A Rant About Laundry Rooms–and Some Solutions

by hookedonhouses on January 27, 2009

One thing I’ll never understand is why home builders continue to stick laundry rooms behind kitchens. Connected to the garage. On the first floor. This usually puts the washer and dryer as far away from your bedroom as possible, right? It makes no sense to me. Who wants to drag their dirty clothes downstairs and through the kitchen to the back of the house? Not me.

When we were house hunting a few years ago, we saw one laundry room off the garage after another. Home builders apparently think we want a combination mudroom, coat closet, and laundry room. Well, that doesn’t work very well, does it? You go to do laundry and you have to kick the piles of shoes out of the way first. Or you come in from the garage after a long day of work only to be greeted by baskets of laundry in your way.

All I can figure is that most of the builders who think this setup works are men who don’t do much laundry (no offense to the men who do their share of it, like my husband!). Well, if any home builders are reading this, I’m begging you–please start putting laundry rooms closer to our bedrooms, where all those dirty clothes are piling up! Don’t make us lug them across the house just to throw a load in. (The only thing worse is having the laundry in the basement, which was the setup in my previous house.)

When we were building our current place, the home builder offered a variety of floor plans–all with laundry rooms off the garage, behind the kitchen. We weren’t crazy about any of the plans, but this was the suburb we wanted to build in, near the school we wanted our kids to go to, so we had to make something work.

Our solution was to turn the laundry room into a mudroom and add a laundry closet upstairs in our master bath to put the washer and dryer in. This meant we couldn’t fit a big, fancy “spa tub” in the bathroom, but I decided that having the laundry upstairs was worth the trade.

And I never regretted it. This arrangement has saved me countless hours over the years we’ve been here! I would love to have an entire laundry room like the ones shown here (from BHG), but this is the next-best thing.

Because I don’t want piles of laundry in my master bathroom sitting around all the time, I came up with a system for keeping everything organized. And it’s simple!

  • There are three laundry baskets that sit in our walk-in closet. I labeled them WHITES, DIRTY WHITES, and DARKS/COLORS.
  • Everyone in the family is responsible for putting their dirty clothes in the appropriate baskets every morning and every night. When my daughter was too young to read, I let her put stickers on the baskets so she would know where things went. She’s been sorting her own clothes this way since she was 3.
  • As soon as one of the baskets fills up, I toss that load in the washer.
  • When the clothes come out, I immediately put the kids’ clean clothes in their rooms. They are responsible for putting their own clothes away before bedtime. I’m a big believer in the team-effort approach to family life. Mom is not the maid.

When you have kids, laundry can take over your life if you aren’t careful. This works for me. What solutions have you come up with? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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We are THAT family January 27, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Great post. I love the idea of having the laundry room away from the garage! We did a mini-makeover about 6 months ago and I love it. Well, the room, not the laundry.

We are THAT family’s last blog post..Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

AnNicole January 27, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Hi, I don’t think I’ve commented before, but I love your blog. What a great idea to have a laundry closet upstairs! Seriously, who wants to drag clothes through the kitchen, up the stairs, etc. I love that your kids sort their own laundry too.

AnNicole’s last blog post..A NEW KITCHEN FOR AROUND $100

Alana @ Gray Matters January 27, 2009 at 10:15 pm

I’ve always wondered if it makes it too loud for sleepers if the bedroom is upstairs?

Alana @ Gray Matters’s last blog post..Reversible Apron: Take One

hookedonhouses January 27, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Alana, it has doors on it, and there’s another set of doors between it and our bedroom, but we can still hear it, yes (but the kids can’t). I tend to do the laundry during the day when it isn’t an issue anyway. -Julia

Astrid January 27, 2009 at 10:21 pm

You know…we had a laundry room upstairs. It was a pain because I had to drag stuff up the stairs. I think the ideal thing would be two sets of laundry machines. (ha! as if that will ever happen). I also think that next time my machines need to be on a concrete floor- they’re powerful enough to really shake the house. Unfortunately that means not having them upstairs.
OH! How about a laundry chute? Wish we could have one in our house but it just wouldn’t work.

I also my girlies help with the laundry. You bet they help fold and put away!

Astrid’s last blog post..some randomness

hookedonhouses January 27, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Hi, Astrid! So your bedroom must be on the first floor then? I should specify that I want a laundry room wherever the bedrooms are–not necessarily upstairs.

They really should bring laundry chutes back!! -Julia

Kelly January 27, 2009 at 11:03 pm

As if I wasn’t already impressed with Lily…sorting laundry at THREE? I suppose I’m glad that my mother took care of it when I was young. ;)

I currently live in a studio apartment (does this tell you why I love to look at houses?. There’s not even a hookup. That’s my way of saying that I’m a slacker and take mine to be done for $.99/lb. It’s still a pain to lug it, so I do miss having my own machines.

Katie @ makingthishome.com January 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Interesting thoughts, Julia. I hesitate to agree, though, if the washing machine ends up on the upper floor. Have you ever carried a washing machine up stairs? Because we are young and not exactly stable in where we live, we’ve done a lot of moving, and we can’t afford help outside of family and friends. Carrying heavy objects like that is probably the worse for me. I guess I’d rather haul laundry up the stairs than the machines! Unless that master bedroom is on the main floor… (then I love your idea!)

Melissa January 27, 2009 at 11:17 pm

My Aunt redesigned her laundry room to be upstairs & it is such a great idea. It’s 100X easier to bring the kitchen towels upstairs than everything else down & back up again. It makes no sense to have a laundry room downstairs…I guess except for the guys who install the washer & dryer. Ha ha.
My only concern would be if the washer broke there would be considerable water damage, no? More than in a basement right?? Is that why they are typically downstairs?

hookedonhouses January 27, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Well, I never thought of having to carry the washer and dryer myself up those stairs! Ha. Strong moving men did that for us. Would definitely have to reconsider if I was the one doing the heavy labor myself! :-)

We had the washer set inside a “tray” on the floor and there is a drain in case there are any problems. We were also advised to use a metal hose instead of a rubber one. -Julia

Remodeling Guy January 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Hi Julia-
I agree with you completely. In the larger homes, I’ve actually seen quite a few with two laundry areas. One is usually much larger than the other.
From a remodeling perspective, a laundry chute isn’t as tough as you might think. We’ve added a number of those over the years.
Melissa makes a good point about water damage…there are ways to deal with possible floods upstairs, but none of them are great.
I’ll make sure to mention to anyone I know involved in designing houses that you said to get it together!

Remodeling Guy

Remodeling Guy’s last blog post..What’s New at Remodeling Guy

Sue January 27, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Hi Julia….I’m probably the only person in the world that loves having my laundry area in the basement/garage…I used to have it in my kitchen until a hose burst and dumped 10,000gallons throughout the house….Yes, I love it in the basement….

Sue’s last blog post..A CAREER CHANGING MOMENT…….

hookedonhouses January 27, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Remodeling Guy–thanks! I’d appreciate it if you’d help me get the word out about this! :-)

I did notice in the Home-a-Rama houses that I’ll be showing you next week that two laundry rooms was fairly common. One for the first-floor near the master bedroom and one upstairs near the kids’ rooms. Must be nice!

Sue–yikes! That’s terrible. I had that happen to a friend of mine–and she ended up remodeling most of her kitchen as a result. We were reassured by the builder that a metal hose should prevent that sort of disaster, but I guess there are never any guarantees. -J

Gayle January 27, 2009 at 11:37 pm

My laundry room is in our basement. I would love to have a laundry chute, but for now I just lug everything down there, and back up of course! I like that you have your kids put away their own clean clothes. I think I need to start doing this.

Gayle’s last blog post..Are You Sick of Icicle Shots Yet?

Annie Anderson January 27, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Hi Julia,

I like the idea of the laundry room close to the bedrooms and it was close in an apartment we had. The laundry closet was in the hall way. I didn’t really mind it there.

At our last house, it was way the frick out by the garage – not quite in it, but close. The most annoying part was that there was a covered breezeway between the house and the garage. So it was damn cold doing the laundry! That room never stayed warm! I hated it.

Where we live now, it’s about perfect. Master on the main floor, laundry room right around the corner between there and the kitchen. It’s right at the bottom of the stairs so the kids can bring their stuff down and take it back up to their rooms easily.

I agree though – laundry rooms should just not be in basements or garages. I hate that!

Annie Anderson’s last blog post..A dream so big

Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall January 27, 2009 at 11:52 pm

This is great! We did a house, not too long ago, and they had added a space in their master closet for a stacked washer and dryer. It was fabulous!!!!

Robyn January 28, 2009 at 12:04 am

First of all I love that BHG laundry room. I agree with you that the mudroom/laundryroom set-up stinks. I lived it with my first house – live and learn! The second house had the laundryroom in the basement with the chute in my room. A second story house with a chute that was always getting clogged! The big phone book works wonders, BTW. We wised up with the last house and the laundry room is a big closet that is straight across from our three main floor bedrooms. Laundry is done, sheets are washed and put back on beds immediately, batches aren’t piled on the floor waiting – it’s always neat – it’s awesome!

Robyn’s last blog post..BLUE MONDAY!

Amber Filkins @ {ae filkins} January 28, 2009 at 12:14 am

Great post, Julia! I’ve been trying to tackle the laundry thing for awhile. We have two baskets in our master closet for whites/lights & darks. My older daughter knows to sort her clothes. I do the same thing as you, just lug it across the house.

I then TRY to fold the clothes right away. I’ve decided that for me, doing one load of laundry per day {or every other} makes my life SO much easier. That way I don’t get too overwhelmed.

I had the flu for ONE day last week, and I just finally got caught up today. It totally threw me off track.

Thanks for sharing!

Amber Filkins @ {ae filkins}’s last blog post..Bachelor Review

Kim @ Forever Wherever January 28, 2009 at 12:29 am

Well, the best laundry room would have someone in it doing my laundry! LOL I bought a stacking washer and dryer because I want to have a small area hidden behind a door! I think you did a great job of not letting someone tell you what to do with your house plans. You know what works for you!!!

Kim @ Forever Wherever’s last blog post..Tim at Nesting Place Today – Check it Out!

jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam January 28, 2009 at 12:29 am

ok – I admit…Our floor plan had the laundry room right upstairs and I switched it downstairs right off the kitchen. I know, I know, but I was so afraid that if there was a leak, I would have water everywhere up stairs. It’s a pain…to haul it all downstairs and then back up. Oh well…..

jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s last blog post..McDonald’s shares frugal delights

mombrud January 28, 2009 at 12:40 am

We are building a house and the laundry is upstairs by all the bedrooms but I wonder if I won’t wish it were down in the main living area of the house where I spend most of my time. Right now, my washer & dryer share a room with the furnace and water heater in the basement!
As for laundry ideas. I have a small basket for each child and clothes are folded into their basket and left in their room. This way piles are not tipping and falling over. Each child is responsible for putting away their own clothes. They sometimes help fold. Empty baskets are left outside their doors (back in laundry room in future house). In the future I may try the sorting baskets too. What a good idea!

A-M January 28, 2009 at 1:33 am

Bedroom laundries might not work that well here in Australia as we line dry our stuff and need our laundries close to the external clothesline. The dryer is an emergency tool in most households. My current build positions the laundry upstairs from the garage connected to the powder room on the first floor (bedrooms are up another level, unfortunately positioned so that a chute would just not work … rats!). An external door from the laundry leads to a little balcony, down 3 steps to the clothesline, out of full sun but in a breeze-way. The laundry is also positioned close to the pool so that the run from the pool eliminates wet feet on wooden floors inside the house. Pool> laundry>swimmers in sink> up steps to powder room shower and no drips in the house! Enjoying your blog immensely. A-M xx

A-M’s last blog post..Sensational

Sheryl January 28, 2009 at 1:36 am

I’ve lived in two homes where the laundry “room” was in the garage. I will never again complain as long as it’s indoors. My current laundry “room” (if you can call it a room, since it connects us to the garage) is right off the kitchen. Works well for me! I am very aware when I need to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer to the dresser drawers.


Tam January 28, 2009 at 2:13 am

Hi Julia! I do the same thing as you and have since my kids were very young. Although there are very specific baskets for each type of laundry not always but at times it still gets mixed! But hey at least they hit the basket! LoL! I have seen many two story homes that had laundry rooms upstairs. I love that! Once I even toured a home that was three stories and each floor had it’s own laundry room-deluxe huh!? It seems to be more common in spec homes then track homes. Of course I have seen laundry shoots too but they have their own set of negatives! Like pets being put down them and then of course you have to lug the clean clothes upstairs. But a fun thing for kids huh? Have a wonderful Wednesday and thanks for another terrific post!~Smiles~Tam!

Tam’s last blog post..Introducing the Apple Creek Cottage Kids!

Ben Norman January 28, 2009 at 2:31 am


The laundry is awesome… I was looking around for some ideas to modify my laundry room, your post has inspired me… Thanks a lot for sharing…

Mom in High Heels January 28, 2009 at 2:46 am

OMG! My least favorite thing in the world is a w/d in the garage or a laundry “closet” in the kitchen, which is what we had in our previous house. When I worked as a Realtor, the number one reason a woman didn’t like a house was the laundry space. You’d think it would be kitchens, but no, laundry, laundry, laundry. Of course right now, I’d KILL for a laundry closet. Our building (remember we are in military stairwell housing in Germany) doesn’t have w/d in our apartments, but rather 3 washers and 3 dryers in the BASEMENT. I live on the 3rd floor, so I have to haul our laundry down four floors, put it in the wash, go back up and wait, go back down, put it in the dryer, go back up and wait, go back down and then haul it all back up to our apartment. Jealous? That laundry closet I used to have is looking so good right now. I dream of a proper laundry room. That second pic makes me positively drool.

Mom in High Heels’s last blog post..Mom in High Heels: Red Hot Edition

christy January 28, 2009 at 7:08 am

I totally agree – our last house had the laundry in the basement, and now it’s off the kitchen, next to the garage. Why oh why do they still do this? UGH! And I love your laundry system. When my daughter gets older I think I’ll adopt that idea. Currently, mom is the maid. Sigh.

christy’s last blog post..http://www.fionafoo.com

Angela January 28, 2009 at 8:19 am

Our laundry closet is in our upstairs hallway – right by all three bedrooms. Rather convenient. As for my laundry system – I do laundry when I have no more clean undies and my husband is starting to fret about having no work out clothes! Pretty pathetic, I know.

Angela’s last blog post..(Wo)Man’s Best Friend

bungalow_bliss January 28, 2009 at 8:23 am

I have one of those dreaded basement laundry areas–but, really, who needed a laundry room in the 20s?–and although it might be a little more out of the way, I’d take it any day over the kitchen laundry nooks. I do dream about a proper (and convenient!) laundry room, though. How nice it would be to have everything so close to the bedrooms!

bungalow_bliss’s last blog post..It’s a Marshmallow World

coco January 28, 2009 at 8:25 am

Our master is on the main so it makes sense for our laundry to be on the first floor. I still did some readjusting of our house plans when we were building and moved the laundry so that it is off of the mud room but not in the main flow of traffic. In two of our previous houses you came in from the garage to the laundry room then into the house…too many doors, no where to sort laundry it was awful. I also added a second stackable unit in this house which has come in handy when we have company or when my kids bring their whole soccer team over between games!

coco’s last blog post..bad blogger & a bathroom…

Lara January 28, 2009 at 8:37 am

My laundry is off the kitchen and next to the garage and I hate it with a passion. It is really a hallway between the garage and kitchen with a bump out for the w/d. The room isn’t on an exterior wall so there is no natural light. Its dark and dreary. But, the thing that I hate the most is that the dryer vents out on the roof. We have to pull the dryer out from the wall and clean out the vent as far as we can reach and then from the roof about once a month. We can’t reach the lint that gathers in the middle of the vent so I have to call the carpet cleaner guy to come suck it out. My poor dryer is on its last leg. Its 5 years old. If I ever get the chance to build a house, my laundry room will be amazing! I never hurts to dream big, right?

laura @ the shore house January 28, 2009 at 9:15 am

My washer and dryer are simply shoved in the corner of my old and damp basement…but having lived in apartments my entire adult life, I’m still in the “honeymoon stage” of being grateful there’s a washer/dryer in my home. :-) Your “mom is not the maid” approach is stellar — holy cow, I wish any part of my life was as organized as your laundry routine!

laura @ the shore house’s last blog post..Well knock me over with a feather!

sandra/tx January 28, 2009 at 9:18 am

Ugh. You’re speaking my language, sistah. I loved a lot of things about our old house. The utility room was huge with a whole wall of built-ins. I didn’t even mind that it was off the kitchen, which did mean lugging the dirty laundry to it. I did NOT like, however, the fact that it was the pass-through from the garage to the rest of the house. As much as I didn’t like that, my current set-up is even worse. Still working to get the negatives in that room turned around. Great post!

Amy @ Living Locurto January 28, 2009 at 9:27 am

Great tip! The house we are in now is the first home I’ve ever owned. I wish I had thought about the laundry room being in our closet back then. Now, instead of fancy pools and upgrades, I dream of a large laundry room in a huge closet and a gigantic shower with multiple shower heads! ha. I HATE dragging the clothes the the back of the house, which in turn means I never do laundry.

Amy @ Living Locurto’s last blog post..Meal Planning Ideas

Debbie January 28, 2009 at 10:28 am

Hi Julia, I had to laugh at your comment that laundry can take over your life if your not careful. My hubby stays up late and does laundry (don’t ask me why) and in the morning I will walk in the laundry room (yes off the kitchen to the back door-that everyone uses!) anyhoo, I walk in and here is 8 loads of laundry on the counter in a GIGANTIC MOUNTAIN…oh my gosh! He smiles and says I did the laundry for you…every inch of it is wrinkled…but it is clean. Hahahaha! Great post Julia!

Debbie’s last blog post..Wednesday-Working like a crazy woman!

Aubrey January 28, 2009 at 10:29 am

I want to know why poor people in tiny houses, like us, have to have the washer and dryer stuck in the furnace room with the water heater and multitudes of ugliness.
Of course, since the house is so small, the laundry right by the kitchen is totally fine, except when the dishwasher is open with clean dishes and I’m trying to not let dirty clothes land on them…by which I totally revealed how lazy a housekeeper I am when clean dishes are still sitting in the dishwasher halfway through the day.

Aubrey’s last blog post..More to Unclutter

Sadie January 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

My laundry is in the garage. The detached garage. I hate doing laundry when it’s very hot in the summer, when it’s raining, when it’s super windy, and when it’s very cold. I just want my laundry to be in the house, period!!

Sadie’s last blog post..27/365

RehabOrDie January 28, 2009 at 11:11 am

I grew up with laundry in the basement. It works better than the laundry off the garage shtick that my parents now have. It’s still not good, as you note.

Our last place had the laundry right opposite the door to our master bedroom. Sure, it was sort of in the hall (at the header for the stairs) which meant that you couldn’t accumulate much laundry there, but who cares? You take off clothes and if they match what’s in there, they go in! If not, they go in the hamper. Worked GREAT.

So, at the rehab, we designed a decent sized laundry room and closet right off the master bath. So far, it’s a great idea. I’ll put some pictures up once we finish getting the floor down. There are some pics of the master bath up, as well as the ice-carnage in the back yard.


RehabOrDie’s last blog post..And d$%# it all… another branch fell in the backyard.

Susan Smith January 28, 2009 at 11:22 am

OMG – I thought I was the only one with that mindset! It’s official…I must be normal!!! I have the trio of hampers as well, and YES I hold family member accountable for tossing dirties in the right one! I believe the mud room and laundry room are the heart of the home. If they’re not efficient…mama ain’t happy! Kitchen…well, I guess that’s important too. ;)

Susan Smith’s last blog post..HomeGoods Blog – Decorating with Words, Literally!

Mike January 28, 2009 at 11:22 am

JLB and I totally disagree on this issue. I want my washer-dryer on whatever level of the house has a concrete slab…… We have our W-D upstairs now and it’s noisy. All that vibration through the subfloor. I am personally convinced that it’s just better downstairs or in a basement on a slab. In my Dream-House-We-Will-Someday-Build-When-We-Hit-The-Powerball-Lottery, the laundry will be in the basement with a chute. But of course that’s the crazy dream house with the elevator anyway, so who would need to worry about lugging all that laundry?!? Besides, then the maid will be doing it. ;-)

PrettyOrganizer January 28, 2009 at 11:31 am

Okay first, forgive me if my rant is too LONG.. I’m a qualified laundry expert. EXPERT!! I might as well own my own laundering shop and get paid. I have 6 children. So, ya, 8 people’s laundry going all the time. And believe me, unless you can afford the million dollar mansions (and even then, the laundry rooms are pathetic) there is no laundry room that is large enough for me. Our modest 2400 sf house is crammed and most of the problems have to do with laundry…. because of course, there’s no where to put it in the laundry ROOM. HA… our laundry room is about the size of a walk in closet… you know, the kind of closet you step one foot into and you’re in?

I’ve decided this is the year of the laundry room and I’ve written about it in several posts… my I have a Dream post is my personal plea… By great fortune, the back wall of my laundry room backs the walk in closet of our bedroom (off the bath)… we also by great fortune have 2 closets in our Master bedroom. SOOOO, I’ve begged, pleaded, cajoled, and demanded my hubby to knock the wall down and double the size of my laundry room. AND, the great benefit would be that I can walk through the door in my bathroom (the old closet door) and be in my laundry room. Believe me, when this room is finished the heavens will open and angels will sing… well, I’ll sing first and Thank Heaven!

Regarding process… as the EXPERT of laundry efficiency here’s my 2 cents (no one is reading this post because it’s too darn long… so sad… cuz this is good advice): I do all laundry according to person. Each kid gets a bucket to put their stuff (its a tall kitchen trash can actually). I dump the whole bucket in the washing maching… COLD water (of course I take out white church shirts or SUPER special clothing… I gave up on perfect white undies and socks long ago) and turn the thing on. Then, I fold only that persons laundry. It sure makes the folding, piling and returning clothes a heck of a lot easier. I also kick my kids out of my laundry schedule at 10. I teach them how to use the machine, give them a day, and let them go. I’ve stopped folding the boys laundry altogether… because honestly WHY! They just dig through their drawers, cram things back in and wear stuff that doesn’t match anyway… poor future wives. My blog does touch on organizing but hey… as I claim, “My priorities are organized, my closet is not.”

Amen on the Laundry blues sista and if you ever want to hold a crusade or need someone to sit on the counsel of Homemakers to Homebuilders board… I’m your gal!

PrettyOrganizer’s last blog post..The Importance of the Master Bedroom

PrettyOrganizer January 28, 2009 at 11:32 am

Cracking up. Just saw how long my comment was… dang girl. I must have really been worked up! You might want to submit that essay to Sunset Magazine!

PrettyOrganizer’s last blog post..The Importance of the Master Bedroom

Dusti January 28, 2009 at 11:54 am

I think our house might be unusual in that it is 4500+ sf, all on 1 level. Well, we have 1 bonus room (above the garage) and bath upstairs but no one sleeps up there. All bedrooms are downstairs and all at one end of the house and our laundry room is there between our room and the rest of the 3 bedrooms. I LOVE it! I can’t imagine lugging my laundry to the other end of the house where my kitchen/garage is, which is quite a jaunt. Our home is a custom and was built in 82 and I’m thinking they did a great job of design. Kitchen,garage,family room,full bath off the kitchen, bonus room/bath upstairs on one end. Formal dining, foyer/entry, formal living is in the center and 3 more full baths, 4 bedrooms and laundry at the other end. I have a nice long counter in the laundry for folding clothes and everyone gathers from there and puts away their own(we have 4 kids). I have a laundry hamper w/3 bags for dirties. I think having the laundry where the bedrooms are is great. If anyone is looking for a 1 story large home, I have the plan for you. We sit on 5 acres, that probably helps.

JanMary, N Ireland January 28, 2009 at 11:55 am

Here in UK and Ireland washing machines and tumble driers are also usually located off the kitchen/garage on the ground floor (which you call the first floor – what we call the first floor you must call the second floor!!!) in a multi-purpose room we call the utility room. Although ours is so small there is not really room for any other purpose :)

Most people here dry the majority of their clothes outside on the clothes line, so an upstairs laundry room would not work so well, but I do love the thought of it anyway!

We also iron nearly all our clothes, (accept underwear and fleeces) but I rarely here than mentioned on US blogs. I assume ours are probably more crumpled from line drying?

JanMary, N Ireland’s last blog post..Wet, wet, wet

hookedonhouses January 28, 2009 at 11:58 am

I love hearing everyone’s thoughts on laundry. PrettyOrganizer, I think your solutions are genius! I can’t even imagine having to keep up with the amount of laundry generated by 8 people in one house.

Mike, you’re right, washers and dryers are noisy when they’re not on concrete. I guess I’m used to it because it doesn’t bother me as much as carrying clothes down to the basement used to. ;-)

A-M and JanMary, I was very interested to learn how laundry is done differently in Australia and the U.K. We actually have ordinances here in my town that prohibit us from line drying our clothes (which I think is fairly ridiculous in our environmentally conscious times).

JanMary, I don’t think we do iron as much as you do there. I swear by Downy Wrinkle Releaser–just spray it on dry clothes and tug the wrinkles out. I’m too lazy to do much more than that unless they are dress clothes. Maybe Americans are just more willing to look a little rumpled? :-)

Dusti, I want your house!! -Julia

Gigi January 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm

THIS is a subject that I can speak on with some authority. I’ve owned homes with laundry areas in the basement (currently), the main level, and the upstairs (bedroom) level. There is a definite relationship with the distance between the clothes and the washer, and the hassle of doing laundry. Even with a laundry chute, having the washer in the basement is NOT FUN. It’s such a chore and also out of sight, out of mind. At least when our laundry was on the main level, I could hear the washer stop and it would remind me to put the clothes in the dryer. But when our laundry area was upstairs, laundry wasn’t an issue. It was so easy to put in a load, treat a stain, throw clothes in the dryer, etc. If I were building a custom home this would be HIGH on my priority list!

Gigi’s last blog post..Hooked on Trader Joe’s

Lynnet January 28, 2009 at 12:50 pm

My laundry room is smack in the MIDDLE of the house, an inside room, next to our master and it’s very noisy, though it is very handy where it is. I painted the inside of mine to look like the outdoors and a laundry line holding outfits that my kids wore as babies. It’s our safe room when there is a tornado, complete with glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, spider web, tree, and insect wings that glow in the dark. I usually fold laundry on my bed, though hubby hates it. I must say that if we ever move, this is one thing that I will certainly think harder about! Great post!

Lynnet’s last blog post..Random Picture Challenge

janet January 28, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Just stopped in to say “hello and good job as always”.


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Terri January 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm

My husband is so good about doing laundry that I am afraid to anger the Laundry Gods. Our laundry room is located right off the door to the garage and behind the kitchen… what?? You knew that?? However, our master bedroom is on the main level so that works ok for us. All the bedrooms are upstairs but there is a laundry chute that goes directly into the laundry room. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sort. I love the photos and learning how others have made one of the busiest rooms in the house a charming place to be!

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Lori Z. January 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Our laundry room is upstairs and it’s so nice not having to haul laundry around. In our old house it was part of the kitchen and the pocket doors that hid the washer and dryer were terrible because they couldn’t hide the piles of clothes. Now if it’s laundry day and people are coming over, we just close the laundry room door…

Kathy :) January 28, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Oh Julia …..one of my pet peeves. Our house was built in the 60′s so at one time (of course when my kids were small) it was in the basement, we did over a bathroom & added them.

The only good reason for having them that far away is exercise I guess….but when its time to change all the sheets etc…..its so easy to have it closer to the bedrooms….

Great post,
Kathy :)

Tamara January 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Yup, laundry is a dirty word around my place. I’ve finally got my kids doing the occasional load but I think I’ll put a chandelier in the there like you have in your first picture. Maybe I’ll feel more like going in there if there’s a chandelier in there :)

Tamara’s last blog post..Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Carmen January 28, 2009 at 2:32 pm

We just moved into a house we had built for us and one of the big draws to our floor plan was the upstairs laundry right next to all of the bedrooms. I talked about it in this post (http://hostetlers.blogspot.com/2008/09/oooh-prettymud-and-brick.html). I agree that lugging laundry is just not appealing.

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SoBella Creations January 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Every house I looked at in Central Florida the laundry is the garage. My laundry is in the garage….where my washing machine is starting to get rust spots from the humidity. I don’t understand why the builder thought that a person would want to do laundry in the hottest spot in the entire house. I hope to box in this room eventually so I can have AC.

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Courtney January 28, 2009 at 3:05 pm

My house is kind of the same. the laundry is right off the hall of the bedrooms. Too small to really keep the clothes in. great idea on the baskets. I hope to one day do that with my daughter who is a bit too young right now, soon though!

bungalow_bliss January 28, 2009 at 3:52 pm


I’m curious…an ordinance against line drying? I’ve never heard of that! What is the reason for this?

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Ms.Tee January 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm

I agree, laundry is taking over my life right now! :) I like the idea of a laundry room near the bedrooms, though!

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Pat January 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Our neighbor has one of the niftiest laundries I’ve ever seen. It’s not actually a laundry and might not work for everyone, but for folks like us…retirees or empty nesters it would be fabulous. They have a raised ranch/atrium ranch. Bedrooms on main floor with a couple of guest rooms on the “terrace level”. Jeanie asked the builder to add plumbing for a washer and dryer in the walkin closet off the master bath. It can be entered via the bathroom or hallway. She has cabinets that are a sort of island for storage and folding and a built in ironing board. Plus all the amenities of a regular closet. I love it and if given the opportunity would do that in our walk in closet. Wish I had thought of it. Fabulous idea!

Pat’s last blog post..~Red & White~

Darla January 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Preach it sistah! And GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

Our laundry room is in a closet in the main bath. I work the same system as you with a little different location for our dirty clothes. :)

Darla’s last blog post..Basement family room update

Jackie Whitley (Buried in Legos) January 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Only one itty bitty draw back. IF your washer hose ever springs a leak & you are on vacation it will not only flood your top floor, but also your bottom one. I hope you turn off the water to it if leaving for long.

Gigi January 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm

@Jackie #60:
When we had our washer upstairs, it sat in a big steel “tray” that would catch overflows. We had a few, but the pan caught them, and it never ran out. That’s just my experience. Loved it!

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hookedonhouses January 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Jackie & Gigi–we have one of those trays that the washer sits on, too. There’s a drain in the floor for overflows. We also have metal pipes instead of rubber ones. And it’s sitting over the garage, so I guess if we did have a massive leak, it wouldn’t be as devastating as if it leaked into the kitchen or something.

Bungalow Bliss–the neighborhood is worried about house resale values, so we have a long list of HOA rules that we have to abide by, including no clothes lines, utility sheds, etc, in our backyards. If you so much as paint your house or get a fence, you have to get it approved first.


Melissa Multitasking Mama January 28, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Our laundry room is in the basement and it makes it difficult for me because I have MS and don’t do steps well. The upside is that hubby and the boys have been doing the laundry more LOL Great post!

Melissa Multitasking Mama’s last blog post..Works for Me Wednesday- Dryer Sheets

Lisa January 28, 2009 at 8:52 pm

We just bought a new house in August and I LOVE my laundry room. Although it doesn’t have any windows for natural light, it is in a small little room that can be accessed either through the door in our master walk in closet *or* through a door in the hallway that leads to the guest bedroom. With the new washer and dryer which are very quiet it is perfect!! I’m very happy and in fact, it is one of the reasons this house was perfect for us.

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Waldo January 28, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Actually there are several reasons that the laundry room is often near the kitchen. If you have a gas dryer, odds are you have a gas stove. You also have more water pipes going to the washer and to the kitchen. It is much easier to construct a home where all the gas pipes and large water pipes are close together.

Secondly, Have you ever tried carrying a washer AND a dryer up a flight of stairs? Pain in the butt.

Third, Dryer exhaust. Usually they come out low to the ground where they can be hidden by shrubbery. Not as easy when its on a second floor. I don’t see many exhaust vents on the 2nd floor, they are not very aesthetically pleasing.

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Rachel January 28, 2009 at 9:13 pm

This is a great tip! Thanks for sharing. My laundry system is not working for me… I’ll have to try yours!

brooke January 28, 2009 at 10:59 pm

How do you do this, Julia! Your blog is amazing.
I totally agree. Steve laughs at me, but the laundry room is the second most important room in the house for me (just below the kitchen). In our Santa Monica home, I built a lovely laundry room on the second floor (no more lugging laundry up the stairs for me!). Last year I decided to wallpaper my laundry room in a beautiful floral Cowtan and Tout wallpaper. If I am going to spend that much time in a room, it should be pretty.


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Mary January 29, 2009 at 8:02 am

My only laundry genius is that I keep an empty laundry basket upstairs and have taught my five year old son to gather dirty clothes from the two bedroom hampers up there and bring it downstairs for me to sort. He has helped me sort as well, but is not yet completely trusted in that area.

lara jane January 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions. Funny how some people prefer it off the kitchen and some prefer it closer to the bedrooms!

I’ve been designing a house based on plans from the late 1920s/early 30s. In those days, the washer & dryer were either in the basement or on the back porch. I’ve found a few plans that I really liked and sort of “merged” the features that I wanted into a house that I think will work for us.

What I’ve ended up with — in regards to this post, anyway! — the laundry, mudroom (which is less an actual “room” and more of a landing area with a place to hang coats & bags, charge phones and other devices, etc), and kitchen all in a row at the back of the house, with access to the bedrooms from there. The laundry is its own room with a door that I can shut when I don’t want to see the piles (pretty much always! LOL).

We love 2-story houses and I would’ve loved to build one, but I knew I had to be practical: We are in “basement country,” so I knew I didn’t want to “live” on 3 levels, hence a 1-story with a full basement. Thought about having a ginormous laundry room in the basement with a laundry chute and dumbwaiter to haul it back up, and hubby is still trying to talk me into that, but this is the plan for now.

p.s. I sort 1) Whites, 2) Darks/Jeans, 3) Brights. Towels and sheets are separate, of course. I don’t wash or dry anything on HOT (warm, at most) because I don’t want my stuff to wear out/fade the way my mother did our clothes!

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lara jane January 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

Forgot to mention: We line-dry when the weather permits, too!

Suzanne - Easy at Home January 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

I’m a total laundry brat, and it’s fine with me! Two years ago, when we were building our current home, I insisted on a full laundry room on the second floor (where the bedrooms are) AS WELL AS a full laundry room in the basement off of the garage (mudroom area, we enter here 90% of the time). Even though my kids are young now (2, 4, 5 years), I know we’ll have dirty gear from sports, oversized beach blankets and more down the road. It’s perfect and I honestly have both going at least a few times a week — and I still manage to get behind in my folding!!! LOL!

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Kathy January 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm

We have a good sized laundry room upstairs! In our last house, it was between the garage and the kitchen, so anyone who came into the house through the garage had to traipse through my laundry room. I hated that.

Kathy’s last blog post..Review: The School of Essential Ingredients

L January 30, 2009 at 5:58 pm

The reason laundry rooms are in the basements of older homes is because they were an afterthought— the homes are older than washing machines and dryers– from the days of scrub buckets and clotheslines.

The reason laundry rooms are behind the kitchen in some older homes is because again– it was in the days before electric washers and dryers. You had to haul your water to the wash tub on the ringer washer. Also, it was close to the back door— close to the clothesline outside in the backyard.

I totally understand wanting the laundry room near the bedrooms. However, I would love to have a window in the laundry room— for access to a pulley style clothesline.

Ideally, my laundry room would be a large, bright room on the first floor, with bright sunny french doors leading out to several clothelines in the backyard. With a laundry shoot from the bedrooms and bathrooms.

Dryers are inefficient unnecessary life-complicating energy hogs. We should go back to air drying clothes! I think having two laundry rooms and two sets of washers and dryers is really excessive– no matter how much money you have. Unless you have a family of more than 15 or so?

With the way the economy, energy prices, and possible new legislation is going, I think we all better install a failsafe way of drying our clothes with less energy. Also, switching to cold water to wash and save more energy. I would seriously keep these things in mind when building/remodeling a home!!!

I think this is a cool new clothesline:

And check out this site, it’s very interesting!

Nancy February 1, 2009 at 12:12 am

What a great post! I complain about this very thing all the time. I might ask a contractor to come in and check out our options for putting our laundry room in our Master. Our Master bedroom and bath are way oversized anyway and if I could get the washer and dryer away from the kitchen/garage, I might actually have space for a useful coat closet!

I loved your sorting trick, I’m definitely going to be trying that one out!

Nancy’s last blog post..Would you like a little cheese

The Masked Mommy February 1, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I love everything you said about laundry rooms! And the picture you posted has got to be like the cutest laundry room in the whole world! I love your blog!

The Masked Mommy’s last blog post..Laundry Powwow!

Cathy February 2, 2009 at 11:04 am

Speaking of builders and laundry rooms and not thinking about them…I moved into a new house last year, and the builder at least had the foresight to put the laundry room on the second floor, and, as you say Julia, it has saved countless trips up and down stairs! However, when the washer and dryer were installed, the doors open in the middle instead of the outside (see the Better Homes and Gardens photo above for how it should be done). Even if we switch the dryer door to the other side, the washer door can’t be changed and the venting and plumbing that have been set up don’t allow for the washer and dryer to be switched!
This exact same thing happened to a friend of mine who has just finished building a house this year. So, if you’re building or renovating a house, I would strongly suggest you buy your appliances before the plumbing and venting from the laundry area are in place and get the doors set up properly!…there, I’ve vented enough.

Nancy February 4, 2009 at 11:56 am

I had to come back and thank you for this blog post. I’ve always been frustrated with all of my bedrooms being upstairs and my laundry room being down. I just had a plumber come and give me an estimate and it’s TOTALLY do-able! MUCH MUCH less than I envisioned. We’re going to have our laundry room moved! YAY!!! Thanks again. :)

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adie February 6, 2009 at 4:17 pm

amen to the laundry room issue! I’m a house junkie and happen to work part time for a home designer (yes, simply because I like houses…it’s not my main job) and I see over and over clients who want the laundry near the bedroom. Sometimes a seperate mini stack unit somewhere else in the house even, but usually they want the laundry easily accessible from the master bedroom. Sometimes this ends up being near the mudroom, but not an all in one as you discussed.
I love the pics of the BHG laundry room as well. I only get to have a closet laundry room currently in my 88yr old bungalow, off of my dining room no less(at least it’s covered with panel doors), and would love in the future to have a dedicated room so as not to have drying racks in my office….:)

melissa February 11, 2009 at 9:54 am

okay, all these posts make me want to build a house~right NOW. :) I agree that in an ideal situation, I would want the heavy duty washer and dryer upstairs next to the bedrooms and my second hand pair downstairs for lighter kitchen loads. I do like the laundry downstairs though simply because that’s where we spend most time and it’s easier to change loads, etc. In a Parade of Homes in Utah (I wish I had taken a picture!!) the full laundry was downstairs, and then they had installed a dumb waiter kind of pully system, where you put the basket of folded laundry in and then sent it upstairs to the hall by the bedrooms. Ingeniuous!

melissa’s last blog post..how cool is this?

Jess @ Just a Blink February 12, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Hi Julia! It is Jess from Just a Blink. Here is a link to my recent post about my laundry room (behind the kitchen and under the stairs) and my new “works for me” clothing routine.

Thanks for encouraging your readers to get the family involved! So Moms are buried in socks!

Jess @ Just a Blink’s last blog post..morning :: noon :: night

JoAndrew March 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Julia, I guess I’m one of those who enjoy having my laundry area at the back of my kitchen. It’s was made that way so that we could make use of the sun’s heat to dry some of our clothes and linens when the weather allows us to. Although some would consider it a bit primitive but we do have an area in our backyard where we hang our clothes to dry (we do avoid using the dryer if we can). We also have a chute where the dirty clothes come down from he second and third floors.

brena March 12, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Not sure if someone posted this already, most laundry rooms are located on the ground floor (or basement where the foundation of the house sits) near the garage in case of a water leak, if in a second story, by code you need to place a stainless steal pan under the machine and then you keep stubbing your foot in it…

Pam Galloway March 17, 2009 at 10:58 am

I’ve often thought the perfect house plan would have the laundry room smack dab in the middle of the house, with the closets from the bedrooms and a small section of kitchen wall adjacent. The dishtowel cabinet serving the kitchen could open from both rooms for easily loading the clean towels in from the laundry room side. With the laundry as the hub of this “wheel”, the traffic and toting would be minimized. Of course, you wouldn’t get the light from outside windows.

Vicki May 1, 2009 at 12:41 am

Don’t any of you hang your clothes outside to dry???? I couldn’t imagine anything worse than lugging wet clothes up and down stairs. My solution is to have a laundry basket inside each family members wardrobes. So no washing hanging around in the laundy waiting to be washed. On wash day each family member brings down their basket. I sort, wash, hang outside. Others in the family bring it in and sort. Each person puts own clothes away in their room.

Claire June 15, 2009 at 3:18 am

Hmmm … am I the only person left on the planet who lives in a ranch home? LOL Our laundry room is off the garage, next to the kitchen — and I actually love it! It’s on a concrete floor so an overflow would not be a terrible problem. (That’s happened only one time.) Dear hubby closed in the garage to make it a storage room/pantry a few years ago, so that does help. I used to have an outdoor clothesline and am planning to get one again. When we had one, our electric bill went down by $40-$50 dollars per month!

Julia, your laundry room is just beautiful. I guess I’m more of a utilitarian person. As long as I can get the job done quickly and efficiently (I did train my 6 children just as you are training yours — wow, what a time and energy-saver!), I’m good.

hookedonhouses June 15, 2009 at 6:36 am

Claire–I wish these laundry rooms were mine! They were featured in Better Homes & Gardens. A lot of people have mentioned clotheslines, which I think is great. Our homeowners association forbids them here or I’d love to have one myself! -Julia

Janice Thompson December 29, 2009 at 5:59 pm

We are not allowed to have a clothesline in our yard. I love having a laundry upstairs where there are 4 bedrooms.

Jessica February 1, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Our laundry room actually is off the hallway with our bedrooms and bathrooms. :-) One good thing about Australian houses, I guess. Haha I can’t think of any houses here that have the laundry room off the garage, like a mudroom. Still, I miss the houses in the USA so much!
.-= Jessica´s last blog ..~The Blessing of Friendship ~ =-.

HC June 30, 2010 at 10:10 am

Love your site! We also were not thrilled with the 2 story great room and I have always HATED having laundry off the garage. I always felt like I was folding clean clothes in the garage. All the dirt and junk was tracked into the laundry. So, we killed two birds with 1 stone and put in a 2nd floor in the great room. I now have a huge home office with a walk in closed, a computer area for the kids in the large hall and a 2nd floor laundry!!! Absolutely love it!

Barbara August 24, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Enjoyed this article! Haven’t seen any comments mentioning my laundry system — a hamper in each bedroom, and each occupant does his/her own laundry when it’s full — then puts it on the line or in the dryer, and back into their rooms. (I do the laundry for my husband and myself, in a larger hamper). I’ve had my kids doing their own since they were about 11 or so. Before that, I used the same system, but did laundry one room at a time, which prevented the boys clothes from getting mixed up, and then I had the kids put their own away, from a very young age — While I don’t mind housework, I believe they need to learn these life skills, and also not to be viewing Mom as a slave. Keeps laundry from being a tyrant in my life!

Stephanie October 27, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Just came across this thread in a search though I do follow, subscribe to (and LOVE) your blog! We ARE building and had our first meeting with our architect (who is a friend) and this topic came up. I was automatically thinking to put the laundry room in the back of the house behind the kitchen in the mudroom area. But our master bedroom will be DOWNSTAIRS towards the front of the house and the kids’ rooms will be upstairs. Any thoughts on what to do in this case?

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