Sort out your laundry woes

With three busy kids and a sports active husband, our laundry basket is always full. I’d like to organize the wash so that it’s not a constant hassle, and even thought of moving the washer dryer upstairs.

Put a new spin on your laundry room by combining furnishings and colours that brighten your day.

Dear Debbie:

With three busy kids and a sports active husband, our laundry basket is always full. I’d like to organize the wash so that it’s not a constant hassle, and even thought of moving the washer dryer upstairs. Have you any ideas? – Frannie

Dear Frannie:

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we can configure our homes in any way we want.

Sticking to a traditional layout makes no sense when your daily routines flow against the current. Rearrange or even switch rooms, move furniture – prioritize your work and play spaces and you will be amazed at your newfound freedom.

Laundry is a constant, but needn’t be a time-consuming bore. You have a few options that have proven to work well.

Measure for space in an upstairs bathroom or hallway to fit a stackable washer dryer. These units are compact and can be fitted into a closet. Remember the dryer requires a vent, and check that you have suitable electrical plugs.

An alternative is to create a multi-purpose room that includes laundry.

When I came across the room shown here, I knew it was special. The designer, Bonnie Steves, has taken an unconventional approach by setting up a Kelly green washer/dryer duo as the star attractions. But there is so much more.

You are invited into this bright, cheerful space to work or play on your computer, read a magazine in a comfy chair, or watch TV. Steves has also created the perfect solution for all those socks that never match up.

A coat rack built with wooden slats hangs on the wall; missing socks will always reappear and can now be easily found.

So clever, I wish I’d thought of that when my boys were filling the laundry basket on a daily basis.

This design will work in any small space, a tiny bedroom, a windowless hallway, or a corner of the basement. Choose a floor product that is easy clean and can take the heat, such as linoleum, or tile.

The modern design of this classic mosaic floor fits the playful mood. Pull a desk, or sorting table from other rooms or pick up some pieces at yard sales.

Decorate the walls with imaginative art or photos. Steves captures the spirit by framing beautifully scrolled laundering instructions for linen, cotton and other fabrics.

Dear Debbie:

When we moved into our 45-year-old house 12 years ago I replaced the tile in all the bathrooms but one.

I used white ceramic tiles on the floor and the tub surround and shower. I chose polished chrome fixtures in a classic design. I’m now ready to replace the tile in the last bathroom and would like to install the now popular tumbled stone (beige brown) and bronze fixtures.

Will this make the other bathrooms look outdated? – Laurie

Dear Laurie:

We seldom if ever redo our homes from top to bottom at the same time, and there is no need.

Your new bathroom will stand alone; bathrooms are not required to match up. Your traditional white ceramic bathrooms are timeless.

As long as the grouting is fresh and clean and towels and accessories are updated, this style will always be in fashion.

When you have installed the new bathroom, if you have concerns, then choose the same towels or repeat one accent colour to tie old and new together.

Debbie Travis’s House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. E-mail your questions to

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