March 4, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Laundry Room and Workbench Makeover

As my personal home organizing projects continue, I’d like to share some lessons learned. As many of you know, I love doing laundry. My laundry room is a form of a sanctuary for me. The simple act of putting dirty clothes into the washing machine and then into the dryer with the proper products and temperature settings results in plentiful options for getting dressed in the morning. I love sorting the clothes by color and delicates, ensuring that each of our articles of clothing will be handled with the respect and care that our investment demands. I feel a deep connection to our clothing, and perhaps I have a bit too much respect for their treatment, storage and use. I won’t cook a meal, but I keep my family in clean clothes laundered with love.

Our closets are thoughtfully limited to the amount of clothing that is stored. I do not have a problem putting a hanger back on the rack or removing a shirt from the upper bar, unlike many homes, where clothing is packed so tightly in the closet it is near impossible to access a favorite blouse, let alone put it back once it’s been laundered. Dirty clothes are promptly placed in the hamper and washed as needed.

Back to the subject at hand, my laundry room makeover. This is a shared space that also houses Don’s workbench, the water softener, along with plastic stackable shelves where we store our paper products, cereals in plastic storage cartons and assorted cleaning supplies. I had been getting the itch to make some improvements to this space for a long time. My schedule never allowed the opportunity to devote to said task. While sheltering in place, Don and I agreed to take on this challenge and when the time is right, we will address the colors of the wall, improve the condition of Don’s workbench and address the dreaded fluorescent lighting, hopefully by the end of the summer.

We sorted through every screwdriver, pair of scissors, assorted tools (many I had no idea what they were used for), and car cleaning product that we had in our possession. I was amazed at how many multiples of items that we had in stock, including some tools from my reed making days when I was in college. For those of you who understand the obligation of playing a double reed instrument, you can appreciate my connection with those tools. And by the way, I did keep two of those items just for the sentiment.

We sorted, tossed, recycled and saved…and then we began moving things around to make the space more comfortable. At the end of the day—and yes it did take almost a day to complete—I felt renewed. We both did.

Lessons learned from our laundry room/workbench makeover: 1. It’s OK to save a few extra screwdrivers “just in case.” 2. Keep the purchase of household chemicals to a minimum. In my opinion, there are too many unused chemicals in our homes. 3. Better is good enough, perfect may not be an option due to financial constraints, pandemic lifestyle restrictions, or just the desire to get it done now without a lot of fuss. 4. Take before, during, and after photos so you can enjoy a sense of accomplishment. 5. And the final lesson that is ongoing…maintaining an organized space takes effort (but we already knew that, right?).

What projects are on your wish list? Perhaps you want to sort through the jackets, gloves, scarves and hats in the front hall closet? Maybe that kitchen junk drawer just got on your last nerve? You use the same sheets and towels over and over because the linen closet is bursting at the seams, and you have no idea what is stored in there? There is still time to get to these projects on your wish list. Why not schedule time on your calendar to begin a small one just to get started? Be realistic about what your expectations are, don’t overthink decisions, and just enjoy the process.

Happy Organizing!


Eileen Bergman is a professional organizer and a proud member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). Eileen is listed in the resource directory for the Hoarding Disorder Resource and Training Group. Eileen may be reached at 973-303-3236 or [email protected].

©2020 Eileen Bergman

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