The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Laundry Room Highs and Lows

It’s week # 9 in Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing challenge. This week the topic is “What is your good enough?” God help us. This is going to be cathartic.

If you are just joining us and want to get caught up on all my previous projects, click here.

Ever since I revamped my laundry system a few weeks ago and stopped sorting laundry, I’ve been itching to organize my awful laundry room. Ultimate goal: for my 11 year old son to start washing his own clothes. But there was no way I wanted him farting around in my messy laundry room, mixing bleach with ammonia, or putting too much soap in the washer like that dumb-ass Bobby Brady.

Look, can I be honest? I frickin’ hate my laundry room. I truly could not hate it more if it were located over an Indian burial ground and haunted by poltergeists. It’s small, dark, cluttered, and worst of all, ordinary. It has no natural light, old nasty linoleum floors, and energy inefficient top loading appliances that were purchased at the end of the last century. And, this room is a passageway between my garage and my kitchen, so I’m forced to look at it all the stinkin’ time.

I’ve tried to spruce it up little by little over the 7 years that we’ve lived here… a coat of leftover paint, some hooks, a set of really nice shelves my sweet Stepdad and I almost killed each other installing, a few cute baskets here and there. But all these little improvements are like putting a band-aid on a gushing hatchet wound. In other words… ain’t working. I still hate it.

I’ve always fantasized about one of those fancy schmancy laundry rooms with custom cabinetry, a built in ironing board, a spotless counter top for folding, gleaming glass canisters filled with organic plant based detergents… the works. You know — the kind of laundry room Martha Stewart would go to prison for.

But instead, what I have is this:

BEFORE: Cramped, cluttered, and ordinary laundry room.

Ugh. So very far from perfect, wouldn’t you agree?

But let’s face it – I’m not going to get that fantasy laundry room any time soon. So I would be wise to stop comparing and start decluttering. In the immortal words of Elvis, “a little less talk, a little more action.” Let’s do this, shall we?

Remember the PROCESS? (Plan, Remove, Organize, Containerize, Evaluate, Solve, Smile)

1.) Plan. Eh, f#ck it. I’m not a planner. I’m just gonna dive right in.

2.) Remove everything from the space. Check:

WOW! Looks so much better already, doesn’t it?! Decent bones, at least. Okay, I take that back, but at least my water supply hoses are made of braided steel instead of rubber. So there’s one good thing.

This would be a good time to paint the room the robin’s egg blue I’ve been coveting, but my husband said “NO WAY, JOSÉ,” since I have so many other unfinished renovating, crafting, and personal hygiene projects in the works. I swear, sometimes that man is about as much fun as a dead baby bunny on Easter morning.

In case you’re wondering where I put all that stuff… well so much for the clean dining room from last week:

BEFORE: decluttered dining room.

DURING: cluttered dining room revisited.

That’s okay. Just more motivation for me to keep moving and git-r-done.

3.) Organize. Once everything was in the dining room, I put like with like, and tossed (or recycled) a bunch of CRAP like a dozen cardboard toilet paper tubes I was saving for a craft we’ll never do.

4.) Containerize. Whatever I didn’t toss/recycle, I consolidated. Then I moved a box of pet supplies to the garage to preserve the valuable real estate I had created with all the purging.

Time to put stuff back into the laundry room!

And THAT is when it hit me: the less I put back in, the more organized and spacious the room would appear! I used containers to create boundaries, just like Org Junkie says. Turns out I don’t need a bigger laundry room… I just need less stuff. Talk about an “Aha Moment.”

And speaking of containers… I started thinking, what would oneshabbychick do to corral all her fabric softeners and stain removers? Her stuff is sooooo pretty and easy on the eye. Ooooh, I know…. she’d find something fabulous on the cheap at Goodwill and spray paint it Ivory or Navajo white. So I did just that. Check it out, my little Lookie-Lous:

BEFORE: ugly metal bin from Goodwill.

AFTER: same thing, but with satin ivory spray paint.












5. ) Evaluate.

AFTER: Iris' laundry room shelves.


AFTER: Iris' laundry room make-under.

6.) Solve. This is obviously a work in progress. I’ll keep you posted as I get used to the new decluttered space and discover if there are any problems that still need to be solved.

I am going to have my artsy pregnant friend Mama Cloud make me some pretty labels for the baskets so my kids and husband can find things. She has the most beautiful handwriting and needs something to take her mind off the ring of fire she’s going to experience in about 6 weeks.

7.) Smile. Can’t. Too tired. And all those spray paint fumes have me a little high. But I surely am grateful for the “Aha Moments” I experienced in this project and I’m looking forward to purging more stuff in my other rooms.

It may not be the perfect laundry room of my dreams, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it was last week. Maybe uncluttered is good enough for me.

Until we meet again!


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

21 comments on “Laundry Room Highs and Lows

  1. larsinnh
    March 4, 2011

    Great post!! funny! 🙂 It looks really good!

  2. Sue
    March 4, 2011

    Really…. come on…. I really, really… love you… Thank you for showing your crappy laundry room & your BE-YOOO-TI-FUL one!!! Mine looks more like the first picture…. and the Plan part? I can’t do that either…. I mean… I have ideas in my head… but I wing it most of the time…. love your ‘f*** it’….. that is soooooo me too!!! Ok… so YOU have inspired me…. to OCESS instead of PROCESS….. let’s see what I can accomplish…. I have until Sunday at 4…. our house is being inspected by the Rescue Pet People… to see if we can add another dog back into the mix of 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 kids, 1 hubby & me… ’cause you know we’re poodles n’ noodles type people… dog-tastes like chicken…

    Keep up the good work…

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 4, 2011

      OMG, Sue. You kill me. Poodles n’ noodles? I have a big black lab if you ever want to make some LABsagne.

      I guess I’m a ROCESS kind of gal! Don’t skip the R (remove)… it is the BEST PART! Seriously. Seeing your crappy room all nekkid like that is totally worth it. Oooh, I know – let’s change the “Organize” step into “Eat”… then it can be RECESS!!!! Whee!

      • Sue
        March 5, 2011

        Ooops… yeah… I teach Middle School…… ‘R’OCESS….

        I think that the P must stand for Procrastinate….(at least in my house)


  3. oneshabbychick
    March 4, 2011

    Wow. You did it again… totally inspired me! And I love that you ditched the plan cuz that is so not me either. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl… hence the lack of organization… Thanks so much for thinking of me! 🙂 I love what you did with your Goodwill bin! It looks so cute! And metal is a great material for the job – easy to rinse out when those bottles get gunky… Hey, you may not realize this, but you should know that you have a really cute laundry room now!!! BL ~ osc

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 5, 2011

      She likes it! She likes my Goodwill bin! And she said my laundry room is CUUUUUUUUUUTE!!! (Said in my best “Rudolph the Reindeer voice.”) Please excuse me while I do a little happy dance and mortify my children.

      • oneshabbychick
        March 7, 2011

        Oh, you flatter me 🙂 Why am i back here? Came back to admire your laundry room….. again.

  4. Deanne
    March 5, 2011

    Hmmph. You went and did it. What did I confess to you about my lustful feelings for gorgeous laundry rooms? Hmmm? Yeah, well, I already thought your room was pretty awesome (Hello! It actually has like, oh, drywall and stuff!) and now it is super awesome! I really love the paint job you did on that metal container too! Enjoy it! You deserve it!

    Now, I’ve just gotta go do mine! Hmmmph. Wanna come over and tackle it with me? I’ve got beer. No wine at the moment, but we could fix that too. 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 5, 2011

      You’ve got yourself a deal, sister. You know how I feel about a good bottle of suds.

      • Deanne
        March 5, 2011

        Exactly! That’s why I suggested it! And that day you had beer and wine both! I think you missed the part where after you got the dog inside, you said, “Ah screw it!” Then downed that glass of wine and then finished off the rest of the bottle – from the bottle itself. Oh – wait, maybe that’s just me. 🙂

  5. Terri L. Coons
    March 5, 2011

    It looks fanTAStic! Why did you not show me your handiwork yesterday!?! I would have gladly swooned in person. I actually have the light blue walls of which you speak (the paint name is something like ‘pond blue’) and I also requested a light sunshine-y yellow painted on the ceiling for an spring day effect. Hubby thought I was crazy for wanting a yellow ceiling but it was his contribution for Mother’s Day a few years back, so he bit his tongue, painted, and actually agreed that it looks very inviting. I added a mobile of barn swallows to complete the airy effect. Just writing that down does sound a little but nutty for a laundry room but I spend so much of my week in there I’d do anything to make it a better experience. Again, GREAT JOB!

  6. Melissa
    March 5, 2011

    so i started reading your blog, not sure how i stumbled upon it, but i think it was from org junkie, and then i am not sure how i stumbled across her. love your writing and think your laundry room looks fab. just wondering if the dining room got back to clean too 😉 i am actually putting off right now and have been for the past 2 months having the ac guys and do their annual cleaing since my laundry room is full of stuff and they won’t be able to get to the handler and the carport is so full of plastic bins for the yardsale that they won’t be able to get the attic ladder down to inspect the ductwork. anywho, i get a big smile when i read your blog and i think martha would be proud of your laundry room, and if not, who cares…she’s probably just jealous she can’t blog like you!

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 5, 2011

      Thanks Melissa! Yes, I am very proud to report that I did indeed get my dining room back to it’s clutter-free state! That really was a huge motivator for me since I had worked so hard the week before to clean it up. In fact, I think I should use my dining room table as the official sorting/purging zone while I declutter the rest of the house too!

      I will say, keeping these spaces maintained is so much easier than the initial decluttering! I hope I can keep it up!

      Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment! Love that!

  7. Martha (MM)
    March 5, 2011

    You are the best! Always crack me up!! Excellent job on the laundry room! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  8. Rashmi
    March 5, 2011

    how were the stain-spray bottles magically hanging in the air in the BEFORE photo?

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 5, 2011

      Oh Rashmi, did I forget to mention? I’m a Criss Angel freak, studying for my certificate in spray bottle levitation.

      Okay, that’s a lie. I hung those bottles by hooking the “triggers” over the rod on the end of the shelf. It’s actually a really handy way to make the bottles easily available for fighting stains on the fly (one of my many super powers). However, I think it looks very cluttered and tacky… hence the new spray painted metal bucket to corral everything. Form vs. function, form wins this time.

  9. laura lee
    March 5, 2011

    fantastic. for some reason i have a strong urge to drink a sprite. off to quench the sensation.

    LOVE IT!

  10. Megan
    March 7, 2011

    Awesome! It looks so nice. I’m with you – functional & cute over perfection anyday. 🙂

  11. Jenny
    March 8, 2011

    Been reading Orgjunkie for a while and then found you on there too! Your “shocking” blogs wake me up in the morning! 🙂 I just love what you did for your laundry room. I agree with so many that the planning part is hard, but not because I’m fly by the seat of my pants. Although sometimes I’m that too. But mostly because…I CANNOT THINK WITH ALL THE CLUTTER STARING AT ME!! You did well. And expecting it to need tweaking in the coming weeks is a smart thing. I do that, too. “Realistic pessimism” I think I’ll call it.

  12. allysgrandma
    March 8, 2011

    Looks great. I did a little spot/corner of my laundry area this week, for posting Friday. Quitch yer bitchin….at least you don’t have to go out in the cold garage to do your laundry like some of us! By the way after reading more of your blog, I cannot believe how much we have in common! BTW, I sleep in nuthin!! PS I am rebelling against my older English teacher sister who likes to correct me a lot!

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 8, 2011

      I know – you are so right, I really have nothing to complain about. It’s good enough! Right?

      And I LOVE that you just admitted you “sleep in nuthin.” (Especially since that is in reference to a different post and anyone who reads this one first who has not read the one about skin care tips is going to be like: “WTF? Why is that crazy grandma telling Iris she sleeps in her birthday suit?!”) Good for you, sister. You must have one smooth hiney.

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