The difference between a utility room you can be proud of and a dumping ground for dirty washing, grubby boots and random odds and ends (that never really seem to truly belong anywhere) is some simple organising and planning. It's easy to fall into the habit of opening the door, adding to the pile inside; rationalising that it's a place no-one really sees (we've all done it). But with almost a third of people in the UK spending up to 10 hours of their week cleaning* having a calming space to spend this time in, could be worth that little extra effort upfront.
We split our utility preparation into three main areas: Colours, Combining and Convenience. Making a room that is fully functional and full of style. Try following these five steps to get a utility room that really works for you:
1. Keep it Calm (Colours)
They say a tidy room is a tidy mind. We think the same can be said for calm. Even though this is the place where - let's face it - mostly boring household chores are done, using a calm, neutral colour palette instantly adds a relaxing feeling and gives you a blank canvas from which to begin. Add in plenty of greenery for a light and airy feel - who can help but feel a little bit happier when there's plants around.
2. Keep it Together (Combining)
We use a wash up tidy and utility bucket to keep our cleaning products easily transportable to every room and back again. No rogue bottles or cloths loitering at the back of the cupboard and no spillages all over the floor which then, in turn, need cleaning up (oh the irony). Super handy and super tidy - just the way we like it.
3. Keep it Stacked (Convenience)
For added style and storage, it can pay to add some height. It's unusual that the utility is one of the larger rooms in your house (however, please note that we're extremely envious if it is). Add layered wall shelves to create extra storage that doesn't take up any more footprint but is perfect for stacking items you need to keep close to hand for a multitude of jobs. Then simply add a variety of coordinated storage tins to keep things ship shape and tip top tidy.
4. Keep it Hidden (Combining)
The utility is essentially a working room and so there are often transitional items lying around. Clean washing yet to be ironed. Then ironing that needs to be sorted into piles for distributing to different bedrooms. The problem is that piles of laundry can look untidy and before you know, all your hard work has been undone and the room is unkempt. Give yourself space to work, and a few extra style notes, by using storage baskets to file things at each stage. Separate lights and darks, or disguise washing that's due on the next load. No-one needs to know what lurks within, and you haven't got to trip over yesterday's underwear or the dog's lead as you busily move around the room.
5. Keep it Clean (Convenience)
Generally the utility room can be counted on to collect all the dirt. After the rugby kits and horse-riding kits have been separated and sorted, and the dog has traipsed through after a particularly muddy walk, the floor and surfaces can be pretty mucky. Keep workhorses like a dustpan and brush in easy to reach places and once all the jobs are done be sure to remove those dust bunnies, fluff from the tumble dryer and dirt from boots to leave your utility room as serene as when you started. Well, until next time...
It may seem counterintuitive to spend time cleaning and sorting a room that you will only spend yet more time cleaning and sorting in. But, with a little calm and order, those domestic jobs can seem less daunting and overwhelming. Apart from discovering house fairies who can do all these tasks for us (and please do let us know if you come across any) this may just be our best hope for a happy housework experience.
* source - House Beautiful article October 2018