Declutter. It's the first rule of any organizing project: Start by eliminating anything that doesn't belong or can be thrown away. First to go was a messy trash can that held the overflow from the adjacent kitchen. "It wasn't very sanitary," says Sabine. Now the kitchen has a big, semicircular stainless-steel can that matches the appliances, while the laundry room got a new mini can for lint, dryer sheets, and the like. A cooler, a can of insect repellent, and other miscellany have been relocated.
Hang it up. Two gadgets were installed to keep clean clothes out of the sink. A new wall rack handles Alston's shirts and the twin daughters' dresses while they await transport to the proper closets. Damp sweaters and lingerie can be laid out on a wall-mounted drying rack that retracts when not in use.
Place essentials within reach. A step stool has made all the difference. Sabine can get what she needs from the cabinet above the appliances (so more can be tucked away in there instead of scattered about). She also has easy access to the long shelf that holds the big containers of detergent and bleach, which used to shimmy-shake their way off the top of the washer during the spin cycle.
Designate a spot for everything. Now that the space above the sink is no longer used for hanging clothing, there's room for two clip-on shelves suspended from the main wire shelf. This gives Sabine four additional feet of storage to keep small things, like sponges, dryer sheets, and cleaning brushes, in order. A lightweight, easy-to-grab striped crunch can on the long wire shelf holds stray socks until that glory day when all lost socks are reunited.