12 Must-Haves for the Family Laundry

I never used to care much about laundry matters. When it was just myself and the hubster, even before then, my interest in the laundry really didn’t extend beyond whether or not my clothes were ready yet.


But my family grew. I now run a household of six, which amounts to roughly ten loads of washing a week once you factor in towels and sports gear.

Consequently, for a long long time I have had wistful laundry dreams.  Dreams of a space that has everything I need. Our laundry is tiny so I didn’t really believe it was possible to have my dreams come true… but my Bobby Dazzler has done it!

Our small but smart laundry. We sourced most things for this refit from Bunnings, the fittings are from their wardrobe organiser range. Ready made bench, adapted to fit over laundry tub. Hooks from Fagan’s in Whitianga, Tiles from Tile Warehouse. The walls are Resene Half Drought.

I kid you not, I find myself hanging out in our laundry these days by choice. The warm quiet of that tiny room; the scent of clean clothes and the knowledge that everything is as tickety-boo as can be. It’s my new secret hideout!

A great deal of analysis and thought went into our laundry.  It needed to be functional enough to make the kids doing their chores easy. Because this job is too big for one of me.  The way I have set it up, they can sort their own dirty laundry, and find their clean laundry easily. The sock sorter knows exactly where to find the pile of odd socks. We’re set.

Just in case you are renovating or planning your own laundry, here is my curated list of laundry must-haves.

  1. A drawer for all the socks so they are in one place for pairing. No more odd socks drifting around the house!
  2. A long hanging rail with coat hangers for drying knitwear and delicates, longer at one end for maxi dresses and drapey items.
  3. A retractable shelf for all the laundry potions, within easy reach of machine, with baskets for pocket finds* and miscellany.
  4. Rails for hanging smalls and delicates to air dry.
  5. Bench space for dumping big loads before folding, de-pilling and de-linting.
  6. Sorting baskets. I recommend three large (lights, mediums and darks) and one XXL for linens
  7. Hooks for all the various laundry, PE and sports bags
  8. Shelves for air drying washed shoes
  9. Shelves for stacking clean laundry into piles for collection
  10. A massive capacity washing machine
  11. A reliable drier for the rainy days.
  12. A juiced-up, battery-charged, de-pilling machine and a lint sticky roller
Sock drawer! Even when these are unsorted, people who can’t find their socks know exactly where to come to dig around for their pair. Best. Bit. Ever.
Sorting baskets. These are almost a metre tall and go back the depth of the bench. The kids bring their laundry down and sort directly into these baskets. Saves so much time!
This shelf slides out between the drier and washer, so I can get right to the back of it without having to contort myself.

*Family Rule: if it is left in the pockets, it belongs to me!  This gem was passed down to me from my Mum.  Helps the kids remember to empty their pockets before sorting their washing, and provides me with a handy coin stash.

Last time the washing machine broke down, I asked the repair man what kind of washer he would buy himself. He said, instantly: a Maytag. This brand is usually seen in coin operated laundries. Mine is a 10kg top loader and can take two sets of King sheets in one load, or six towels. I’ve had it now for 7 years and it is still going strong. That repairman put it down to the sturdy steel componentry. He was right. It’s brilliant. Without it, I’d be doing double the washes.  If you have a big family too, consider the humble Maytag. She’s chunky, but determined!  I like that kinda gal.

My hanging rails, shelves and the removable bench top over the laundry tub.

What’s on your laundry must-have list?