Doing the laundry may not be anyone's favourite chore, but a smart layout, good storage and the right appliances can help make it significantly more efficient and even enjoyable.
Plan it out
The first step is to assess whether your current layout is working as well as it could. If not, consider shifting things around. Ask yourself; Do you have easy access to the washing machine and dryer? Enough cupboards, shelves and bench space? Can you reach the sink without stepping over items such as the airer? Would it make sense to wall-mount the dryer and ironing board in order to free up some floor space?
Make it simple
You’ll save time and hassle by positioning everything close to where you use it, and creating an easy-to-use system that allows everyone in your home to pitch in with laundry duties.
Pre-sorting zone: Position a three-bin sorter near the washing machine for lights, darks and delicates so that everyone can pre-sort their own laundry.
Folding zone: Set aside space on the laundry bench top for folding. If space is tight, consider a bench that flips down from the wall. Make sure it’s at the right height so that you don’t strain your back, and at a safe distance from low-hanging shelves so you don’t bump your head.
Distribution zone: Built-in shelves or drawers, or even a drawer caddy on castors, will serve as a handy distribution zone for clean, folded clothes and allow every member of the household to locate and put their own things away.
Choose suitable finishes
Tough, water-resistant finishes are a must in laundries. Think wipeable paint for walls; a hardy, low maintenance flooring material such as tiles or laminate; stain-resistant bench top finishes and moisture-resistant blinds.
Upgrade your appliances
If you’ve had your washing machine and dryer for a while, it may be worth checking out how well they score on the energy efficiency front, and whether they provide all the functions you need.
You can assess the energy efficiency of a washing machine or dryer by reading the Energy Rating Label. The rating goes from one to six stars – the more stars, the more energy efficient the machine. Washing machines also come labeled with a WELS rating (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) label, which again ranges from one to six stars to indicate how water efficient the model is.
If you’re watching your power consumption, it’s also worth seeking out a washer and dryer that have delay-start functions so you can run the machine during off-peak electricity times.
When it comes to washing machines, choose between a front and top loader. Front loaders use less water than top loaders, and can be stacked with a dryer on top, which can save precious floor space in a small laundry. Top loaders tend to take bigger loads - a bonus for large families - and they allow you to add items after the cycle has started.
The latest washing machines boast a raft of clever time and energy-saving features, including automatic load sensing, so the machine automatically sets the cycle and amount of detergent needed; speedy 15-minute ‘refresh’ cycles for lightly soiled clothes; and some models boast oversized doors so you can load bulky items such as duvets and coats with ease.
Dryers also offer impressive features to save you time and hassle, including cycles for delicates, airing and a quick clothes refresh. Many of today’s models feature an auto sensing function that means the machine automatically turns off when your clothes are dry, which can prevent costly over-drying.
The finishing touches
Adding a few pretty, decorative touches to your laundry will make spending time there an altogether more pleasant experience. Decant laundry powder and pegs into attractive canisters, splash out on a patterned ironing board cover, and consider laying a sturdy, washable rug on the floor.
Take a look at our Dream laundries & storage solutions Pinterest board to get more ideas on how to best makeover and organise your laundry.
Georgia Madden is a freelance interiors journalist and writer. She is a regular contributor to House & Garden magazine and a number of interiors websites. Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum is her debut novel.
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