Stephanie Plomarity

A well-organized laundry room can feel like a spa...but for clothes.

Take the drudgery out of laundry day with tips from a design and organization duo, sisters Lauren Kellim and Erin Conklin.

Christine Lennon  – April 20, 2021 | Updated May 12, 2021

“Visually simple,” “intentional,” and “peaceful” aren’t words that are readily associated with a typical laundry room. There’s nothing serene about piles of unwashed bedding, widowed socks, a gaggle of chemical stain removers and tangled hangers. The Ventura, CA-based interior design and home organization team Humble & Grand, sisters Lauren Kellim and Erin Conklin, aim to change that. They’re doing their best to weave some joy into the process of caring for clothes and linens, bringing their dual expertise in home decorating and hospital organization to the task. (Who better to show you how to stay clean and organized than the person in charge of keeping medical supply closets stocked?) The Humble & Grand online shop sells sustainable, hand-crafted housewares that are as practical as they are pretty, and can help bring some beauty into housekeeping and utility rooms. A simple upgrade like using a hand-made basket to hide away clothes that need mending, or dispensing powders with a beautiful scoop, can make the process feel less like a chore, or a bore. “Technically, a laundry room is a space for renewal,” says Kellim. “It’s a space to clean and repair clothes and linens. That’s it. Get rid of the clutter.”

Sisters Kellim and Conklin at a client’s house in Ojai.

Stick to the Essentials

“Only store things related to laundry and cleaning in this space,” says Conklin. That box full of extra lightbulbs and knotted extension cords needs to find another home.

Label Baskets for Various Categories

Designate one for wash, one for stain removal, one for mending, one for dry clean, and make sure they’re labeled clearly. “This ensures everyone in the house knows where to put everything and helps to keep the area tidy,” says Kellim. “We use smaller baskets for tasks like mending or solo socks that need to find their mate, and larger market style baskets with handles for dry cleaning so it can be easily transported.”

A simple system of storage baskets, all labeled so no one can claim they don’t understand the process, keeps a laundry room tidy.

Decant Powders, Pods and Liquids into Glass Containers

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Take away commercial labels and unattractive packaging, and suddenly you have a more serene work area. “It helps us find joy in a mundane task like doing laundry,” Conklin says. “We enjoy it more when we don’t have to look at ugly plastic. Decanting powders and liquids into large glass vessels also ensures that you know when you’re running low on detergent.” Better yet, avoid the plastic altogether and buy more sustainable pods, or detergent that comes in recyclable cardboard refill packages.

Storing laundry soap in glass containers, and skipping toxic products altogether, can make laundry day feel less like a slog.

Buy Better, Healthier Products

“We try to choose healthier alternatives to synthetic and wasteful products,” says Kellim, who says this plastic-light, “slow living” edict to extends to the entire Humble & Grand home philosophy. “We use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to remove stains, and recommend keeping them in small glass jars next to cotton swabs to dab it on stains.”

Pay Attention to Details

Sometimes a simple switch, like using a wooden or brass scoop instead of a plastic cup for soap powder, makes a big difference. “We use wool dryer balls and infuse them with essential oils. You can customize your scent, and avoid the waste of dryer sheets,” Conklin says.