HOME IMPROVEMENT : Laundry That Won't Hamper Your Lifestyle

From Associated Press

Laundry equipment doesn't have to be out of the way. Look around your house for a more convenient location. When searching for a new space, Home Products Guide magazine says to consider the following:

* Where do you spend the most time? Put your laundry nearby.

* Where do you generate dirty laundry? A laundry chute that drops clothes from upstairs bedrooms to the laundry room saves going down, but the clean clothes must still be hauled up. Likewise, a basement laundry room means stairs. Consider a same-floor laundry location, or one that's near a stairway.

* Where is your plumbing? It costs much less to tap into existing pipes for supply and waste lines. Make sure there is a way to vent the dryer too.

* Can you tolerate the noise? Convenience is hardly worth the cost if a buzzing, thumping washer drowns out your dinner conversation.

Most homes don't have a perfect place for laundry facilities, but most have good ones. Here are some pros and cons of several spots:

* A garage is a practical place in hot, humid climates, but it can mean extra steps or a door to maneuver.

* Utility rooms are a favorite site. Most entryway utility rooms--often called mudrooms--are a natural stopping-off place for the family, and a laundry sink is especially handy there. Unfortunately, some floor plans allow only a sliver of poorly lighted space where traffic races through, and it can be a long march from the bedrooms.

* The kitchen is an increasingly popular spot for a laundry center. This option is inexpensive because the washer can use existing plumbing lines. While it is convenient for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this site may not work for those with small kitchens, those who like to entertain in the kitchen or for a home that has the bedrooms a long way from the kitchen.

* Bedroom or bathroom spots may mean the fewest steps to do your work and can save on installation costs by sharing plumbing lines. This option comes at a cost, however. Unless you're adding on, you'll probably fit the laundry into former closet or storage space. Further, you won't save many steps if your bedrooms are upstairs and you spend most of your time downstairs.

After finding the best place for your laundry, make the area pleasant to work in by adding adequate lighting and windows. Paint the walls in cheerful colors and furnish the room with a utility sink, a counter for folding clothes, an ironing center, shelves and storage. Finally, make sure the floor is comfortable to stand on for long periods of time.

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