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Welcome to our little passthrough laundry room. To get to the kitchen from the garage, you would need to open the door almost all the way because of the bulky cabinet which was used as a dumping ground. So when our washing machine quit working, we decided this would be a great time to reclaim space in a tiny laundry room.
Rocky inspected the cabinet and isn’t too sure about the shoddy work that was originally done on the tile work. Turns out she was sooo right about how the tiles were so poorly installed! Smart cat. LOL
The delivery guys dropped off our new machines and my husband had them put in the kitchen to be able to start getting things in shape. And eeew, dryer vents can be gross…
First up, it was time for physical therapy… aka getting out some aggression by destroying the much disliked cabinet and annoying tiled top.
The only tricky thing with this whole laundry room redo was the plumbing that was in place for a future sink that the original owners might have planned to use someday. I have no need for this sink but if I change my mind in the future, I didn’t want to remove these completely. So these had to be worked around. We had to pull out the back boards of the cabinet without accidentally messing up these pipes and causing problems.
With the cabinet completely removed and the area cleaned up of debris, it was time to start planning and working.
When planning a space, the first thing to do is to figure out all the many purposes the space needs to necessitate. Because we have 5 people packed into an average sized home, almost all of our rooms have dual purposes. The laundry room is no exception. The upper cabinets hold most all of our cleaning supplies, a light bulbs box, paper towels, rags, light bulbs, extra blankets, boxes that hold office supplies, a paper cutter, flash lights, and more!
In addition to all that, we were needing somewhere to put totes for dirty clothes waiting for their turn in the wash and a place to sit to take off shoes. That meant I would have to build a bench custom for the area that would be just tall enough that the plumbing pipes would be cleared but not too tall for how tall the backpacks would be.
We were also needing a landing space for my kids after school each day. This meant we needed hooks to hold 3 backpacks and several to hold jackets and umbrellas. So I picked up hooks, thick paper, and two sheets of stickers from Hobby Lobby…
I could have used my kids’ names for this but wanted to be a little more fun by adding hints of travel since we generally travel with just one backpack per person. (Yep, this can be done even for a 2 week trip if you pack a little clothing detergent.)
Now, time to hang the hangers. 🙂 I didn’t want this to be right under the cabinet because I didn’t want anyone to smack their hand while lifting the backpacks on and off the hooks. But I did want these high enough to hang there without the bags touching the bench. Using a leftover length of 2×4 and painting it our wall color, I hung this is just the right place and spaced all of the hooks in even distances from each other but far enough apart that the backpacks wouldn’t be overlapping (and therefore avoiding many a fuss or fight between siblings).
Notice how the wall is all torn up. SIIIGGGHHH! The people didn’t know what they were doing when they installed all the tile on the old cabinet top and also a “backsplash” wall. So we had to figure out how to repair it. Even though I know how to fix drywall. It just takes so much time and is noooo fun!
As with any home improvement project, we had to go right back to the store. Yep, trip #587. Ok, maybe not that many times. But while we were there, we stumbled upon the answer to our busted up wall problem. Peel and stick tile! That’s right, we used floor tiles to fix the wall. Initially, these wouldn’t stay stuck to the wall so I used some small tack nails to keep them in place. The top row was placed just under the bottom of the 2×4 with hangers as a starting point.
Some of the tiles had to be cut to fit and also so that the plumbing could go through them. With a little elbow grease, this was easy to do with a sturdy utility knife. Be sure to use a straight edge when cutting the tile and be conscious of what is under the tile so that you don’t damage that. And be very careful to never cut toward any part of yourself. (I had a family member make this mistake a while back. His knife slipped while cutting something and cut his knee open to the bone. OUCH! Soooo BE CAREFUL!!!)
Now… It was time to fix up the flooring. You can definitely see where the cabinet used to be in the above photo. Luckily, there were a couple extra tiles in our attic. Unluckily, they didn’t all identically match the current flooring. But there were a couple of the original type tiles with also a couple of the gray colors that matched our new wall tiles. So handy!
One other problem I ran into was I had no clue or equipment to cut ceramic tiles. Guess where I headed next… If you guessed the store, you’re right! Found this handy dandy tile cutter. It was somewhat easy to use after I read the instructions but took a little getting used to.
Here are all the tools I used this project plus a tiny tub of tile grout.
After reclaiming the space in our tiny laundry room, I decided to go ahead and hang a bunch of my kids’ art plus one of my favorite signs and a green painting I purchased from New Orleans when our family vacationed with my sweet niece and her husband. I love this little happy display to enjoy when sitting on the new bench I made.
Oh, sooo you may be wondering about the custom bench… Tah dah! It’s basic but works just fine. Plus, I had randomly purchased some oops paint at some point before even thinking of working on the laundry room and it perfectly matched the tiles we picked out. It fit just barely just above the plumbing lines. Perfect!
The finishing touch was to find baskets or totes for my kids to put their dirty clothes. I found the perfectly sized totes from Tuesday Mornings as the very last puzzle piece for this redesign. They fit just right under the bench depth wise and just right under the plumbing pipes height wise and just right side by side width wise. Plus, aren’t they sooo cute!
I can’t tell you how much I love my laundry room now. Sometimes, I sit on the bench just to enjoy my kids’ art and be thankful for the new space. It’s weird how changing an approximately 10 square foot area can make such a huge impact on how much better use we get out of this room. Even if there is only 10 square feet or less to reclaim space in a tiny laundry room, it can make a huge difference in your day to day life to make it useable space.
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[…] you read about the laundry room redo here at SimpleStepsForLivingLife? Check out the space we converted to make it more useful here. Originally, there had been an unused cabinet that just collected junk for the past almost 5 years. […]