I think of the utility as the hub of the home – the nerve centre. The place where (if you are lucky enough to have the space) you can do all your laundry, mending, ironing, store household items incl. cleaning products and excess bathroom and kitchen items ready for when they are all needed. In fact – the list is endless. You can use your utility to create a really functional and practical space, one that works for your needs exactly.
I have already created a post about general tips to get your utility sorted once and for all – and these are great for one off changes, but if you want to make a real difference then following my ADORE method would be the way forward – and I will take you through it step by step in this post.
I hope that it helps you as much as it has helped me, and I look forward to seeing your photos and hearing your stories of the changes!
The ADORE Method for Organising your Utility:-
A is for ASSESS
In the ASSESS section its probably worthwhile thinking about the WHO, WHY, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, as this will help you to ask the key questions required to make the space functional and practical for you and your family.
Who will use the space is a vital question, often overlooked. If there are children in your family, having cleaning products, medicine etc.. kept in higher cupboards makes sense as then little hands can’t get to them and hurt themselves.
If your family is older and helps around the house, having sections that are labelled for each item or group of items makes sense as they will then know easily where everything goes and where to put things back so that people can find them easily the next time they are required.
If its just you that will use the space, think about what you use most often and make this most convenient to get hold of. Least used products would go in high or low cupboards so they are still accessible but save your back a bit more from constant bending.
Why do you want a utility space? Answering this question here will help you to create zones in the space that are useful to you.
What has made you want to get your utility room organised? Having a set idea of the reasons you wanted to change the space will be a great motivational tool as you work through the space!
Another key WHAT is to ask yourself whats already working. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
WHAT are you going to store in the room, WHAT are you going to DO in the room. These questions will really dictate how the utility will be used.
If you are lucky enough to be starting from an empty space then it will also help to decide what sort of storage units, racks, spaces are required, and therefore help the space work best for you.
Identify your needs.
A laundry room that handles the clothes loads of just one person will have different needs than a laundry room for a family of six. Do you need room to fold clothes? Do you need cubbies for each person in the house? Do you need a bag for dry cleaning items that accidentally slipped into the dirty clothes hamper?
Also this is the place to ask what style you would like to have in the room – do you like open shelves or all closed away, do you have photos of spaces that you love and would like to emulate in your room? Getting to grips with this will really help to focus you on what you want to achieve.
As already discussed, the WHERE will help you to think about what storage you need.
Do you need high up cupboards, or more worksurface, do you need a sink, will you house the washing machine there and therefore will the plumbing dictate the layout of the room. Can you house any other items from the kitchen in this room to free up space such as a fridge freezer etc… Where to put things, and assessing whether there is enough space will be crucial to having the space work for you.
When will you use the room? Do you prefer daylight or do you often do these jobs at night and therefore do you need specific task lighting in certain places? Do you need a chair in the room? Is this is the room that you walk into the house via? Therefore do you need space for coats and shoes as well?
D is for DECLUTTER and CLEAN
The first thing to get done in this space is to get everything out of the room and clean the surfaces ready to put things back where you want to reorganise them.
With everything gone, dust and polish all surfaces working from top to bottom. Clean the washing machine, tumble dryer, sink etc…. and mop the floor. Even wipe down the walls or give it a fresh lick of paint (this won’t take long and can really give you a new lease of life as the room will feel lovely and new)
NB – Clean underneath the washing machine etc… but when you do this be careful not to disconnect your water, drainage or power!
Now is also a good time to wipe down any items that will be returning into the laundry area. Remove the dust and gunk that builds up over time.
Its also the time to get rid of any products or items that are past their best – that you no longer use, or that simply don’t serve a purpose in your home anymore. Write a list if you find that you need to purchase new items to replace them and add this to your next shopping list.
Before returning a single item to the laundry area, decide if it really belongs in the space and if the item meets your needs. You probably don’t need motor oil in your laundry room and you certainly don’t need a bottle of spray starch that is more than a decade old. Get rid of anything you haven’t touched in at least a year and only keep the things you actually use.
O is for ORGANISE
Look at the tips post for ideas for really getting organised, as I have listed a whole lot there for inspiration.
This is the time to either make adjustments to your existing fittings and storage, or to design you new space if starting from scratch.
You now should be totally aware of what you are storing there, how much space each things takes up, where in the room you would ideally like to store it, and how, and now (and only now!) is the time to go and purchase any extra items that you absolutely need to be able to fulfil the dream space!
Items that fit here are as follows:-
Hooks, Shelving, Cupboards, Baskets, Laundry baskets, boxes for little items such as batteries etc…, clothes dryer, wall hanging systems etc….
Label where you need to, so that the whole family can work in the space and can be independant so you get asked a lot less about where things are (Bliss!)
Basically, make the space work for you.
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R is for REAL LIFE
Now is the time to test the space.
You may think you have thought of every eventuality and worked out the perfect space for you, but until you actually use it, you don’t know for sure.
There are always things that we do that we don’t realise we do because they are such ingrained habits, but these may prove to be the undoing of one or more parts of your new utility.
Give the room at least a month of testing before you have completely decided something works or doesn’t. This gives you time to go through a few washing cycles, and gives you the chance to build up clutter etc… (not that you would now in your new space….!) which then leads me nicely onto…
E is for EVALUATE
Have you created a space that works for you and your family? What changes have worked and what haven’t? Do you need to look at a different way of doing certain things? This is the time to look at things and assess again.
Change what hasn’t worked and then go to Real Life again. Keep cycling through these 2 sections until you are happy – and then its just plain and simply maintenance going forward – what could be better than that!
If you have any questions or comments please reply below and we’ll get back to you always. As ever, we love to hear from you!.