Laundry room second floor--big family and lots of loads?

CamGOctober 1, 2012

I've read through a lot of past threads on this, but I want to hear your opinions: does having a laundry room on the second floor make sense if you've got a large family? (Background: building 2 story home, all bedrooms on second floor, currently planning a second floor laundry room.)

We have a 9 month old and another on the way, and hope to have several more. I was always sure a second floor laundry room would be good, but I've been hearing that while this avoids carrying laundry up and down the stairs, it means running up and down the stairs to switch loads, folding clothes upstairs, etc. I can see this being really inconvenient if we've got young kids playing downstairs--having to carry them upstairs, find a place for them to play while folding, etc.

Has anyone had experience with this and can weigh in one way or another? We are really close on our plans, but this is the last major thing we're looking at. We have room for the machines in our mudroom.

Here is a link that might be useful: A page with our houseplans, if you're interested

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When my wife and I first got married we have a two-story residence with the laundry on the second floor and loved it. We are now empty nesters and would love to again have the laundry on the second floor, but our current residence has the laundry on the first floor. Given your daily household workflow a second floor laundry might only work best if you were to have a complementing first floor laundry as well. Sounds as though you intend on a large family. If so, you will never runout of laundry requirements!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:26PM
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CamG-So glad you're getting close. It's so exciting!! I grew up in a split level house with the laundry in the finished basement just off the family room. Yes, it was a pain to run the clothes up the stairs, however, it made it easy to keep an eye on kids while doing laundry. However, having the laundry room upstairs eliminates all that running up & down. Plus having the laundry up means you won't have to walk through your laundry room every time you enter the house from the garage entry. It really comes down to what you're willing to trade off.

Have you thought about putting a stacked W/D unit in the mud room (maybe concealed by a door) and then having the full-on laundry room upstairs? That may be another option to consider.

Regardless of which level you decide to put the laundry room on, I would post your plans on the laundry and/or kitchen forums to get input on how to make that space the most efficient. For instance, in the plan in the link for the upstairs laundry, you really don't have alot of counter space for folding or anywhere for hampers. What you have is really just a room that has a sink in it and a washer/dryer. The space could be made more efficient by eliminating the little counter just as you come in the door, sliding the W/D down into that space so they're against the wall, spin the sink around the corner to sit next to the W/D. Now you have ~4'6" of space on the window wall for a folding counter and hampers underneath. If you did hampers similar to what I have, you have enough room for 3 hamper units with 2 hamper in each unit. Each hamper holds 1 full load of laundry. We use ours to presort the clothes as the dirties are brought into the laundry by each family member, which saves me some time as well. We only have 2 kids and between them & DH they generate a TON of laundry. You will really appreciate having the folding space and hamper sorting space to help keep the room organized and provide a spot for sorting & storage of dirties and eliminate the need to move clean unfolded laundry from the laundry room to another area of the house where there is more space for folded clothes to be stacked.

Here's a pic of the hamper idea I was referring to:

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 10:02PM
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I am currently renovating and putting my laundry upstairs. I have 4 boys between 8 & 12. The youngest are twins. I hate the laundry on the 1st floor. It always look messy and is seen by everyone. Yes its easy to watch the kids and do laundry but I have to bring it all upstairs and I get too tired or busy so its sits alot. Having on the 2nd fl with bedrooms its much easier to go from folding to draw. Also when I'm older I don't have to worry about carrying heavy laundry up & down stairs.(which lately feels like I'm already ancient LOL)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:56AM
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I can see this being really inconvenient if we've got young kids playing downstairs--having to carry them upstairs, find a place for them to play while folding, etc.

Why can't they stay downstairs, playing, while you go fold laundry? Or come upstairs with you and help fold and put away clothes?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 11:29AM
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That's a question only you can answer for yourself. When we did a major remodel of our house, I kept a copy of the plans close by as I went through the day thinking through how the new space would work. It was important for me to have a copy of the plans where I could actually SEE them, not just in my head, although I could have drawn them from memory. Somehow the visual reminder made it easier to think through how the new space would actually work. As you do laundry, think about what seems to be the better flow for you, carrying it all downstairs where it stays until you carry it back upstairs to put away, or trips upstairs to tend it.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:03AM
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I have four kids (ages 3, 5, 7, 9). I've had laundry on the main floor and now have it upstairs. It's so much easier to have it upstairs. Keeps the stacks and stacks of clothes away from initial view when people come over. I don't claim that I have a clean house, but at least you can sit on the couch without having to move laundry that is waiting to be folded!

Since you are building, the only thing I'd recommend is to have a dedicated laundry room. Ours in stuck in a hall closet, which leaves no room for laundry baskets or room to sort/fold. Consequently our upstairs hall is full of laundry. But at least it's only visible to us.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:03PM
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If I were in this situation and could afford it, I think I'd have a laundry room off the kitchen downstairs with a regular (not huge) washer/dryer for washing the things from the kitchen (and usually there is at least a powder room on the first floor, sometimes a full bath too).

Then I would have a dedicated laundry room upstairs with a HUGE washer/dryer for the family's laundry. IMHO this would be ideal.

If I had to choose, I'd go with the upstairs setup.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Upstairs is so very convenient, but there are trade-offs.

Have you considered a laundry chute to a main floor laundry room, or even a dumb waiter (manual or electric)? Stairs are good exercise... I guess you see which camp I am in. ;-)

Keeping the washer on the main floor might reduce vibrations during a spin cycle, especially if you ever go to a FL washer.

There is also the potential for washer or hose leaks, and if you want to risk a downstairs ceiling repair.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:05PM
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