Organizing The Unknown

This week I focused on picking storage for our new laundry room…

but I have no idea how the room is going to function in the new layout!

The Chaos

I spent the past week trying to decide on what storage to put in our laundry room. The room is getting a layout change; the entry to the room moved from the kitchen to our back hallway and the washer and dryer will now be on the same side of the room.

Old laundry room: The door was off the kitchen and the washer and dryer were on opposite sides of the room (not a major issue, just annoying).

1 - Old laundry room


So now I get to pick new storage for the room because all the old cabinets were removed. Picking storage that matches how you and your family function in a home makes it work so much better, but what if you don’t know how you will function in the new space?

  • Will it be more like a mudroom now that it’s close to where we enter the house?
  • Will it be a dumping ground for everything we bring into the house? The kitchen used to have our dumping ground, but now that countertop is gone and I’d like to move the dumping ground to another area.
  • Will the boys put their shoes on in the room since it’s close to the back door?

Too many unknowns!

Handling The Chaos

After spending a good amount of time spinning my wheels trying to figure out how to have a bench for the boys to put their shoes on, a countertop to dump items, and lots and lots of other storage, I took a step back. I needed to answer the question I always ask clients…

What is my goal and vision for this space?

This will give me a reference point when making storage decisions…which option will help me reach my goal and vision? I came up with these two items:

  • Flexibility. As we grow into our “new” home, how the room functions will change, so I want the storage to be as flexible as possible.
  • Coverage. The water and gas lines for the tankless water heater are at little boy level, so I want something to keep little hands away (and that we can easily move if necessary).

Another question to answer…

How will the room function?

I would love for the room to be proper mudroom and laundry room, but the reality is that it isn’t big enough. I had to determine my likely reality and let go of some of the functionality I wished the room could have.

I really wanted to include a bench where the boys could put on their shoes, but the likely reality would be me fighting with them  to get to the laundry room to put their shoes on and the boys fighting with each other in a small room. Not pretty.

Once I removed the fantasy of them perfectly putting their shoes on in the laundry room, I opened up a lot of space for other storage that makes more sense to have in the room (dirty clothes, cleaning supplies, the dumping ground).

Back hallway where the boys used to putting on their shoes –
why change it if it worked?

2 - Old back hallway


Once I had my goals (flexibility and coverage) and my likely reality figured out, I could figure out the best storage.


I love the elfa system from The Container Store and started there as my first storage option. It provides ton of flexibility (one of my main goals) and we had some leftover that we didn’t use when we installed shelving in the storage room. Anything I can do to save money makes J happy!


I considered having the contractors build something over the gas and water lines, but couldn’t see how to make it useful storage. But a tower of drawers would be good storage, would block the boys from the lines, and be easy to move if needed. Done!

The tray and pan under the water heater will be removed and replaced with a set of elfa drawers with a top. The rest of this wall will be shelving, a countertop at the same height as the drawer top (for our new dumping ground – I hope!), drawers, and hamper storage.

3 - Water heater wall


Above the washer and dryer we’ll have a simple set of shelving that will still allow the washer to open.

4 - WD wall


On the back wall, I’m planning on hanging storage for brooms, mops, dustpans, etc. I might be able to do more there later, but I need to see what’s needed first.

5 - Back wall


I had elfa designs done at The Container Store and cannot wait for the shelving to get installed when the rooms are ready!

Bits of Calm To Remember

  • Keep things that work for you. Having the boys put their shoes on in the hallway worked before. Why go through the hassle of re-training them just because I want them to do it in another space?
  • Keep it simple. I always try to make things more complicated than necessary…how many functions can I shove into a small room? Taking a step back, deciding on my main goals, and keeping things simple will give me the best solution.
  • Take a step back. When spinning my wheels, I need to take a step back and figure out what question I’m trying to answer and what problem I’m trying to solve.

Pantry Update

After much discussion with the contractors on the pantry, we have a perfect corner pantry framed out! It’s exactly what I envisioned in my head ☺

6 - Framed pantry


What’s Next?

We are in a holding pattern as the contractors keep chugging along. My focus is trying to keep the family happy in our tight quarters!


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