Progression of Thought

Our laundry room.

When we first moved in four years ago, our laundry room looked like the photo on the left.

That was me trying to compensate for a boring room in a rental home with my addiction to accessories.

The next picture is phase two: me undercompensating with accessories.  I had just finished reading Tsh’s book Organized Simplicity.  And my well-meaning tchotchkies were driving me up the wall.  I went crazy and packed away almost everything. I was sick and tired of trying to mask the fact that I didn’t like a room with a bunch of stuff.

The problem was I still didn’t like the room when it was empty.

I’m somewhere in the middle when it comes to what I want for our home.  I want it to be relaxing and meaningful and functional but I also want to like it. But I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars and man hours on a laundry room.  Especially in a house we are renting.

Part of me told my self why even do anything to this room? It’s small, it’s a laundry room for goodness sake, close the door and forget about it.

But, I know the way we live, and the door to this room is always open.

You can see straight into this room if you knock on our front door and I open it–hello laundry room.

And, I wanted to like it.

I craved a simple, responsible look that was also creative and stylish.  And budget friendly.

And now, I’m gonna walk downstairs and take a photo of this room however it looks RIGHT now. Which could be a number of cases but I’m doing this to prove a point….

The point of this post?  This room serves me now. For two years I hated this room.  Instead in investing what it really needed to work for our family ($150 — $100 of that I’ll take when we move) I chose to ignore it and put a Band-aid on it made of thrifted stuff.

I love thrifted stuff.  But that wasn’t what this room needed.  No amount of cute stuff would hide the fact that it needed a fresh coat of paint and could benefit from some better looking shelves, lighting and a counter.

Anyway, the point is:

I don’t even think about this room anymore.  I don’t spend any time hating it or wishing it looked different.  I can move on.

I simply enjoy it.  It works for us.  It always looks pretty good, even when it’s a mess. I like being in there.  Doing laundry isn’t such a chore. Plus when we move out, someone else can enjoy it.

I’m learning about balance.  Sometimes the right answer for you and me may be somewhere in the middle.

I didn’t need to quietly hate this room for the four years we’ve lived here when spending a little bit of money (most of which we can take with us to our next house) made such a difference in how I feel about it.  Really, spending a little time and money was a gift to myself and the owners of this house.

It was worth every penny.

 Related Posts:

Breakdown of the Renter’s Laundry Room Makeover

The Organized Simplicity Effect


  1. I’d say you nailed it! That is one gorgeous, classic, simple, updated laundry room. Wish it was mine!
    I loved the two previous versions for different reason but understand your train of thought exactly. My laundry room is in limbo until the funds avail themselves for a refresh.
    I like that it still looks great even with the soap on the counter.

  2. What a difference a little paint and shelving made. It is fantastic now, but I do understand that sometimes you just have to keep going until you make it the way you want it! I am working on a small bedroom right now…but don’t plan on putting my full attention to it until after Christmas then I will taget it for a makeover! Dianntha

  3. 2 things I just love –

    1. The photos of real life in action at your home, warts and all.

    2. The way that disco ball travels from room to room!


    And I am loving 31 days! Have loved that challenge of writing 31 posts. And I’ve met some wonderful new, real life women along the way. Thanks …

  4. well said my friend! I am definitely learning that too. It helps living with a friend who LOVES empty spaces and I LOVE stuff so the compromise is exactly what you are saying:)

  5. We live in an old house with a dark, dingy basement laundry room, and the hanging florescent light gives it a nice prison laundry room feel. Your post today helped me think I can do something to improve on that room we have to visit daily. I think I get stuck in “woe is me” mentality instead of taking action. Over time your writing has helped me think differently (when it comes to this stuff I am a s-l-o-w learner, but it’s progress not perfection). I love the themes you have running through your blog about being enough and wanting what you have. Delightfully, this new thinking is running through the rest of my life too. Thank you.

  6. We lived in a 1920’s rental house for 3 years while my husband was in grad school. We left a 2000 square foot home that WE owned and moved across the country and into that house, sight unseen. The day we got there, it had 20 watt light bulbs (seriously. The people had just bought it from a couple in their 90s, and I think the light bulbs were original.); rust colored carpet, and burgundy block-out-the-sun curtains. I cried when I walked into it. But like you, I tried to turn it into home on a student-tight budget. The owners were great- we bought supplies and fixed up the house cosmetically (painted, refinished floors, etc), and they took the supply costs out of our rent. There was so much to do!

    All that to say- a coat of paint, elbow grease, and ingenuity can make sure a huge difference. I applaud you for making a rental house YOUR home. It’s so easy to think it’s not “your’s” when you rent. True- it is not your house, but it IS your home. Keep it up, Nester!

  7. Your writing style, and content, is incredible. Seriously. You are amazain. I am LOVING your 31 days topic and the ease at which you are guiding us through simplifying our ‘stuff’ and finding what is truly important in our lives. BTW~ LOVE that you mentioned Topiwo yesterday!

  8. i love when i get to the point you described of not even thinking about a room or space. that’s when i know i’ve really achieved the feeling i was after! :)

    renters unite!

  9. Your laundry room is pretty and functional, visually appealing even WITH dirty laundry–but what truly resonates with me is your words. The way you express many thoughts/feelings I’ve had, but haven’t always ‘put together’. It’s so refreshing how your simplifying/acessorizing (simp-cessorizing??) has achieved what pleases you AND removes emotion spent on a room! Thank you.

  10. I like the idea in investing in a room just to make you happy. That’s good. Sometimes it’s just plain hard to choose to ignore a problem.

    And I love the paint color with the white shelves. It looks classy and modern.

  11. Please tell me that’s the hamper peeking out in the right-hand corner of the last picture, and your kid threw his clothes in the floor right next to it. Because that is sooooo my life right now. Loved this, love your laundry room, and your honesty. And loved Organized Simplicity, too!!

  12. It looks like a cute little room now, instead of a large closet. Even though the room looked ok before, it is pretty now! I love the birdcages, hopefully you found another spot for them.

  13. I remember that your laundry room post helped me turn a corner in my thoughts, from former homeowner to current renter. I remember commenting that in this real estate market, small investments like sprucing up a laundry room have the same return-on-investment regardless of home ownership or renting — and that is, enjoyment of our home.

    I have also had a progression of thoughts about the home we live in. As a former homeowner, I didn’t really think about my home other than “I like it!” But as a renter, I thought all the time about how much I disliked this house, and it was wearing me out.

    Deciding to see the house as a challenge to rise above was a start to feeling more content. But the true help was from the Lord (as always) with conviction of my coveting heart.

    I guess I’ve written quite a long comment! It is just that your original post really touched me, and so has this one!

  14. Just so you know, I’m loving your series. It’s fantastic. : )

  15. Very thought-provoking; I need to mull this one over. I love what you said about not thinking about it anymore. I have a similarly-sized laundry room that I also hate. We’ve put a little bit of money into it (installing cabinets, where the former owners had only wire racks), but it’s still dingy & awful. My laundry room is way at the bottom of my home improvements list, but I’d love not to hate the space. And, we own…so I have even less of an excuse!

  16. “I don’t even think about this room anymore. I don’t spend any time hating it or wishing it looked different. I can move on.”


    In the words of my 20-month-old: WOAH.

    I don’t know why this is so huge to me. But it is. Big deal. I need to feel this way about some spaces in my house…I need to be able to move on.

    • It IS a life altering statement.
      WOAH is fitting!!

    • I agree with you Erin, for me, that was the whole point of this post, fix it–and FORGET it and enjoy it and put it to work. For someone like me (and you) part of “fixing it” probably means we want it to look pretty. It’s a blessing and a curse.

  17. its lovely – but now I want a rug like yours – have you posted a source on it before – or just tell me to be happy with my floors as they are. Happy Fall!

  18. Curiosity: Where did the clamshell like bowl come from? Did it used to be on your table? I think I’ve seen it somewhere else as well. I love it’s versatility.

  19. Your posts give me such comfort. It helps to know that not even the best bloggers can have a neat, perfect house all the time. I love that yours is perfectly imperfect. I’ll bet your family loves that, too.

  20. Wow, it even makes your washer and dryer look better. Looks great, glad to hear you are no longer distracted by the laundry room.

  21. Just wondering how you approached the owner/real estate agent about permission to paint & change shelving?

    • My philiosophy is not to ask permission. It’s easier to ask forgiveness with stuff like this. I’ve written about it somewhere before. They know I’m a stager and redesigner, they heard about how pretty our last rental was. So for any house we rent, I want to treat it better than a house we own and leave it prettier than when we came. Yes, if they wanted to go crazy they could keep our deposit. And that’s a risk we are willing to take. But they seem to like us and we like them and they know we’ve kept up the yard and pay on time and so I think we’ve won their trust.

      Basically, we don’t ask. I’m not taking down walls or anything, removing $20 worth of shelving isn’t that big of a deal. We are treating this house with care it’s beautiful and lovingly cared for.

  22. What a wonderful solution! I agree, that even when renting, it makes sense to have each room work.

  23. It’s amazing how much a simple coat of paint can change the feel of a room. I am a renter who paints the walls: always. I feel like it is a small investment in making a space represent “us”…even if we had to change it back if we move again. We’re on a great streak of not having to repaint, as our landlords have always appreciated the colors we have chosen…

  24. This is lovely! I also have a small laundry room with the front loaders side by side and a wire shelf way up high with a rod for clothes under it. The tops of the washer and dryer are covered with cleaning products, since we also keep all those in there, and I recently read the manual and found out you’re not supposed to do that. But if I put them on that high shelf, it’s such a pain in the neck to get anything down. Having lower shelving like this would be great, but I use the heck out of that clothes rod to airdry laundry and don’t want to block it. I thought about stacking the dryer, keeping half the rod and having a little cart of cleaners below, but I don’t think I’ll be happy with that. So do you have an area for hanging stuff in your current laundry room? How do you handle that?

  25. I get so jealous when I see what people have done with their laundry rooms to make them more appealing. I have some ideas from reading blogs like yours but just haven’t taken the time to revamp. Other rooms need work first that other folks see. One day I will make it more pretty just not now. Love how just adding some paint changed the whole look.
    Then again I try to stay out of that room as best I can. LOL

  26. Thank you for this post. I have my efficiency washer/dryer set on the pedestals. I want to get rid of them and use the top of the washer and dryer as a folding area (instead of the dining room table). What do you have on top of your washer and dryer and is it attached to the wall?

    • yeah, we used to have those pedistals too, but I didn’t like how high they made the washer and dryer so we sold them, we just went to Ikea and bought a counter it’s not attached to the wall. if you click the link that’s says “breakdown of laundry room makeover” at the bottom of the post you can find out more. xo

      • Thank you so much for the info! I missed the link when I was reading this post. I have been thinking of doing this for awhile now. Seeing how your laundry looks has made me want to get this done. Thank you again!

  27. disappointed to see that day 10 awake page is missing. I thought if no one says the link is broken, no one can fix it! off to read day 11 now. :)

  28. I really happy to find this site on bing, just what I was looking for :
    D also bookmarked.

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