The laundry room of most homes is a dreary place, often outfitted with cement walls and pipes in a dank basement setting. Occasionally, the washer and dryer are afforded a secret hideout behind closed doors in a hallway. Some houses even go so far as to honor them with a bit of real estate in the kitchen. But, never ever are these monstrous pieces of equipment considered beautiful, and therefore, the area that contains them, is not seen that way either. By the very nature of their existence, we consider them and what surrounds them to be either dirty or in the process of being made clean. The laundry room is a place for work, not for beauty.
No real creativity is needed to wash clothes. Folding clothes is a rather monotonous task as well. The only thing aspect of doing laundry that even remotely qualifies as an intellectual pursuit is the job of pre-treating stains. If we were entirely honest with ourselves, we would all agree that laundry rarely ranks first as a favorite household chore. So, all this said, it would be utterly ridiculous to expect the room in which the laundry and its various accoutrements preside to be a lovely, aesthetically-pleasing place. Wouldn’t it?
Absolutely not! I spend a goodly amount of time in the laundry room each and every day climbing Mount Washmore. Why not make that space something that is pleasing to the eye. Could it be that laundry is even more of a chore when the area of the house we do this task in seems reminiscent of a dungeon?
I was first exposed to the idea of decorating my laundry area after visiting my cousin Tina’s home. Her washer and dryer stood off the side of the kitchen and had all sorts of adorable little signs loitering about. I smiled at her ingenuity, and tucked the memory in the back of my mind where I file all those things I really hope to do someday.
Shortly thereafter, we moved. The house we now lived in had the laundry area right smack dab in the middle of the kitchen. I was appalled, but determined to make the best of it. So, with an assortment of functional and froo-froo items, I proceeded to decorate my new laundry area. I added a shelf for soap, a sorting hamper, and for a little hint of playfulness, a “laundry line” with little crocheted dresses that were supposed to be potholders that no one in their right mind would ever use for that purpose. I was pleased with the result.
However, after the next move, my creativity waned a bit. For the first time, my laundry area was in the basement right next to the hot water heater and the furnace. The walls were cement with just a tiny bit of paneling to the right of the dryer. There really was nothing lovely about this space. But, I once again, hung up my little dresses and added 2 new items to the functionality of the space. One was plastic shelving containing the 3 laundry baskets that belonged to my husband and I, the boys, and the girls. The other was another type of plastic shelving that held my soaps and stray socks. I also had started adding Scripture throughout the house, so this spot was blessed with Psalm 51: 1,2
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
So, this was the sight that greeted me each day…
It could have been worse. But, the fact of the matter is, it could have been a whole lot better too. But how? How do you “fix” cement and pipes? Well, inspiration came at last! While watching Cat’s videos on decluttering, I took special note of her laundry room and what she had chosen to do there. Now, her laundry room is nothing like mine, but seeing hers brought me to a point where I could once again brainstorm ideas for making this space a beautiful one.
So, I took some fabric from my collection (some people collect coins, I collect fabric), and took a quick measurement, cut the fabric and serged up the two frayed sides. Next, I used magnetized chip-clips and clipped the fabric and stuck the magnet to the pipes above my washer and dryer. Voila! Instant coverage of the cement and pipes.
Next, I took a length of ivy I wasn’t using about the house (I love foliage because it makes me feel like the outside is inside, and there is something incredibly calming in that for me), and I taped it (yes, I said “taped it”) to the tops of my washer and dryer.
After that, I hung some small baskets from the exposed wall stud next to my dryer and placed some ivy picks in those baskets. I cleaned off the top of my dryer and turned a sewing basket no one was using into a dryer sheet holder.
I was thrilled with the results! It has become a place I smile at whenever I walk by! And all this beauty cost me nothing. Everything I used was already in my home!
But, you may still be wondering why. Why go to the trouble of making the area look beautiful when there really is nothing wonderful about doing laundry. You are only there for a little while several times a day. Who cares if it is pretty?
My question would be, “Why not?” Why shouldn’t the places I spend my time in as a wife and mother all be beautiful? There is nothing wrong with beauty. Look at all the beauty our Lord created! Why should this little corner of my basement be devoid of joy simply because I am there to do a mundane task? How much better would you feel about fulfilling this task if you were surrounded by things you enjoyed looking at as you worked? Isn’t it possible you might even become inspired long enough by the beauty around you to forget the fact that you despise doing laundry?
Start simple: add a throw rug or a picture. Consider how that one little touch makes you feel. Add a little more, and before you know it, you will have created a space that makes you smile, even if the task that is accomplished there, does not.