There has been a room in our house that has driven me absolutely batty since we moved in.
And it’s the laundry room.
Let me give you a quick explanation of why I loathe this room.
It has to do with the oddly shaped floor plan, and particularly, this awkwardly placed wall.
You like how the room gets narrower in front of the washer? I bet you can imagine how much fun it is standing in that cramped space, awkwardly trying to take out wet laundry to place in the dryer.
When we first moved in, I wanted Hubby to move the washer and dryer to the far wall, so we could simply walk right up to front of both–you know, lots of room, no problems. Only the space was not wide enough.
Then we had the idea of stacking them on that wall, but there was an issue with re-routing the dryer vent, and it having to take too many twists and right angle turns before reaching outside, and Hubs worried lint would get caught in a corner, and we’d eventually burn our house down.
These conversations are real, folks.
The thing about that oddly placed wall was that it was not structurally needed! There were no pipes or wires or air conditioning vents behind that wall. It was placed there for aesthetic reasons only, and those reasons did not even benefit the laundry room.
It may be easier to explain if we visit the outside of my home for just a few minutes.
You see, there it is. My beloved home.
Pay attention to that large third floor window. Because THAT window is going to be the cause of my laundry room woes.
You see there were two exterior plans for my home. In the first plan (probably the original plan, since it makes sense) there are three windows on the top floor, identical to the three windows on the second floor. This plan is ideal, as it allows for the laundry room to have its own window (the laundry room is to the left of that window), thus natural light, and no weirdly placed walls have to be built.
Then I guess the builders decided to spice things up a bit and offer an alternative exterior.
With this plan, there is one large window above the three second floor windows.
Only with one large window, came an issue.
In order to compensate for this window-wall-weirdness and make the bedroom more aesthetically pleasing, the builders simply extended a small portion of the bedroom wall (about 35 inches) into the laundry room.
I do not think they took into account how uncomfortable that small extension made the laundry room. It was not user-friendly.
So, for about three years, we dealt.
Grouchily, grudgingly (sometimes foul-mouthedly) dealt with a laundry room that was not meeting our needs.
I wasn’t really looking to make this room into some gorgeous Pinterest-worthy laundry room. I didn’t want it to be cute either. Honestly, I did not want to spend a lot of money on a room that no one but us would use or see.
I just wanted it functional.
But what did that mean?
Well, for starters, I wanted to have space to stand when opening both the washer and the dryer. Due to issues noted earlier, that meant the W & D would need to be stacked in the widest area of the room.
Unfortunately, there was your typical standard wire shelving unit running the length of that wall that would have to be removed because it wasn’t high enough to accommodate the stacked units. Taking away the shelf, however, would completely eliminate storage in that room, so I knew I would need something to take its place.
And if I was going to have to replace shelving, I wanted deeper shelving. Shelving that could easily hold pillows and blankets (I hated my dinky little linen closet shelving where blankets droop over the side because it’s only deep enough for wash clothes and hand towels).
I also wanted my laundry room to become sort of a organizational hub. I wanted a bin designated solely for Goodwill (my children are growing like weeds, and I am constantly stacking away something they’ve outgrown). I wanted a bin for bathing suits, swim shirts, and goggles; and another one designated for sleep away camp items–sleeping bags, flash lights, rain jackets, mesh laundry bags.
As I made these mental notes about what I planned to store, I realized that my shelving would need to be customized to fit my needs. They’d also have to be strong to hold all of the crap I planned to stack on them.
What to do?
Ana White to the Rescue
When you go on Pinterest and read other people’s blogs as much as I do, eventually inspiration hits. My inspiration came one morning as I was scrolling through Facebook, and came across Ana White’s video on building easy garage shelving on Facebook.
Yes, garage shelving is nothing new. But it’s the technique she uses that is so easy and cool!
Seriously, if you have not already seen this video, take three minutes and watch.
For some reason, this video was exactly what I needed. Even though it was designed for garage shelving, I knew it would be perfect for my laundry room needs.
Ana’s so awesome, isn’t she?
Shhh! Secret Laundry Plans
Here’s the problem with me seeing very cool, doable videos such as Ana’s. I want to put what I learned into action right away.
A better way of explaining this may to be to say that when I have finally figured out how to fix an issue I have been living with, I do not want to live with that issue anymore. And anymore starts immediately.
Hubby does not see things this way.
He takes a much more passive stance on dealing with issues such as cramped laundry rooms. As in, he could probably go on grudgingly dealing with it.
He also doesn’t follow my religion of Project Mode, and feels if we are already in the middle of a major project, i.e. Mega Island in the Kitchen, we should not take on another major project, such as revamping the laundry room.
Luckily for me, Hubby scheduled himself to work one Saturday.
Even though Hubs is a chef, working on a Saturday has become a bit of a rarity, so when he does tell me he has to work, it usually brings pangs of disappointment (as I truly like having the guy around–especially when I want to get things done–but also because I really love him). This time, however, I was like Mr. Burns, steepling my fingertips and whispering, “Excellent.”
There was so much I could accomplish with Hubby out of the way for eight hours! Hot damn.
Easy Laundry Room Shelving
I am not going to bore you with a step by step process, because I pretty much followed Ana White’s video. So if you didn’t watch it earlier, feel free to go back up and click play.
I will share with you a few helpful tips.
No truck? No problem!
First off, one woman with a small SUV (I own a Honda CRV) can purchase all of the supplies needed for this project. I figured out a long time ago that I can pretty much fit a $#*&ton of 8 foot boards in my CRV. I’m sure some of the people at Lowes think I’m crazy when they see me loading it up, but it is possible. For this project, I bought twelve 2x4s (8 ft long)–eight horizontal, two vertical legs, and then two extras for the cleats. I ended up having enough left over from my cuts on the horizontal shelves for the cleats, so I only ended up using ten boards total.
I used the following plywood from Lowes because it was the cheapest board with the thickness I desired, and it was already sanded. I had Lowes cut the boards according to the depth I wanted my shelves to be, knowing that I would cut them to width at home.
Cutting Tip: I have had wood cut at Lowes enough times to know that some of the employees know what they are doing, and some of them definitely do not. This is not a slam against Lowes–I love Lowes–and prove it by going there several times a weekend and giving them my money. This is just to warn you that if you are making multiple cuts of the same size, the person running the saw should set it from the bottom so they can run your wood through again and again, and get the same size cuts. If you are making multiple cuts of the same size, and the person running the saw sets it from the top, they will have to remeasure again and again, because your board will get shorter and shorter (they don’t know what they are doing). Be ready to measure your boards as they come out to make sure you are getting the correct size you want. If they mess up, don’t be afraid to ask them to start over with a new piece.
Real Life, People
Knowing that this laundry room would be used by real people, I tried to be as realistic as possible when planning. Therefore, my first shelf started above a completely, overflowing hamper of clothes.
Because that is a reality in our household.
Plan Your Shelves Around What’s Going on Them
I planned the height of each of the following shelves by what I planned to store on them.
Measure the Width for each Shelf
I have learned over multiple projects that you cannot assume one shelf will be the same size as the next when building between two walls. They certainly were not for this project. Each time I got ready to add another shelf, I measured and cut. Each shelf was smaller than the next. There was a good 1/2 inch difference between the bottom shelf and the top.
Laundry Room Obstacles
Washers and dryers are big, cumbersome, and heavy. It can be difficult to work around them. Depending on the size of your laundry room, there may be some climbing, squeezing, and light gymnastics needed to get from one point to the other while working.
Garage Versus Laundry Room
The actual building of the frame is very easy. It can be done by one person (painting the room took longer than the actual shelving unit).
Because this shelving unit was in my laundry room, and between two walls, it was impossible to add the plywood tops after the unit was completely put together, as shown in the garage video.
Therefore, I did enlist Hubby’s help when he got home. We had to rest each plywood on the extending cleats (as I prayed that I had built everything strong enough) before bringing back the front frame and attaching everything together.
So, not as a easy as building in a garage, but definitely doable.
Shelving–Linen (Not planned…just coincidental)
One Final Note
We have toyed with the idea of ripping some leftover paneling to cover the seam between plywood and boards. This is possible if you want a more finished look. But clearly, the laundry room is still functional without it.
We are loving our new space. Even my little one walked in the laundry room, and was like, “Mommy! This is awesome!”
As always, thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!