Our landing has been a huge source of stress since day one. At the very top of our stairs is the laundry closet. Not laundry room, no, a closet. Which is fine, seriously, I’m thankful for a washer and dryer, but it’s such an eye sore and it’s at the worst spot ever. Our landing segweys into our bedrooms, so we climb over laundry on a daily basis to get up and down the stairs, and into our bedroom’s.
(Note: Some of the “before” photos were taken in the midst of my painting)
The whole landing to me feels like un-used real estate. Like what is it’s purpose? I can’t wrap my head around a space that has no purpose. My mind always goes to, “How can I be using this space to make my life easier, my family’s life easier, or at the very least can it just be pleasing to look at?”
The entire landing space clearly was not working for us. It was full of junk, a few toys, and baby stuff we no longer use. We continued to climb over and live in it. There was even trash too. Not the dirty kind, the clean kind. Yes, clean trash. Okay lying, there may have been like one pee diaper that has been in that big box above for a while, but I promise no poopy ones.
Life becomes busy, in so many great ways, but then you (me) wake up one day months and years later and think “OH MY GOSH I’M A FILTHY IRRESPONSIBLE UN-CLEAN AND UN-KEPT ADULT!”
You can see a peek into the boys bathroom in the picture below, makeover happening in there soon, so stay tuned!
Yep. That’s real life for you guys. And this is on a good laundry day.
Our current laundry system:
Step 1: I have a hamper, and wash/dry my laundry
Step 2: Mike has his hamper, and washes/dries his laundry
Step 3: The boys have a shared hamper in the bathroom, whoever feels like it at the time washes/dries it. Typically we toss it in with one of our loads, or with towels.
Step 4: Once laundry is washed, and out of the dryer, I sit on the floor and sort the laundry into categories. Max’s clothes, Ari’s clothes, Mike’s clothes, my clothes. Or Mike does this. Whoever. Usually the person not giving the kids the bath.
Step 5: Then said categorized piles stay in piles on the landing floor because we get distracted, and then we all walk over them and either use those clothes, or they stay too long and are deemed dirty again.
Step 6: Mike takes his clothes from the categorized piles and places it in the corner of our bedroom into his large unfolded laundry pile. Which he will typically decide to fold when we are five minutes late to somewhere already. Hey, I’m not judging, I’m just stating facts here.
Step 7: I take my pile of clothes and put it in my our closet and convince myself I’ll do it after the kids go to bed.
Step 8: I DO put clothes directly into our boys Monday-Friday bins (A system that makes mornings so much easier) in their bathroom right away, but any other remaining clothes usually sit for days on the floor.
Step 9: In all of this chaos, I love folding towels. So those get done right away. If someone else folds the towels, it hurts me, like how could they steal my joy like that? Oh but then I shove them into a cheap-o tiny shelf all ugly.
Step 8: Repeat cycle.
I wish we had a better system. I wish we could plan a laundry day and time, and designate responsibilities and deadlines. It gives me casual anxiety that we don’t. OR, I wish we had a laundry ROOM, so we can shut the door and sweep our problems under the rug.
Quick disclaimer, there is only a tiny tiny window that provides natural light to this space, and when I took these photos it was gloomy and raining. Also, the light in the laundry closet is yellow, not white, I wish I would have changed bulbs before taking photos. So, this is the best I could do to show you the space.
I first came up with a list of functional needs that needed to be met with this makeover.
I wanted the space to feel custom, clean, simple, organized, orderly, easy on the eyes, bright, airy, and layered with textured whites and neutrals.
I used Benjamin Moore, “Simply White”for the inside of the laundry closet. I debated with myself for hours on whether or not to buy cheapo white paint, and ultimately and thankfully I went with the high end stuff.
In our living room I used cheap Glidden paint from home depot, and truly regret it. It photographs well, yes, but I notice flaws when living in it.
Even little ole laundry closets need to feel the design love too. I feel so much better about it. I have tons left, so I’ll be using that on a few odds and ends around my house.
I planned the depth and layout of my shelves according to this cabinet I bought for $10 at Habitat ReStore, it came white, and it was super sturdy and legit. Marble knobs from Target. I planned the height of the cleaning cabinet based on what I could reach best.
Fitting four baskets on one shelf was a must have for me, but finding the right basket that was inexpensive and still special enough was a bit of a hunt.
These are not our only laundry baskets, but when sorting, it’s important for me that they are accessible at all times.
I like the one I chose, it was at a good price point, textured white like I wanted, and was the perfect height to fit on the shelf while leaving enough room for my hand to toss in clothes.
I knew I wanted each basket to be permanently designated to a family member. I first thought having a pom pom for each basket. But I didn’t love the color choices Target had for Pom Poms, and even then, we would have to remember who belongs to which color.
I passed these wooden knobs for less than four bucks above at target (hey, you can see my Pom Pom’s I almost bought!), and instantly thought they would be perfect for customizing. In the picture you see a price tag for a fancier knob set.
Each one was painted a different color and a name was added.
The tray on top of the dryer is a catch all space. The basket is for trash and lint, and the flat wicker circle is for change and odds and ends I find. I love that the dark brown leather handle ties into the wood stair railing and mirror I’ll show you soon.
To add a special touch to the inside of the closet, and add visual height in an otherwise white space, I added a frame and hat. The framed art is a piece made by Ari at his school last year, I love it so so much. I’m so happy I finally found the perfect place for it. The hat was just over a dollar at Goodwill, the color and texture speaks to other elements in the space, and it gives some dimension to a flat wall.
The artwork below is a print by artist Charles Wysocki, and I had to do some research to figure that out. I shared that whole thing on instagram. It’s not a print that’s worth anything, no signature only a copied signature. I found this at the Goodwill for $4.99, and as soon as I saw it I fell in love. It is extremely well framed, sturdy, hand cut doubled matte board, and a closed finished backing, plus a heavy duty hook.
I like it’s quirk. I like the animals. I like the symmetry.
The walls outside of the laundry closet were painted using a can of paint I’ve had for years. A couple of years ago I went into Porter paint to check for oops paint, they had their highest end line in a light gray, so I bought it. “Gray Marble”. It does look lavender in the evening light, which whatever, it doesn’t bother me too much.
I did originally want to purchase a wall laundry drying rack, but they were between $40-$100, and I couldn’t do that right now. I may down the line when I grow up and start air drying all my clothes. I used this white hook line from Home Goods, it’s really all we need.
The angled nook between Max and Ari’s room was a bit of a mind boggle. I knew I wanted to utilize the space, but didn’t quite know how. Built in lower shelving was my original goal. I was close to having Mike build built in’s, and in fact all was measured and sketched and ready to go, until he went to the garage to find he had let a friend borrow his saw. Day ruined.
So, I went with plan B, a vintage mirror I found for $4.99 at Goodwill + a $15 Cabinet I found at Habitat ReStore.
So, I bought the cabinet (that you see above), it was sticky and smelled weird, but that was pretty normal since it was from the ReStore, so I didn’t think much of it. I took it home, my sister helped me carry it upstairs, and we sat it down for like two seconds before pushing it into the nook. When I lifted it up, there was a big nasty stain that literally smelled like fish.
I almost cried.
See for yourself:
But I began to feel like the cabinet was too cabinet-y, and needed something else. So super last minute I found these curtain rod finials and habitat ReStore, and thought they would make perfect faux legs. I say faux, because really the cabinet is attached to the wall, so it’s purely decorative they add no true support.
Just needed some paint, again I used “Simply White” by Benjamin Moore.
The cabinet was white-ish, but a fresh coat of “Simply White” was needed, especially on the sides. I did a loose quick coat.
The mirror adds interest and helps bounce natural light around, while the shelf is used to store our sheets and blankets. So no it’s not “custom” in that shelves were built specifically for that space, but hey, this little set up isn’t bothering me one bit.
I’ve deep cleaned my heart out. I’ve scrubbed, bleached, oxy-cleaned, and washed. Then I did the same thing to the actual cabinet. Times a million. Trust me, this shelf space is now fresh and ready to store our stuff. Our carpet is now super clean too.
In the image below you can kind of see the laundry closet.
A special shout out to my friend’s husband, Matt. He installed all the shelving and cabinets. He also made my planter boxes for my porch one time. If you are local and want his contact info, please let me know.
My original sketch below, a few things changed, but starting with a sketch and lists sue do make projects a lot easier to manage and implement.
So tell me, how do you laundry at your house? If you liked this post, you may like my other design posts. My home page is a good place to start.
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P.S. I’m working on something really cool for you guys. I’m working on a FREE monthly art/book activity for you to use at home with your little’s. I’m so excited. Signing up using the link above will get you on that free list when it’s ready.
I asked my “Modern Homemaking with Dahl House” Facebook group to share some pics of their laundry spaces, go check those out here.