some of you might not have a laundry room at all. At our old house we had a laundry area in the unfinished basement, but I still tried to keep it tidy. I didn't really have walls to dust, but I'd still get the cobwebs and complete the rest of what is included in the checklist below at least yearly. Personally, I spend a lot of time doing laundry, so it's nice to have a tidy area to work in! Even if your laundry area is in part of storage area, garage, or basement you can still give it a good cleaning once or twice a year and keep it neat.
How it should look!

How it usually looks!
At least those clothes are clean!

1. The first step is to get the clean laundry put away. I need to work on this. I get the laundry done, but I am really bad about putting it away. Our goal right now is to clean the actual room so the first thing you want to do is get the clean clothes out of the area so they don't get dirty while you clean.

2. Dust the walls and ceiling. Wipe down any decorations. Wipe any vents or fans. Wash any rugs and curtains. Lint gets all over in a laundry room. (If your laundry room is in a bathroom follow the bathroom cleaning checklist.)

3. If you haven't already, clear the tops of the washer and dryer. Wipe down all sides of the washer and dryer. They get dusty! You may also want to wipe out the inside of your dryer, especially around the door area where lint can build up.

4. Clean any counter tops and wipe out the sink, if you have one.

5. Wipe down the outside of cabinet doors and drawers. Empty each cabinet and drawer, wipe down shelves and replace like items together. If you store cleaning supplies in the laundry room, safely dispose of any that are really old or stuff you know you'll never use before returning them to their spot. If you need to dispose of household chemicals, you might want to find out about proper disposal. In our county you can take chemicals to a county facility where you leave what you can't use and others can take it if they need it. And it's free! (A great way to get a little bit of paint for small projects by the way!)

6. Organize what's left. Place it on shelves or in cabinets. Use bins or storage containers for items you use most often. If your laundry room doubles as another room it can be a challenge to get it organized. Sometimes laundry rooms are the back entry or part of the basement or even in a bathroom. Our laundry also happens to be a half bath. Try and keep like items together. Cleaning supplies in one cabinet, laundry supplies in another. Some other things I keep in the laundry room include: batteries (regular and rechargeable), light bulbs, shoe polishing supplies, and bug spray.

7. You might want to take the time to clean our your dryer vent. Not just the trap in the dryer but the actual vent that goes to the outside. If you get a lot of lint built up in there it can be a fire hazard.

8. Clean any mirrors or windows.

9. Sweep and scrub the floor. If you are really motivated (I wasn't this time) pull out the washer and dryer to clean behind them and look for any lonely socks that may have dropped back there when you weren't looking! If you haven't moved your dryer in years it would be a good idea to do this, like I mentioned before, lint can be a fire hazard.

Here are some other laundry room tips:
  • Have a designated place for dirty laundry. I highly recommend a 3 bin laundry sorter or two! This is how we store all our dirty laundry. I requested these for Christmas a couple years ago and I can tell you they are worth every penny.
  • Have a designated place for clean laundry. If you are really good... put it away immediately. If you're like me, you'll use a laundry basket and the top of the dryer. Whatever you do don't mix clean and dirty laundry! That just makes more work for you!
  • Have a rod handy to hang clothes on hangers right as they come out of the dryer. I refuse to iron so this is really important for my hubby's wrinkle-free work clothes. This can also be used to hang items to dry when necessary. We just have a rack on wheels that I got at Walmart for under $20. It's held up surprisingly well.
  • Keep a trash can handy. For lint, used dryer sheets, and candy wrapper that you wash.
  • Create zones. A pet supply area, cleaning supplies, laundry stuff, a place for tools, etc. Keep like things together so you can find them and so they are tidy. Baskets and containers are your friends!
  • The junk drawer. Above is our "junk drawer" for lack of a better name. We have a basket for the rechargeable batteries that are "dead" right above a basket of the charged ones. I keep a few screwdrivers in here to open the back of any toys to replace batteries. This is also were we keep tapes of all kinds (electrical, duct, clear package, etc.). I have another drawer between the washer and dryer where I keep the lonely socks that have lost their mate. They keep each other company there until their mate comes along. If you don't have a spare drawer you could use a small basket.
  • Keep a small container for junk. I keep mine right on the counter. If I find coins, rocks, beads, screws, or buttons in a pocket or the washer I toss them in this container. Every couple months I dump out the container and put the stuff back where it belongs. In the meantime if we are missing something small that is where I usually look.
  • Get it out! If you don't use it often, don't keep it in the small amount of space you have in the laundry room. Like I said, I rarely iron so I don't keep the ironing board in the laundry room. There really isn't a good spot for it and I'd rather use the precious space for something else or nothing at all!
  • Go vertical. If you have brooms and mops that you keep in the laundry area get one of these organizers from the home improvement store to hang them on. Then they won't be flopping all over the place and in your way.
A printable laundry room checklist can be found here.

No comments: