If you are lucky enough to have a set of drawers in the laundry room, you will probably know how easy it is for them to become a catch-all for all your knick knacks and belongings. Eventually they become “junk drawers”.
While they are supposed to be a source of convenience, when we really need something, we rummage through them leaving them in a worse state. Or we forget that we have it there and run out to the shops to buy it. Out of sight is out of mind!
My wish for this blog post is that it will motivate you to set up your own drawer in the laundry so that it is beautifully laid out, sorted, and you will never have to go on a “treasure hunt” to find something.
Imagine not having to wander all over your home like a headless chook to find items that should be accessible to you in your laundry.
I must confess – I am one of the last of the “ironing breed”. Most of my friends take the clothes down from the line and fold or hang them, ironing only when needed. You know who you are. (wink, wink)
I tried. Believe me, I did. But I did not hate ironing enough to stick with the habit. You see, I just found that binging on YouTube or Netflix makes it an enjoyable process. In fact, I look forward to ironing once or twice a week! With my motivation locked in, I organised the drawer closest to my pull-out ironing board as my “go-to drawer” for everything fabric-care related. I went for complete refresh as it has been a couple of years since I organised it last. At the time I used bamboo boxes that I purchased from Kmart. However, they did not fully fill out the drawer and the thickness of each box took up valuable space – it looked “heavy” to me. This is what it looked like:
It was time to take stock and identify what I no longer needed to make room for the things that mattered. I also wanted to make the dividers flexible enough to suit my needs. While there are lots of drawer dividers in the market – adjustable and in different finishes, from plastic to metal – they didn’t quite allow me the flexibility I needed. I made my own. This was the result:
Here’s why my new drawer system rocks:
- Everything is visible at a glance,
- Items don’t move around as I open or close the drawer, and
- I’ll be able to keep it looking like this for a long time.
Interested in setting up yours?
Here’s my ultimate guide to setting up and organising your laundry drawer. You will learn to figure out what to store, how to store them, and how to make custom dividers that optimise space.
You will need:
- Tape measure
- Pencil and paper
- Cutting mat
- Stanley or craft knife
- Painters or masking tape
- Choice of board: Presentation board (that’s what I used) or foam board (5mm thick) works best. You can also use balsa wood or basswood but cutting them is a bit tricky as they tend to split when cut against the grain. They can be (relatively speaking) more expensive – especially if you miscalculate or make a mistake.
- Contact paper (optional)
- Double sided sticky tape and/or foam tape (optional)
What to store?
You must decide on the purpose of the drawer:
Is it to help you with your washing activities?
Then, you might consider items like concentrated fabric softener cushions, lint removers, laundry washing tablets, antistatic balls for the drier etc.
- Gather all the items you want to store and make a list
- Group similar items together.
I did this in the list as I was refreshing my drawer so the current groupings didn’t change too much.
- Empty and clean the drawer
- Measure the inside of the drawer draw it up on a piece of paper
- Work out the layout of the drawer by placing the grouped items inside. This is a good time to re-assess what you really want to keep, throw out or move to another place. This may sound easy enough but sometimes can be challenging, especially when you are editing your groups. For example, I would lump the antistatic balls with the cosmetic brush I use to clean the lint off the drier door. That makes sense to me as the items are all drier-related. However, I decided to keep the balls in the drier, so I was left with just the brush. It didn’t make sense to create a divider to house the brush, so it joined the lint brushes… After all, they are all removing lint one way or another, right?!
- Once you have your final groupings, start planning the layout of your dividers either on the paper, if it’s easier, or directly on the drawer (like I did).
- Infrequently used items go to the back
- Most-used items, you guessed it, go towards the front
- Ensure that small loose items are contained in a clear box or container
- Store sewing items in a closed container as cotton attracts lint easily
Don’t forget the vertical space! It’s valuable. Use stackable containers where required. I used mine to store the shirt brass collar stiffeners, loose buttons, and safety pins.
- Mark out the space with tape of the same width as the separators. In my case, the dividers are 5mm thick, so I cut the painter’s tape to that size. Here’s what my layout looked like:
Use the tape as a guide only. You need to measure the length and width for each division accurately before cutting!
- Decide what the height of your divisions will be. Often, the sides of the drawer are shorter than the face of the drawer. Make the dividers the same as the shorter drawer height.
- Take note of the longest running dividers length and cross-wise as they become the anchors and should fit snuggly without bending (when cut too long) or falling over (when cut too short).
- To work out the intersection points, mark out where the intersection will occur and cut the width of the material being used (in my case, 5mm).
- Mark it out and cut out the slit to half the height of the divider. Decide which dividers will have the slit on the bottom and which ones will be on the top. E.g., slits are cut at the bottom for all the dividers going across and at the top for the ones going lengthwise. At this point, you will need measure carefully using your markings with the painters tape as your guide and continue cutting the slits, slotting them into place and continuously testing them in the drawer.
- As I was reusing the presentation board, it looked a bit worse for wear. I decided to cover the dividers to give them a fresh look, but you can skip this step.
- I reassembled the dividers and placed them in the drawer – If you find that a divider moves too freely secure it with a piece of foam tape and/or double-sided sticky tape cut to the thickness of your divider.
- Place your groupings into their compartments and voilà! You now have everything in its place! It looks clean, tidy and believe me that it doesn’t leave room to throw things randomly that are not needed or don’t belong.
My thought process behind organising the laundry drawer – what goes where
- Notepad and pen: frequency of usage/occurrence – low
As I watch YouTube or Netflix when I iron, having a notepad and pen handy is imperative. Sometimes it might be that I run out of something whilst ironing so I can note it down and add it to the shopping list, or the YouTuber may recommend a store or a website to visit. This doesn’t occur every time I iron, so I placed it at the back of the drawer.
- Mesh bags: frequency of usage/occurrence – low
I use them when washing delicate items only, so again, they go at the back.
- Old handkerchief or cloth napkins: usage/occurrence – low
When ironing delicate fabrics, I like to use a cloth such as an old handkerchief or cloth napkin. I also use them when ironing t-shirts with rubber or vinyl stamping so I don’t singe them. Again, not something I use frequently, so it went to the back.
- Brass stiffeners: frequency of usage/occurrence – high
When I wash the shirts, I remove the brass stiffeners and conversely, as I iron them, I place them back in the collars. These I use each time I iron so it is placed towards the front.
- Sewing kit: frequency of usage/occurrence – high
If I notice that a garment needs mending or sewing, I have the kit handy to sew a loose button or a hem. Small jobs only, that’s why I placed these items towards the front. I also keep iron-on hemming tape and iron on mending patches handy in case the humble cotton and needle can’t do the job…. Or maybe it’s me trying to find the easy way out…
- Scissors: frequency of usage/occurrence – high
I need scissors constantly! Either to remove loose threads from the washing or open packets in the laundry. I always have them handy. I have found that of late, tags attached to the garments around the neckline really bother me (I must be sensitive to the material used). I need to pick them or cut them off.
- Remote control: frequency of usage/occurrence – high
My remote always needs to be handy – if I am folding, washing or ironing, it is great to have a distraction! For a recommendation of great shows on Netflix, hit me up!
- Labels and markers: frequency of usage/occurrence – moderate
Albeit my children are older and don’t need their things labelled; I find that the laundry pens, markers, and iron-on labels are great to label sheets. My kids both have double beds and we have a Queen… Sometimes, I find it difficult to tell them all apart so labelling them is very handy.
- Lint removers: frequency of usage/occurrence – high
I have different lint removers depending on the fabric and how big or small the job is. I recommend getting the battery operated one as it is excellent at removing pilling from woollens.
- Personal care items: frequency of usage/occurrence – depends on your level of OCD (kidding!)
Sometimes when I am ironing, my nail may catch on fine fabrics like satin or silk and I do not want to run upstairs to file my nail file. I also like to give my hands a bit of TLC by moisturising them with my favourite hand cream before I start ironing. Thus, I keep these two items easily accessible in the drawer.
There you have it! – my ultimate guide to organising your laundry drawer to turn your laundry space into a mini-haven for you to get some well deserved “me time”. Or, just to get in and get out as fast as you can, simply because you’re totally organised! If you have any questions, drop me a message and I’ll be happy to respond!