Answer: Laundry cart


Q. I’m looking for a small laundry cart with a bar for hanging up clothes.  I’ve seen this type of cart in laundromats but I don’t need the industrial size, I only want it for my home. Can you help?

A.  I think the Chrome Rolling Laundry Cart from Household Essentials is exactly what you’ve been looking for.  It has a pole with a hanging bar above the basket section; the basket is 7 inches high by 23.5 inches wide by 19.5 inches deep, There’s also a wire shelf below the basket for holding detergent, softener and other laundry accessories.  


Laundry Organizers


Laundry organizers can do more than just keep your laundry room tidy.  Also known as laundry sorters, the best of these wheeled wonders–which typically offer two, three or four laundry compartments–are designed to save you time, with helpful features such as ironing boards, clothes hanging rods, storage shelves and surfaces for folding.

What’s also great about these multi-function laundry organizers is how compact they are.  Here are three efficient examples to help you make the most of your laundry room space:

  • The Triple Sorter Rolling Laundry Hamper performs triple duty–in addition to three cotton canvas laundry bags for simple sorting, Rolling Laundry Hamper - Triple Sorter Imageit has a clothing rod for hanging pressed garments or air-drying delicate articles of clothing, and a top shelf for holding laundry accessories.  A wire shelf below the hanging bags provides support for when the bags are filled.
  • Another triple-function laundry organizer is the Laundry Sorter with Ironing Board, which lets you easily sort, iron and fold clothing in one convenient location.  The built-in ironing board features a thick foam pad and heat-resistant cotton cover to provide a smooth ironing surface. The board lifts up to reveal a laundry sorter with three removable laundry bags that hang securely on the frame with metal handles for easy carrying. The bags have side mesh panels for adequate ventilation and the interior is coated to provide resistance to odors and mildew.
  • The dual-function Laundry Folding Table and Double Sorter consists of a stationary table for folding, with a slide-out two-bag laundry Laundry Folding Table - Double Sorter Imagesorter underneath. A bottom bar on the rolling sorter helps support full bags of laundry, and the bags can easily be removed for transport.

For more ideas on laundry room organization, read my earlier posts on laundry room organizers and laundry storage solutions; also space-saving laundry drying racks and laundry baskets.


Portable Closets


Never enough closet space?  Portable closets to the rescue!

Portable closets, aka rolling wardrobes, are ideal for storing out-of-season or infrequently worn clothes and accessories.  The old-style rolling wardrobe is basically just a garment rack with a zippered cover–it’s only designed for storage of hanging garments. But portable closets tend to include more features, such as shelves and pockets that allow you to also store folded clothing and other items.

Here are three types of space-efficient portable closets, all with fabric covers and smooth-rolling casters:

  • The Rolling Wardrobe Rack offers three storage sections: a top zippered shelving area for folded clothes, hats or handbags; Rolling Wardrobe Rack Imagea steel rod that provides 30 linear inches of hanging space; and a ventilated bottom shelf for shoe storage.  The roll-up door makes it easy to access hanging garments and footwear; the top section has a triangular flap door.
  • The versatile Mobile Wardrobe Center provides  multiple storage options–the exterior features eight mesh pockets (sized for four pairs of shoes), a removable hamper bag for laundry (attached by Velcro and with a shoulder strap for easy transport), a wooden bar for hanging ties and scarves, removable pockets for toiletries, and additional pockets for undergarments and socks.  The zip-up door has a clear section at the top so you can easily view your hangered clothes.
  • The Clothes Armoire with Shelves has four compartments for keeping stacks of folded clothes and accessories organized, Clothes Armoire With Shelves Imageplus a closet bar that can hold up to 50 pounds of hanging garments. The bottom part is fully enclosed (unlike that of the Rolling Wardrobe Rack) to keep the contents protected.

Other types of portable closets can be found here.


Space-saving laundry baskets


Traditional laundry baskets take up way too much room. Whether round, oval, square or rectangular, those hard plastic or wicker baskets are bulky space-wasters. (Especially since they’re empty half the time.)

When space is in short supply, collapsible laundry baskets are a better choice.  Here are some of my favorite space-saving laundry baskets:

  • The nylon mesh Pop Up Triple Laundry Sorter is more than just a collapsible laundry basket–it’s divided into three sections to help youPop Up Triple Laundry Sorter Image automatically sort your washables.  This clever laundry container features a flexible wire frame that makes it a snap to pop open and then, when empty, folds away quickly for compact storage.  The handles provide easy transport and also allow you to hang up the folded-up basket when it’s not in use.
  • The Pop and Fold Mesh Laundry Basket and the Pop Up Laundry Hamper are similar to the above but offer an open design (no dividers), with nylon mesh and flexible wire construction, and sturdy carrying straps.
  • A more heavy-duty option is the Rectangle Crunch Container–it’s made of canvas and features a PVC lining. Rectangle Crunch Container ImageThe lining is somewhat rigid to allow the tote to be crunched down, and to expand and stand up on its own. Simply open the tote and form it into whatever shape you need. Both the canvas exterior and the PVC lining can easily be cleaned with a damp cloth. Two comfortable handles provide easy toting.

Dorm Closet Maximizers


For dorm dwellers, making the most of a small closet isn’t just a challenge–it’s a necessity. A dorm closet needs to function as more than a mere clothes closet.  Dormies also need to stash away laundry, shower supplies and whatever doesn’t fit under the bed.

Utilizing the closet door is one of the best ways to create storage from wasted space. Here are four types of door storage solutions that work well as dorm closet maximizers–and for studio apartment closets, too:

  • The Door Knob Hamper can be hung inside or outside a closet on the door knob (or from a closet bar or over-door hook).Canvas Door Knob Hamper Image  It’s handy for keeping dirty laundry off the floor or storing clean towels or other items. The patented design features a swiveling hook on a steel frame that holds the hamper open for easy access yet is only six inches deep.  The hook also functions as a carrying handle for toting to the laundry room.  Another thoughtful feature is that the large canvas bag (two-load capacity) has a full-length zipper that makes it simple to empty laundry directly into the washing machine or onto a surface for sorting.  The bag is also removable for washing.
  • The Mesh Shower Caddy provides ample storage for shower supplies and toiletries yet takes up little space, since it can also be hung on a door knob or hook.
  • The Over the Door Storage Baskets rack consists of a steel frame with six ventilated plastic basketsOver the Door Storage Baskets Image that are ideal for storing all sorts of supplies.  Tip:  To help keep everything organized, decide what you want to store in the baskets and then use removable labels to label the edge of each basket.
  • Over-the-door hooks and over-the door racks (with multiple hooks) are useful for hanging everything from hats to hoodies, belts and bags.

More over-the-door organizers can be found here.


Laundry Room Organizers


If you’re lucky enough to have a laundry room in your home, you can turn it into an efficient laundry center that will make your life easier. But creating a functional home laundry in a small and/or awkwardly shaped area is a challenge.

Fortunately there are several specialized products designed to utilize every precious inch of limited laundry space.  Here are some of my favorite laundry room organizers:

  •  For laundry rooms that have a utility tub sink, the Laundry Tub Top is a hard plastic cover that instantly creates a counter on Laundry Tub Top Imagetop of the sink unit; integrated hooks allow you to hang it from the side of the tub when not in use.  Designed to fit most standard-sized laundry tubs, it provides a handy surface for pre-treating stains, folding laundry or storing supplies.
  • The 3-Tier Slim Laundry Cart lets you safely store supplies in the gap between or alongside your washer and dryer–it’s only 7.25 inches wide and rolls out on casters so you can easily access all three shelves.
  • The Washing Machine Storage Rack provides a simple way to utilize the wasted vertical space above your washer or dryer without having to install shelving.  The rack featureWashing Machine Storage Rack Images two shelves supported on a sturdy frame that straddles the machine, plus a cross bar for hanging laundry fresh out of the dryer or air-drying delicates.

Other types of laundry room organizers can be found here.


Answer: How to begin organizing


Q. I am hoping you can help because I am at a loss and things are way out of control! I am a college student and I need to be organized. My clothes are very disorganized (even though I have a hamper, ample dresser and wardrobe space in my dorm), my desk is a mess (even though if I organized some my drawers would accommodate everything) and  all of this disorganization is affecting my academics and life. How do I begin organizing?

A. You asked: “How do I begin organizing?”  There’s an old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This bit of wisdom applies to almost any big reorganizing project. To organize bite-by-bite, begin by focusing on whichever part of your room bothers you the most. Then decide what is the smallest bite you can take out of that area that will have a visible effect.

Since you mentioned that your desk is a mess, maybe you decide it’s your desk that bothers you the most. So you start by clearing off your desk. Use a box, laundry basket or other large container as a holding station and carefully move everything from the desk top into the container until you have an empty desk top. Then take out one item at a time and decide where it belongs–back on the desk or elsewhere?

It’s helpful to have holders for the papers, books and other items you want to keep on your desk.  Looking at some desktop organizers can give you some ideas of what you might need.

If you have a tendency to get distracted or lose track of time during the process, try setting a ticking timer for 15 minutes to give you a sense of urgency; when the buzzer sounds, step back to evaluate–then re-set and keep going until you’re satisfied with your progress.


Space-saving laundry drying racks


A few weeks ago someone asked if I could recommend a space-saver for drip-drying “lay flat to dry” clothes. I suggested the Mesh Stacking Clothes Drying Rack, which got me thinking about other types of laundry drying challenges.

When there’s insufficient drying space, even the tidiest home looks messy with drying laundry draped all around.  If you don’t have an outdoor area and you regularly need to air-dry loads of laundry inside (or even just an occasional load of hand wash), all those wet clothes, towels and linens can take up a lot of room. Luckily there is now quite a wide variety of space-efficient laundry drying racks. Here are three different options that provide plenty of drying area in a minimum amount of space:

  • The wall-mounted Large Telescoping Drying Rack features five retracting plastic hanging bars whenLarge Telescoping Drying Rack Image fully extended plus one stainless non-retractable steel hanging bar that can also be used as a towel bar (ideal for a bathroom that doubles as a laundry room).  It provides over 26 feet of linear hanging space yet folds to just two inches flat against the wall when retracted.  Laundry can be draped directly over the hanger bars or hung with clothespins or hangers.
  • The rolling Foldable Super Size Laundry Dryer Rack offers 65 feet of linear drying space on six fully adjustable shelves with 24 hanging rods and two side wings to hang garments on hangers.  When not in use it folds flat for compact storage.
  • If you only need to hang-dry clothing and hate having to move the dry garments from the laundry-drying area to the closet, consider the Indoor Clothes Drying Rack: it’s a combination drying rack and clothing storage rack. Indoor Clothes Drying Rack ImageDesigned to fit in a corner and hold up to 25 hanging garments, the tension-style rod adjusts in height from 68 to 92 inches to fit low or high ceilings, with secure-hold suction cups that won’t damage floors or ceilings.



Laundry Storage Solutions


There are many things to dislike about the process of doing laundry.  Having a convenient yet out-of-the-way system for laundry storage between loads can make the chore a little more pleasant.

Laundry hampers used to always be space hogs, bulky and obtrusive and awkward to empty.  Many households still have those classic hampers, but luckily now there are better options designed to fit in spaces you hadn’t thought of using.  Here are three of my favorite laundry storage solutions:

  • The Over the Door Laundry Bag is a versatile, space-saving hanging hamper that offers two ways to hang it–an over-door bracket Over the Door Laundry Bag Imagelets you use the back of a door, and a removable steel hanger with a swiveling hook works with a closet rod or wall hook.  Another useful feature is the zippered bottom that lets you empty the hamper without removing it from the hook.
  • Also utilizing door space but in a different way is the Door Knob Hamper, designed to hang–you guessed it–from a door knob. It features a steel frame that holds the hamper open yet is only six inches deep, so you can still open the door when the hamper is in place; and a canvas bag with a full-length zipper that makes it simple to remove laundry.
  • The Roll-Out Cabinet Hamper hides away in a base cabinet and glides out for easy access. It features Roll-Out Cabinet Hamper Imagesteel roller glides that allow the hamper to slide effortlessly in and out of the cabinet.  The hamper is removable from the glides, with integrated handles for comfortable carrying.

Laundry Room Organizing


Although most of us no longer have to drag our laundry down to the nearest river and beat it clean on the rocks, “doing the wash” is still a time-consuming, ongoing chore. The now-commonplace luxury of having constant access to a washing machine and dryer doesn’t eliminate all the time and effort that go into getting the laundry done: gathering and sorting items to be washed, pretreating stains, loading and unloading the machines, folding, hanging and putting things away — not to mention washing certain pieces by hand, line-drying and ironing.

Over the Washer Storage Shelf ImageA well-organized laundry center can help to streamline and simplify your laundering chores. But creating a functional home laundry in a small and/or awkwardly shaped area is a challenge. Fortunately, there are innovative products designed to utilize every nook and cranny of limited laundry room space.  Here are some of my favorites:


  • The Over the Washer Storage Shelf turns the wasted space between the back of your washer and the wall into easy-access storage for detergents, fabric softener, stain removers or other frequently used laundry products.
  • The slim Rolling Laundry Room Storage Cart is just 7 inches wide, designed to roll into and out of the narrow space between your washer and dryer, with three shelves for storing laundry supplies.
  • Pop-up laundry baskets are also great space-savers.  The typical plastic or wicker laundry basket is a bulky space hog that’s hard to hide when not in use. A pop-up is a more efficient alternative–it instantly folds down flat for storage (hang it on a wall hook or slide it between washer and dryer) then pops back open easily whenever you need a wash basket.
  • Large Telescoping Drying Rack ImageThe most space-efficient system for drip-drying is the wall-mounted Telescoping Drying Rack, which functions as a towel bar that cleverly expands into an extended rack with 26 feet of drying space. The steel bar is handy for when you only have one or two items to air-dry, such as damp dish towels; when more drying area is needed, you just flip open the sides and presto — a 21-inch-deep, eight-rail rack pops out and locks in place, retracting easily (to just 2 inches deep) after your drying is done.

More laundry room tips:

  • Keep a wastebasket near your washer/dryer for discarding dryer lint and emptying junk out of pockets.
  • Put a box or bin labeled “Donate” in the laundry area, to help you continually weed outgrown or outmoded clothes as they pass through the laundry.
  • Two other clutter-reducing labeled containers you might want to have, if you don’t already: one each for “Mending” and “Rags.” (But beware—these can get cluttered up if you’re not careful.  You need to periodically let items “devolve” from rag status to trash.)