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What’s your utility room like? Is it well organised or complete chaos? Kathrine Sørland’s utility room used to be the latter. Chaos was inevitable given the volume of laundry, a hectic workday and the impractical storage solutions of her old room. What was needed here was a complete makeover!

Impractical solutions

The utility room is a common problem area in homes. It’s almost never organised, with dirty laundry, detergent, shoes and fitness wear wherever you look. Laundry is a never-ending cycle, and it’s easy to give up when faced with tidying up. Having helped Kathrine with new wardrobes for her bedroom, her son’s room and the hallway, it was clear that the wardrobe and storage solutions fitted when the apartment was built were inadequate for Kathrine’s needs. The same was true of the utility room, with its single wall-to-wall closet rod and a few melamine shelves next to the washing machine. The shelves were full to bursting and nothing had a real home. The closet rod was the shape of a banana and in the process of coming loose from the wall, while valuable floor space was taken up by a large winged airer. “This room is a complete mess! I desperately need smart solutions and a practical system,” Kathrine says resignedly.

So we created an orderly utility room

The utility room had nowhere near enough storage space for Kathrine, who uses it not just to do laundry but also to store bedclothes, towels, cleaning products and clothes without a home. Plenty of us will be familiar with this scenario. Utility rooms aren’t just used for laundry; they provide valuable storage space. Follow the same tips that we gave Kathrine and you too can do away with chaos and inconvenience. 1. Empty 2. Sort 3. Get an overview and categorise 4. Customise storage solutions 5. Keep it clean and tidy


Standing amid the mess and thinking “What can I get rid of here?” isn’t easy. It is, however, easy to get overwhelmed and give up. It’s better to begin by emptying and cleaning the room so that you can start afresh. It’s invigorating and encouraging. Kathrine discovered that when she got stuck in and emptied the overflowing utility room before having a good sort out.


Once the room is empty, you can start looking through all your things. Do you ever use this duvet set? These towels are starting to look worn, aren’t they? Separate out anything you don’t use, that is tatty or just doesn’t belong in the utility room. You should be left solely with items to go back into the utility room and that require storage space.

Get an overview and categorise

Once you have everything to be organised in front of you, you can sort items by category and choose storage solutions that work for these. This provides the ideal conditions for creating a practical utility room that is easy to keep clean and tidy. Laundry, cleaning products, linen, clothing, fitness wear and shoes are some examples of categories you can use. Now you’re ready to plan the fittings.

Customise storage solutions

With Elfa’s flexible click-in system you can customise fittings based on the items to be stored – right down to the very smallest items. You can take everything off the floor and the system can bear a lot of weight. The best thing of all is that the system can be tailored to your exact needs and easily rebuilt if those needs change. In Kathrine’s utility room, we divided the room into three zones: washing and drying, cleaning and clothing.
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1 laundry

On the wall where the washing machine is we fitted shelves for linen and drawers for laundry and accessories. Mesh and wire drawers work as well for laundry as they do in wardrobes. They are airy and you avoid odours developing, even if the clothes have been stored for a while. Kathrine labelled hers with “40°C”, “60°C”, “Bedclothes”, etc. Sorting items in this way makes it easy to see what wash you need to do as the drawers fill up.

If you do washes often enough that piles don’t have time to build up, then you don’t really need the deep drawers. If, however, you only have time to do laundry at the weekend, you can choose a larger storage solution, for example, our large capacity storage bag.
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Drying racks

Large airers need a lot of floor space and are always in the way. We fitted two wall-mounted drying racks next to the washing machine, which can be folded down when not in use and therefore take up neither floor space nor room space.


We kept Kathrine’s old countertop to give her somewhere to fold clean clothes. It was cut down to fit the new setup and screwed securely to Elfa’s deep shelf brackets. On one of the rails we hung a small mesh basket for detergent. Detergent bottles easily become sticky underneath, but now Kathrine can avoid standing them on wire shelves and the countertop.

Useful tip!

When you want to dry shirts, blouses and other items that crease quickly, it’s a good idea to have a couple of hangers to hand. You can dry garments directly on the hangers, making them easier to iron once dry. They might not even need ironing!

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2 cleaning

Kathrine stores cleaning supplies, such as the mop, vacuum cleaner and cleaning products, in the utility room, so we created a section with space for these items on shelves and in various tool holders. Thanks to these, she no longer has to stand cleaning items in corners and on the floor.

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3 clothing

The sad-looking closet rod that hung in the utility room was removed and replaced with a click-in system. There is just as much storage space as before, but the solution is now securely attached to the track and not just by a few screws in the plasterboard wall. There was also space to put up shelves for bags and storage baskets both above and below the new rod.

4 makes it easy to keep clean

We’ve probably all thrown dirty laundry into the utility room and quickly shut the door to keep the chaos hidden. A messy and dirty utility room doesn’t do anything for your mood on laundry day, but if we keep it clean and tidy, the job’s a lot more pleasant. And if the mop’s already in there, all you need is a pack of disposable floor cloths to be able to give the floor a quick once over when you’re done. These can also be used to wipe down shelves and workbenches if you have them. Put some plastic liner down where you store your shoes, so you can easily wipe away or sweep up mud and muck from dirty shoes.

From overflowing to orderly

Kathrine was amazed at how much could now be stored in the utility room. The walls are used to maximum effect and the floor is clear. Everything has its place and is easy to get at, whether she needs the mop or a party dress. “The utility room is almost my favourite room in the apartment now! Doing the laundry is child’s play!” says Kathrine smiling.

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