A brand new laundry room

With a laundry room that’s shared with the soon-to-be-finished basement apartment, completing the laundry room couldn’t be separated from the basement remodeling project. So before we could finish and rent the space, we had to quickly decide how to best organize the laundry room while also incorporating the purchase of a new dryer. Should we get a stackable dryer and go ahead and replace our ancient but functional washer at the same time, or save a few bucks and get the traditional side by side loaders?

Or should we just keep the laundry where we had it for a solid month last summer?

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No? Not a good idea?

After a few days of work over Thanksgiving, we had a new tile floor for the laundry room and finished all the painting, leaving only one thing to do: replace the dryer that buzzes and never shuts off after a cycle, unless you open the door (and leave it open). No, really, that’s been a pain…

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The biggest decision was whether or not to go expensive and stackable. We were still using the Kenmore washer from sometime in the mid 80’s and a slightly newer dryer that came with the house when we bought it over three years ago.

As with everything in the house, space is at premium, so we needed to figure out which format would be best for a) a shorter woman of the house to use (I can reach anything!) and b) maximize all of the space possible for storage. While looking at stackable and traditional dryers alike, I downloaded SketchUp and had a crash course via youtube videos to learn enough about it to scratch out renderings so Rachel could make a better decision.

I was surprised with what we found out.

laundry stack

laundry side by side

After mocking up the two setups, we realized that putting them side-by-side actually would net us a little more usable storage space.

We also wanted space above somehwere to hang clothes on hangers and also have a large flat surface that could be used for ironing or folding clothes, in addition to all the shelves. And Rachel wanted to change from the big two handled wide laundry baskets to the slim, tall versions that are easier to carry up and down narrow stairs.

It would ultimately save us money, too, since we’d only need to replace the dryer for now and a non-stackable front loader is so much cheaper. And we’d eek along with the solid yet ancient washer until it craps out and then replace it. (Honestly, an 1980’s Kenmore like we’ve got is probably far more reliable and durable than a new expensive front loader these days…)

We got the new dryer delivered before the end of the year, but building the shelves had to wait after pulling a muscle in my ribcage just after Thanksgiving. That knocked me out of commission for the better part of almost a month, and then it was Christmas.

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Kinda lonely in there with just the washer and dryer, eh? And all that wasted space!

I bought some 3/4″ sanded plywood to build shelves, a little bit of trim to cover that front cut edge, and I used the smoothest 2×4’s I could find for the shelf supports. I think I finished this project over the MLK weekend between Saturday and Sunday. As with most projects like this, 90% of the time was spent painting. And then doing other work on the basement while waiting for the primer and then two coats of paint to dry!

But the end product turned out very nice!

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In the first photo, you can see a wooden dowel hooked to the ceiling for hanging clothes at the top right. Just low enough so Rachel can reach it with a clothes hanger.

The rest of the dowel? In two pieces over there holding up two of the shelves. The top shelf is supported by the dowel screwed into a stud in the ceiling so as to avoid having to obstruct the shelf below with another support below it.

The space below the waist-level shelf is tall, so we can fit 4-5 tall laundry bins in there, and the shelf that gets hidden behind it down low is where we can store items used not so often, like my chopsaw or other bulky tools. Thinking ahead, we put in an electrical socket, not visible here, just around the wall to the left at the level of the big waist-level shelf. Ready to go for an iron or whatever is needed.

The middle shelf is backed off of the window far enough so that we can still open the window fully for egress. Or just fresh air when the weather is nice.

And lastly, two angular shelves in the corner with to keep the essentials for laundry close at hand.

And with that, we finally have a proper laundry room. A far cry from where we started, I’d say.

Pre-closing: Inspector
The old “laundry room.”

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