Laundry closet quandary

by J
My washer and dryer are in a sad looking closet and my HVAC air handler is in the ceiling above them. I have about a foot of dead space between my dryer and the side wall (and only 4-5 inches of dead space on the washer side). Any suggestions on nice looking shelving that can easily be taken down and put back up when air handler access is needed? Any suggestions for good use of the dead space on the side? Thank you!
  16 answers
  • Far17409780 Far17409780 on Apr 13, 2017

    Move the light off the wall to the ceiling of the closet and you then have room for a 2 or 3 door wall cabinet about 54" and a matching 12" cabinet beside your dryer . All with adjustable shelves will give you plenty of storage space for everything .

    • J J on Apr 14, 2017

      Unfortunately, I can't add cabinets since the dropped ceiling is the access to my HVAC air handler. Also I cant't move the washer and dryer that far apart or they won't be accessible in the door opening. Any ideas for the space on the sides? Or suggestion for easily removable shelving?

  • 19698379 19698379 on Apr 14, 2017

    I agree with removing the light, as it will give you some space. Is it possible to mount a light on to the right or left side of the closet so you still have light? How about something like this? There are also similar devices that are battery operated. I also love the earlier suggestion of a roll out cabinet. Nice.

  • Sara Sara on Apr 14, 2017

    Remove the light and then choose either a bright pop of color, a gorgeous foiled wallpaper, or perhaps a beautiful glass or mother-of-pearl tile to do the walls. That way, when you open the laundry doors, there's a beautiful space waiting for you that will make doing laundry less tedious. Also, because it's closet size - a high-end wallpaper or tile background won't break the bank. You could also do a literal penny tile wall - if you like copper. I've seen several of these on Pinterest and they deliver a lot of bang for a few bucks. I'm about to tile my own laundry wall and am going to use the fish-scale mother of pearl tiles on Houzz, so that when I open my laundry doors there's a shimmering white atmosphere that makes me hate laundry day less and less. ;)

  • J J on Apr 14, 2017

    Unfortunately, the light tho not all that attractive isn't my major problem and I can't move the washer and dryer far enough apart (and still be able to open appliance doors) to fit any rolling carts I've found. Any suggestions on attractive shelving that would be easy to take down and put back up when HVAC access required?

  • Cathy Cathy on Apr 14, 2017

    There are wall brackets that you can put up that have a lip on the end--then all you would have to do is lay a nice piece of shelving on top of it---that way it could be easily removed to provide access--I would definitely paint a nice bright color in that closet--that dead space is pretty tough to use. Might be a good place to put something like an umbrella holder and store long handled items that you could lift out or sports equipment like bats and hockey sticks. Or put up some hooks over there so that you could hang some items to dry over there on hangers or the hooks.

  • Sheri Tovcimak Sheri Tovcimak on Apr 14, 2017

    I would paint the walls in a favorite color or wallpaper. We used reclaimed pallet wood. Take down that wire shelf and customize shelves for your needs. Lay a piece of plywood across the dryer and gap to make a place for folding. (You could even put laundry detergent on a tray here) I used the gap for brooms and mops, etc. as I don't have another place for them. My closet doors wouldn't fit with the front loader, so we took them off and I hung a curtain. I enclosed a picture of what we did with my laundry room for ideas. I wish I had an actual light in there, but as this is in a bathroom, I have light. I added the little battery operated one for effect.

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  • Pat Pat on Apr 14, 2017

    Take the light out, paint the walls a pretty color, take out your shelf and put a shelf in like Cathy mentioned....on brackets so that it can be taken out easily. Put everything small in baskets on the shelf for easy removal. Just measure how low you can put it because of your top loader washer lid. On the sides of your washer and dryer...hang brooms, mops, etc. Even on the wider side you could put your ironing board if you could get it in there. The battery powered lights on the wall above your washer and dryer would be just right...I have them in my closet.

  • Far17409780 Far17409780 on Apr 14, 2017

    Remove the old florescent lights, put a wall plug in it's place and get a LED strip instead at a 1/4" thick and a sticky back easy install and it just plugs in and will save you money on your hydro.

  • Grace Grace on Apr 14, 2017

    You really do need something that can quickly be removed for access...

    Target has wire closet shelving that would work. ClosetMaid 24 Wall-Mounted Wire Utility Shelf is about $13, and would go up and down easily. On the side of the dryer, you could adapt some over the door storage to fit that area...for example, the kind used for aluminum foil, plastic wrap, etc, or shoe holders with pockets. Another idea that may work for you is to put in a shower curtain rod, and use S hooks to hang storage baskets.

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  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Apr 14, 2017

    Can that narrow space between the machine and the wall be a place to store brooms and mops? Can a cabinet be hung using a method that involves an angle-cut strip of wood on both the cabinet exterior back and the wall? I'm so sorry but I can't think of the name right now, but it provides a solid interface to hang a cabinet or headboard...this way you'd have to unload the cabinet, then simply lift it off the wall when you need access to the air handler. You could put a cabinet on that side wall and install a closet rod lengthwise on which to hang dry clothing (short items and hangers).

    you might consider using a curtain rod to hang a curtain over the back wall for decoration only. This is a tough one!

  • Cag Cag on Apr 14, 2017

    I would offer up the same suggestion as Sheri. Take and leave the doors off.

    They are torture when trying to get appliances in/out for cleaning as well as

    weekly laundry..Put up a closet rod/brackets from H.Depot ($10) Find a cute grommeted shower curtain (72 inch x 72 inch ) in pattern/color you like and blends with whatever paint color/decor style you decide (They are less $ than curtain panels-and are wider too -bigger too to fit a standard 60 inch door opening.If height is not enough add a color strip to bottom and sides. Do this trick many times when staging a house.

    For shelves, follow this ones tutorial.. that way no brackets have to be removed and easy up stick on lighting pucks can be mounted on the underside of the shelves- no rewiring. I would reccomend the motion sensored ones.

    They are about $30 for a pack of 4 at H. Depot.

    I like Sherwin Williams Overt Green color

    SW 6718 for laundry backgrounds and it would look awesome with your white appliances

    or the new coral reef color SW 6606 that you see a lot of..  . It all is up to you --but make it cheery. Good luck!


  • Rac21660180 Rac21660180 on Apr 14, 2017

    How about running a 1x2 across the wall. Then use a piano hinge to attach the shelf to the 1x2. Screw blocks into the end walls to support the front of each shelf. When you need to access the HVAC unit, unload the shelves, unscrew the blocks and let the shelves swing down against the wall. You may need a center brace like the wire shelf has now. I think you could do two shelves between the light fixture and the top of the appliances and have room for them to swing down.

    I attached a sketch. We'll see if it shows up.

    • J J on Jul 31, 2017

      Thank you for the idea. I'm not very handy so your drawing will be helpful when I find a contractor to help me out.

  • Rac21660180 Rac21660180 on Apr 14, 2017

    Here's the sketch

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  • Sandy Peden Laster Sandy Peden Laster on Apr 14, 2017

    Can you use something like this on each side?

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    • J J on Jul 31, 2017

      Thank you, it always helps me to see the photos of suggestions.

  • Kcama Kcama on Apr 15, 2017

    Brighten it up with a coastal theme, use rope shelving on pulleys that you can raise and lower when needed. Covered baskets or boxes will make it easy to unload the shelves. You can even run narrow ones down the almost inaccessible side, what's below the appliance can be storage for infrequently used items.