You know what’s annoying? Rooms that are an afterthought. And I don’t mean that they’re not pretty, I mean that there was no actual thought put into BUILDING the room. Exhibit A: My laundry room. It’s like they drew up the plans for this house and went, “Oh yeah, we need a laundry room! Let’s stick it in this tiny back corner, and who cares if anything besides the washer and dryer will actually fit in here.”
Anyway, this room, which we’ll call, “Jenn’s deep dark secret and the bane of Chandler’s existence,” has always just sucked.  It’s small, it’s dark, and the space was completely not functional. There’s no room on either side of the washer and dryer, and you can’t put anything on the floor, or the doors to the washer and dryer won’t open. I actually had an apartment with a laundry closet that was more functional than this room. So, it just became the catch-all that I avoided unless I was putting a load of laundry in. I’ve purchased like 700 diferent types of laundry baskets, trying to find something that would work with the cabinets, (either in or under) and not take up the whole counter top so that there was still a place to fold clothes, and none of them ever worked. The cabinets were too shallow to put baskets in and too low for when the laundry piled above the baskets (which is always), or the baskets were too wide or deep and took up too much space on the counter to fit more than one in at a time. Like I said, it was really just a sucky room. 

This is what it looked like, though let me clarify here, the picture on the left (below) was after I had started purging the cabinets, but the state of my laundry room is usually somewhere in between these two pictures, leaning strongly towards the picture on the left.
The cabinets were filled with everything except laundry stuff–mostly paint of various varieties, and basically anything else I was too lazy to put away where it goes. Oh, and it is a laundry room, so of course, there were clothes in various stages of being laundered (but almost never folded)–sometimes the laundry room just doubles as my dresser (don’t judge). Dear Grandma (the most tidy, organized person in the world), I know you read my blog: DON’T THROW UP and/or disown me when you see these pictures!  

Anyway, I finally decided to clean AND purge (thanks 40 Bags in 40 Days), and Chandler left to go somewhere while I was in the process. Given my track record of me completing tasks like this just shy of never, you can imagine his pleasant SHOCK, when he came home and found I had actually cleaned the laundry room, AND gotten rid of stuff (which is almost unheard of). But, just when he thought this finally meant I was going to do some laundry, his joy was short-lived because, as usual, I had dreams and plans. I always have dreams and plans, and this one started something like: 

Me: “If I want to take the cabinets down, are they just screwed in in the back, or would there be screws hidden somewhere?
Him: “What?” Lots of super confused, suspicious eyebrow raising going on.
Me: “I want to take the cabinets in the laundry room down, and I’m more telling you it’s happening than  asking.”
Him: Lots of eye rolling and loud sighing.  “I don’t know.”
Me: “Okay, I’ll figure it out.” By the way, he knew how to take them down (and ended up helping), that’s his way of trying to throw road blocks my way. 

Now, before I get berated about being a rude wife or something, know: A. That’s almost never how things go. Usually I just don’t say anything until after it’s done. (I KID! We usually consult and agree about stuff, but I was set on this). And B. He usually ends up being okay with the end result of my madness, and I was uber confident he’d end up being fine with this. So, down the cabinets came, and when my sister came over later that day and asked what I was doing, Chandler’s response was, “Ruining the laundry room.”  
Well my friends, if this is a ruined laundry room, then I’m going to “ruin” every room in my house! Because I’m in love. (By the way, he doesn’t think I ruined it, he likes it now, “as long as I can keep it clean.”) By just getting rid of the cabinets, the room already felt twice as big.

I painted all of the walls white in an effort to make this windowless, cave of a room, as bright as possible.

Then in place of the cabinets, I hung open shelves (more on that coming later in the week) and baskets for storage. Chandler and I both had some apprehension about removing the cabinets since they were the only “storage” in this room, but once everything had been put in its proper place, it was amazing how little actually belonged in this room. I can store everything this room needs in a few baskets and still have extra room for things like vases, and tablecloths, and even some pictures and other things that make doing laundry a little less dreary. 

I purchased the black woven basket at Ikea and it holds cleaning supplies, fabric softener and my hangers. Somewhere for hangers was a must because clothes usually don’t end up getting hung, because I have to walk all the way to my bedroom to get the hangers. My life is hard, I know.

And remember my laundry basket problem? I was walking through Ikea and found these green laundry bins that were the perfect size, color, and like half the price of any of the other ones I’ve bought ($4.99 each) and I can fit several in here at once for sorting. Picture slow-mo scenes of me running towards green laundry baskets in Ikea. It was fate. The multi-color woven basket is from Target–more slow-motion running through fields here, I’m obessed with this whole line–and is actually just for all of the lint and stuff that used to end up sitting on the counter because a garbage wouldn’t fit on the floor–laziness at its finest my friends. For my laundry detergent, I bought a drink dispenser at Target and added some vinyl to dress it up a little. Since the top shelf is fairly high, it’s storing some of my vases, tablecloths, table runners and other odds and ends. 
Finally, I added some things to make the menial task of laundry just a little happier. Pictures, some of Adelie’s art (the frame was $2.00 at Ikea and spray painted gold) and the “love” is from the same Amy Tangerine scrapbook paper I used in my entryway.
Another one of my favorite prints (and a pretty fitting quote for the laundry room I think) from a favorite shop (no, not mine), another Amy Tangerine “Happy” print, and this cute little elephant garland from World Market.
Whew! Kind of a marathon post for such a small room, I know. But hopefully if you have a sucky laundry room like me, you’re feeling a little less hopeless about it now. Oh, and the laundry ended up finally getting done a week later. By Chandler (which is often the case). But he was totally excited that for a happy new room to do it in [heavy sarcasm inserted].


  1. says

    You made a small space so pretty and functional! I have a very similar laundry situation, only I have a top loader so I’m missing out on that great counter space you have on top! Taking out the cabinets was a great idea!

  2. says

    Looks great Jenn! Our new laundry room is pretty much a closet that fits only the washer/dryer. There isn’t even floor space in front of them!! We’ll definitely be putting up some shelving once we get the walls painted and appliances in. Eventually I want to get front loading machines for the sole purpose of having a counter on top for a work space.

  3. says

    I love it, Jenn! So much prettier and more functional! And I can totally relate to the conversation (or lack there of!) you had with your hubby! LOL! My hubby would wonder what the heck I was up to, too! I’ve learned when my idea seems a little out of his comfort zone to just start it and eventually he’ll hop on board! :)

  4. says

    The story with your husband makes me think of some of the conversations I have with mine, lol. Glad it’s not just me!! Love this little makeover and the green tubs instead of big laundry baskets is such a simple, but smart, change!
    - Lora

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