Our laundry closet has been in desperate need of a refresh since we moved into our home seven years ago. Being the master procrastinator that I am, I ignored it for so long because the task seemed too daunting. But my motivation to de-clutter, reorganize, and purge was at an all-time high during my pregnancy (it was "nesting" to the Nth degree!) and I decided it was high time to take on my laundry closet.
Since I was too impatient to take "before" photos of any of the spaces around my home that I reorganized, I'll have to paint you a picture of what this closet used to look like. I think the previous owners had experienced a streak of whimsy when they put this closet together because the space was painted a sky blue, and rainbow colored floating shelves were placed on all three walls. "A rainbow in the sky", if you will.
I didn't mind it so much because the shelving offered a lot of storage and since the closet was closed when not in use, I didn't have to stare at it. But one day I opened the closet door and was met with an avalanche of paper towels. I had placed them precariously on the top-most shelf which had been drooping for quite a while. It had finally given out, and drooped so low that absolutely nothing would stay put, hence the avalanche. That was the last straw. I pulled everything out of the closet right then and there, and started taking down the floating shelves (a tedious job normally, but much harder when you're 8 months pregnant).
Needless to say, when my husband got home from work and saw me sitting on top of the washer prying screws out of the wall he darn-near thought I had lost my mind. And as any good husband who's seen the crazed look of a nesting pregnant woman, he gently took the screwdriver out of my hand, helped me off the washer and, with the patient tone one might use when talking to a child who wants to be like the big kids, promised to do the job himself.
Over the course of several days, we pulled out all the old screws, spackled over the holes, sanded, painted the walls, and installed the shelves (this last bit was the most time consuming as we had to cut the shelves down and reinstall them several times). After all was done, I made a list of everything I needed for this space, writing things down like "large bin for extra bath mats" and "3 dispensers for liquid detergents" and so on. I spent about $100 total for all the organization items, which was a little over my budget, but after using this space almost everyday since, I'm happy with the decision as all the items have proved to be sturdy, functional, and beautiful.
When it comes to designing a space, I have a pretty structured process. Before I get started on a project, I usually think hard about what I envision the space to be and how I plan to use it. For example, this laundry closet needed to have room for all of our laundry and bathroom essentials but also be able to house everything I use to clean the upstairs area (because no one wants to lug cleaning supplies up the stairs whenever the bathroom needs a scrubbing), plus some extra space for things I have no official home for.
Most people use a laptop and some form of designing software, but because I love to draw I tend to do all my "designing" freehand. I had this space planned out (more or less) for about 2 months before I actually began putting it together. I started by taking measurements of the space and plotted out the area in a simple graphing composition notebook I use that holds all my designs. After putting in the items that can't be moved (like the washer & dryer), I added new shelves, paint color options, bins, bottles, and an idea for a skinny drawer unit that could fit between the appliances.
I kept a detailed list of items I needed for the space and how many of each I required, colors of organizing bins I was looking for, and made note of the approximate budget I had. Then I went shopping. Once I had purchased everything, it was all a matter of putting things in their designated bins and bottles and placing them accordingly.
I find that when I spend some time planning out a space, it saves me a lot of heartache and hassle when I'm ready to start. Plus I don't end up going to the store twenty times to return things, purchase, and then return them again (Yay for efficiency! And a full tank of gas!)