The Laundry Cupboard: What Lurks in the Dark?

Another wet weekend, another messy cupboard. Do you have a cupboard which is full of all the bits and pieces and detritus of living, which just gets shoved there when there is no other obvious place to store it? This is my laundry cupboard, and it haunts me. I suspect, when I have one of those bad dreams where I wake up full of dread but can't remember what I dreamt, that it was about this cupboard..

Again, a corner cupboard that has dark, dark depths. I have no idea what is back there.

Oh, yes, there it all is. Oh, and some more..

I confess, at this point I went and had a cup of tea. And some cake. OK, let's crack on. Clean out that cupboard. Dirt, dust, and something that had leaked copiously.

The trick with putting things back in a dire, overstuffed storage space, is to only put half back. Everything else must go. And everything that stays must be stored like with like and must have a function that is pertinent to laundriness. So, what do I want in the laundry? Cleaning. I also store a bunch of garden items here. Cat food and kitty litter.

All right, cleaning. Those untidy piles of rags. I don't have disposable cleaning cloths, so I have a lot of washable rags. The only really useful ones are old flannels, towels, nappies and tea towels. All those annoying T-shirts and cut up bits of pyjamas I send out to the shed for painting rags.

What I have left is one crate of small rags (cleaning)..

and underneath, two piles of large rags (drying and mopping up) and two old towels (floods).

Now for cleaning. I had more cleaning gear in the top of the broom cupboard. Not everyday cleaning gear, that is in yet another laundry cupboard, but all the alchemical potions I have gathered for making cleaning products, and things like the shoe polishing kit, the leather cleaning kit and other cleaning bits and bobs. I have decided to consolidate shoe polishing and leather cleaning in the broom cupboard, potion making kit in the laundry cupboard. And in the process I discovered I had packets of all sorts of ingredients  which I decanted into coffee jars and labelled just like an organised person.

I have bleach ( I know it's nasty, but diluted 1:10 with water it is brilliant for cleaning mould off outdoor furniture and umbrellas), vinegar, methylated spirits, washing soda, ground soap, bicarb soda, borax and cloudy ammonia. I think with that arsenal I will be able to whip up a cleaning solution for just about anything. And some of those ingredients were a real surprise. It's amazing what appears from the back of a dark cupboard.

At the back is my collection of empty bottles. I have been saving them to create cleaning solutions. Stay tuned.

And a lovely rustic storage solution for the seeds. They were quite pleased to get out of that common old icecream container. I have decided to store the rest of the gardening bits and bobs on my gardening bench in the porch downstairs, but seeds need to be cool, dark and dry.

Space left over! The very last of the bulk dishwasher powder. It will be used up soon, and there will be more space. I moved the kitty litter out of the cupboard next door ready for another project I have in mind. I will need to move my other cleaning bucket in here. Posy took it out to the cubby house in autumn and it is, erm, still there.

So here we are. I can see everything. As my mother-in-law used to say, a place for everything, and everything in its place.

Oh, and then there was everything else still left on the bench. Bin, recycling, op shop, shed. And now, there is room for the lemon grass plant to sit on the laundry bench. I had been attempting to overwinter it inside, but on the back porch floor where I never remember to water it and it gets no sun. Maybe here it will survive until spring.

The cats now eat on the bench. Their food and water used to be on the floor, but we kept stepping in it and dropping the clean washing in it. Here they eat their dinner then pose artistically while gazing pensively out of the window. It is important to incorporate cats into the interior decoration.

And the rest of the laundry, clean and happy. It's dark now, and The Girl is making dinner, bless her.

Broccoli cannelloni and dark chocolate sponge pudding.

House rule: if you make dinner you don't have to do the dishes.


Anonymous said…
Your cupboard looks fantastic! As a substitute for bleach, try clove bud oil instead. It smells heaps better, is safer and it's kinder to the environment. The only no-no I've heard about it is that it's contraindicated during pregnancy. On the other hand, I've actually heard that bleach feeds mould although I can't back that up right now.
Our laundry is fairly clean but we have the same issues with food and water. I had moved it to the top of the washing machine but currently there is a box of all the same sorts of stuff you've just sorted through, sitting there. I need to do a sort but the laundry functions which means it's well down the list of priorities here. :)
GretchenJoanna said…
My laundry facilities are in the garage, with no cupboards or closets, so it's easier to let the place get really dirty. But you have inspired me! At least if I reduced the clutter by half it will be easier to keep clean and tidy.
Heather said…
I envy your laundry room! Like GretchenJoanna, my washer and dryer are in my garage among all the spiders and leaves that blow in under the door that leads to the outside. It's dark and creepy. Your room looks so bright and lovely.
Anonymous said…
I am ASSURED by Pinterest that peroxide (3%) is just as good as bleach and a whole lot more environmentally friendly. Now what to do with the bleach? ;)
I love your cupboard tidying frenzies- I seem to remember a blog post about your pantry several months ago. Bad weather makes me want to hibernate but it seems to motivate you down under! xx
Jo said…
Hi Jessie, thanks for the hint, I do have some clove oil in another laundry cupboard, but haven't used it yet! Now I have located all those bottles I was saving I can make up a clove oil spray. I'll try it in the bathroom, then try it on the umbrellas in the spring or when it stops raining, whichever comes first (spring I expect). I completely understand why your priorities do not lie with fussing about in the laundry. Give my love to the pregnant goat, the chickens etc...
Gretchen Joanna and Heather, it is so much harder to keep a space clean if it isn't actually in the house. I am surprised you even get out there to do the laundry, especially with spiders! It does surprise me that American houses, which are so beautiful and well built and well appointed, have washing machines in the basement or the garage. Just another example of the way in which domestic work and efficient housekeeping is ignored by the people who design and build houses..
Mind you, when we moved into our current house, the washing machine was in the mouldy back porch, threatening to fall through the rotten floor boards momentarily, where it stayed for about eight years..
Jo said…
Mrs Frantic, sometimes it goes one way, sometimes the other! I have done my fair share of reading on the couch this wet winter as well!
Anonymous said…
Well done, Jo. So neat.

I use cut up sheets, old towels and T-shirts as cleaning rags. As well as microfibre cloths. I agree with you, T-shirts are not the best. But I can't bring myself to throw them out. If they are not good enough to donate, I just have to use them to death, eg polishing shoes or cleaning rags.

Rabidlittlehippy is right about the clove oil. It kills the mould spores. Bleach doesn't. While I believe it doesn't feed the spores, it just "colours" over them, so they can come back. But greasy on the clove oil. I misread the instructions and made it 10 times the strength than the recipe called for. Made for a very strong smelling shower for ages!!!

Why do our things expand for the space we have? My last laundry was a quarter of the size of my current one but I still have no free space!
Jo said…
Lucinda, sometimes I send old T-shirts to the op shop in a bag marked 'rags' - they sell them to factories, mechanics etc as cotton waste.
But mostly I just send them out to the shed for The Man for his messy shed projects. Do hate throwing good fabric in the bin!
I am hearing you all about stepping AWAY from the bleach.. I will make up the clove oil spray next, paying careful attention to the instructions!
And I am so sure that 'stuff' breeds in dark cupboards. How else could I have found eight pairs of shoelaces in the back corner that I have no memory of owning, in hideous colours that I would never have bought? Mystery.
Anonymous said…
I wish there was a "like" button, or a "lol" button on comments.

Multiple shoe laces in hideous colours!!!

Yes, stuff breeds. And mutates!
Your laundry room looks lovely! My laundry room is more of a laundry closet, so while it gets cluttered easily, there's only so much that will fit in there, so it gets uncluttered easily, too. When I get it nice and neat, I thrill myself by taking little peeks inside from time to time. Oh, the order! Oh, the humanity!

Jo said…
Oh, Frances, I have been doing just that! It has been hard to stop myself showing off my newly ordered laundry cupboard to visitors! Thank goodness for the internet!
Jo said…
Fran, really? Peroxide? Well, pinterest would know!
But, what to do with the bleach indeed? The Man bought the bleach last year when he was looking for a product to clean our garden furniture and realised the expensive one was just diluted bleach, so bought bleach instead. Does one take bleach to the toxic chemical disposal place?
what a gorgeous show-offy laundry room indeed! i am officially envious of you. i thought my laundry was nice but yours is FAB! modern and sleek but still full of personality. especially, i imagine, with the cat looking out the window as it dines.
sorry for gettign to your posts late, but i do always enjoy them so much when i get here xx
Jo said…
Thanks e, my lovely husband built it from a flat pack kit - you should have heard the language - and I can proudly report I grouted all the tiles myself. The only DIY skill I have, apart from painting rather badly..
That's a laundry and a half! I'm struggling to set up my new laundry - they've put the dryer on the bench - I hate not having bench space (my old house, the washing machine worked as the 'bench'. And I have way too much cleaning stuff. I must read and repeat your wise moves... I'm sure zen laundry awaits me!
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