julie laundry room finishedThis is the finished laundry room of my bestie Julie.  Back in early spring, we set our calendars for me to drive down to Austin to help her with the “Great Laundry Room Cleanout of 2016.”  It was about a 4-day project starting with this…

julie laundry room pile of stuffDon’t judge.  We all have spaces like this in our homes.  A room we just keep piling things to get to someday (garages count, too).  Before you know it, the pile has grown so much the thought of trying to find a home for everything is overwhelming.  Then, you do nothing because it’s paralyzing on where to start first.  Projects like this require assistance. And, I love to organize!

There a few things Julie wanted to address about the room that weren’t working for her.  First, those hooks on the wall became a negative because it allowed for clutter to build up.  All the spaces were filled to the brim with linens, towels and items that belonged in other parts of the house. The table, that was supposed to be used just for folding clothes right out of the dryer, became a catch all.julie laundry room before clean out - Copy


Before you can use a space efficiently, you have to define how you are going to use it.  I suggested Julie create a Laundry Room Pinterest board and pin photos of how she wanted the space to feel and look — even down to paint colors.  She wanted it to be pretty, functional, clean and clutter free.  She’s lucky because working in her favor was the size of the laundry room and lots of storage cabinets (I have envy here, because my laundry room is the size of a closet).

This rack of clothes was a problem, too.  Set up to be just a holding area until clean clothes could be put away, it turned into a closet.  She fixed that by purging her closet and found a home for the rack of clothes in the laundry room.  Even though Julie is the one to use this room the most, I asked her husband and son what they wanted us to accomplish with this re-do and they both echoed Julie’s goals — a clean, clutter free space to do laundry.

julie laundry room clothes rack - Copy


We started early the first day by clearing EVERYTHING out of the room.  I mean all of it.  Not a shelf or cabinet had an item left.

julie laundry room empty large cabinetjulie laundry room empty small cabinets

It was obvious to her, as we cleaned out, what could go immediately into the trash, for donation or re-sale.  The items for donation went straight to the van for delivery later that day.  Julie set up card tables in the living room for all the items we needed to sort according to their category.

julie laundry room living room piles

Completely emptying a space allows you to see a blank canvas, inventory your items, and decide the best way to use them in the “new space.”  For example, we realized that cleaning supplies were better relocated to her kitchen utility closet because that’s the space in the house where she starts and finishes her housekeeping, not in the laundry room.  It was important to Julie to keep the laundry room just for as it was intended, laundry and storage of bed and table linens, towels, pool and swimming supplies, blankets and laundry supplies.

Once the room was cleared out, she decided what needed to return to the space, and how many of each item she really needed.  We all have things we like to collect…Julie’s thing is to have a nice assortment of bed linens. When you are helping someone clean out their stuff, try to be respectful of what’s important to them, but also guide them to see realistically what could stay or should go.

Once we determined what was going back in, we shopped for a few containers to store her items to keep them visually separated.  We gave the room a good cleaning and went to Sherwin-Williams to select her paint.  We used this lovely piece of pottery as her inspiration for the colors she wanted to use in her laundry room…

pottery inspiration

We painted all but one wall Special Gray SW 6277, and one feature wall Emberglow SW 6627.  It gave the room the perfect pop of color.

paint colors

Julie selected shelves from the Threshhold selection at Target.  A few of the decorative accents were from Target, but we also shopped her house for items, too.  The school house clock is from Target and it makes the space!  It’s the perfect size to fill the spot above her mason jars filled with laundry pods.  The cool phone she found on Amazon because the 80’s called and wanted the other phone back (see below).

julie laundry room with clock

julie laundry room finished

The blue drop leaf table came from her husband’s grandmother and it was important to them that it return to the room.  But, they are keeping it cleared off and flipping it out to fold clothes.  We love the blue color.  The mid-century modern mirror came from her Aunt and helps to conceal the circuit panel.  Plus, I think every room needs a good mirror to reflect light.

julie laundry room with rug

We repeated the blue color with an indoor/outdoor rug from Target.  A vintage fan sits in the window for days when the room gets warm.  You can see the inspiration pottery sitting on the shelf above the washer and dryer.

julie laundry room with sink

Here’s the pop of orange at her sink area.  That beautiful piece of art belonged to her mother-in-law and has all the colors Julie loved.

julie laundry room with button lamp

This little lamp is one of my favorite pieces.  We found it at Target and filled it with Julie’s mother’s vintage button collection.  Julie has memories of looking through the buttons growing up and it’s a sweet reminder of her Mother every time she turns on the lamp.

linen shelf

This is a perfect photo of how we replaced everything back on the shelves tucked away in labeled wire baskets.  All her blankets rolled on the bottom shelf.  Baskets for swim suits for the lady and men of the house. Bed linens in their own baskets according to size.  Extra pillows for guests. Pool towels.  On the top shelf are flannel sheets for the winter, picnic blankets and extra linens for the futon.  Notice how we kept three shelves empty?  You always want to keep any space 2/3 full when you clean it out, a trick I learned from my own organizing guru — Elizabeth Jones from Nest and Transformation.  The little laundry cart came from her friend Kristi and is perfect to house Julie’s ironing supplies and, since it’s on wheels, it can travel around the house when needed.

julie laundry room with shelf decor

One last photo from her wall decor — a mason jar filled with clothespins, small bowls for loose items, a beautiful piece of pottery that repeats the blue and orange Julie loves, a vase of flowers and a sculpture that belonged to her mother-in-law.  The empty space is a treasure coming soon — a newly framed vintage art piece with all the inspiration colors.  Tip:  To determine shelf placement, cut strips of brown wrapping paper the size of the shelf and stick to the wall with painter’s tape before you commit to drilling holes.

I am really, really proud of Julie and how hard she worked on this project. She embraced the need to part with things that weren’t working in the room and re-invent her items to reflect a fresh, new perspective.  I’ve heard positive feedback from the entire household that the laundry room is one of their favorite spaces in the house!  The best part, we rewarded ourselves with cake…

congratulations cake