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Let’s Talk Dirty: The Wonder of Small Laundry Closets

By Jeff Pelletier
August 2, 2011

Small spaces are pretty awesome. I've written about them many times. See here, and here, and here, for examples. Oh, heck, here, too. Small spaces are romantic, efficient, and feel a little bit like solving a puzzle when everything works so well in such a small space. So many small spaces can be a found opportunity: a small reading nook that becomes your favorite spot in the house, a tiny powder room that you make extra special with some cool features, or a room up in the attic that becomes your kids' favorite space. Romantic, classy, and inspiring!

Unfortunately, there is nothing romantic, classy, or inspiring about dirty laundry.

It just is. We all have it, and we all need to deal with it. In older homes, that often means hauling your butt down to the scary basement.

I mean, isn't this the romantic, classy, and inspiring laundry room you want to have? I thought not.

That is why, in pretty much every remodel, I recommend finding a spot for a laundry room or closet up on the floor where all the bedrooms are. It is just common sense. Unfortunately, a lot of smaller homes don't have an obvious spot for a full room. In that case, I still recommend keeping a full laundry room in the basement, complete with utility sink, hanging space, counters for folding clothes, and all the bells and whistles you could want.

But upstairs, think of a putting in a laundry closet with a stackable washer dryer.

They've come a long way and aren't all the massive size of some of the free-standing ones you see when you walk through Best Buy. (Those things scare the hell out of me. Are they some sort of pre-emptive alien attack and filled with evil computers? I mean, what the heck is all that space used for? I mean, these things just wash clothes, right? I digress.) The stackable washer dryer units of today are fantastic and come in two general sizes / plan dimensions. You can get ones that are roughly 24" square (typically they're around 27" in the front to back dimension), and also ones in the 30" square size (these are also deeper in the front to back dimension).

Here's what to look for:

  • What is the cubic capacity of the units? You'll want to go as big as possible.
  • How much space do they require around the units for ventilation and ducting? Do not just assume the dimensions of the unit they give you are it.
  • Is there a clear path to your prospective washer dryer closet so you can actually get the unit to it? If you have a small bathroom door and want to get a 30" wide unit, guess what? You can't.
  • You'll want to plan your closet to have some shelving, if possible, and also to keep it as large as you can to plan for when you have to swap out machines.

My favorite stackable laundry system right now is from Bosch. They have some great smaller units that hold a lot. Their roughly 24" units hold as much as most full-size washer and dryers do, and they perform great. They're not the cheapest, but I think they're a great value.

Plan ahead and you'll have a very useful and efficient small laundry center right next to where you keep all of your dirty clothes. It certainly won't be romantic, classy, or inspiring. But you'll love it all the same.

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