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Upgraded Utilitarian: It’s Time to Get Excited About Laundry & Cleaning



Last week, we debuted our new Upgraded Utilitarian mini-series (we’re calling it a mini-series because it’ll likely just be three to four posts, unless you guys are REALLY into it and request some more categories…let us know in the comments). Gotta be honest, we were a little nervous about this one because we were afraid of a bunch of eyerolls directed at us geeking out about (not exactly necessary) beautiful hammers and whatnot. We thought the comments were going to be full of “this is frivolous and there are so many more important things to spend your money on in this dark, painful world” mentions.

BUT GOOD NEWS. You guys liked it and seem super pumped about rad tape measures and gardening tools, which basically gave us the green light to keep chugging along finding gorgeous, simple household tools and necessities. Don’t mind if we do. A few of you specifically asked for us to find some good-looking brooms in the last post’s comments, so today, we’re back with just that and so much more.

Welcome to everyone’s favorite topics: cleaning, organization and laundry! For anyone who closely identifies with Monica Geller and gets their jollies by hanging out in dry cleaners to find out about their stain-removal secrets, this post is for you. You knew about the life-changing magic of tidying up well before Marie Kondo? We’ve got you. And for those that get through life giving side eye to piles of dirty clothes and dust bunnies and messy closets, this is also for you. Because you know what makes organizing and cleaning and laundry bearable-slash-better? PRETTY THINGS TO ORGANIZE (and launder and clean) WITH!

Sweeping with a ratty old broom = boring and uninspired. Sweeping with a gorgeous Danish-designed broom that you hang up when you’re done on its own wooden peg = a daily treat! Who knew all it took to make cleaning and the monotony of home care fun was beautiful tools??

Again, like we mentioned in the first post (which was on tools for home and garden), none of this is required to live a happy life at home, of course, but if you have the choice between a janky ironing board and one you get excited about using when it comes time to press your blouse in the morning, then why not, right?

So, let’s get into it. First off, we have all things laundry, split up into two boards: cleaning (i.e. all your cleaning supplies for your home and clothing, like brooms, dusters, spritzers, detergent, etc) and clothing utility and storage, such as ironing boards, drying racks, hampers and more.

Laundry Room: Cleaning & Maintenance

1. Amber Glass Spray Bottles (Pack of 2) | 2. Maple and Leather Dust Pan | 3. White Ostrich Feather Duster | 4. Wool Dryer Balls | 5. Baffi Broom | 6. Clothes Cleaner | 7. Classic Signature Detergent | 8. German Broom + Dust Pan | 9. Rattan Blanket Beater | 10. Dust Brush | 11. Little Box Bench | 12. Linen Mist | 13. Clothes Brush | 14. Japanese Harimi Dustpan | 15. Flooring Mop Case | 16. Cleaning Hints and Tips by Cindy Harris | 17. Trigger Spray Bottle | 18. Broom Holder | 19. Full Circle Clean Sweep Broom | 20. Goat Hair Broom Duster | 21. Handled Tool Holders | 22. Sweater Comb | 23. Iris Hantverk Broom and Long-Handle Dust Pan Set | 24. Sweeper & Funnel Dust Pan | 25. Modkat Litter Box | 26. Cuban Wood Mop StickO-Cedar Floor Cloth | 27. Deodorant Remover | 28. Dry Cleaning Pad | 29. Red Cedar Wood Rings | 30. Pet & Lint Brush

If you ever thought “man, I wish I had a broom so beautiful that I’d be inspired to pull it out every day to sweep, but also to admire in a school-girl crush way,” than boy do we have a treat for you. To start, the black broom and wooden peg at #5 is 100% an investment piece, but when was the last time you said “WHOA THAT’S A BEAUTIFUL BROOM”? Oh also, if you’ve been meaning to ditch the dryer sheets finally, check out the wool dryer balls (#4) from Food52. Did you know that dryer balls are 1. much better for the environment (no one-time use sheets = less waste), but they also 2. can reduce drying time? Plus, you can add whatever essential oils you want to customize your scent or leave them scentless if you suffer from sensitive skin. OH, and guess what the blue egg-like thing from #27 is?? A deodorant stain remover! File that under things you always needed but had no idea existed. And finally, um, for anyone who struggles with ugly litter boxes, it doesn’t really get much better looking than the sleek Modkat (which is also supposed to limit the amount of litter your kitty tracks out of the box) or more useful and inconspicuous than the bench-turned-litter-box at #11.

Laundry Room Inspiration
Photo by Zeke Ruelas

Laundry: Storage

1. Cotton Canvas Laundry Basket | 2. European Ironing Board | 3. Ava Clothes Hanger | 4. Hanging Drying Rack | 5. Round Wooden Clothespins | 6. Natural Wicker Oval Laundry Basket | 7. White Large Fine Mesh Wash Bag | 8. Round Metal Utility Cart | 9. Tower Leaning Ladder Rack | 10. Rose Gold Hangers | 11. Bamboo Rim Laundry Tote | 12. Travel Happens Striped Wet Bag | 13. Brass Wire Hamper | 14. Ironing Board With Tray White Metal | 15. Bigso Flax Fabric Storage Bin | 16. Bamboo Basket | 17. Clothes Pin Bag | 18. Aluminum Hanger | 19. Georg Wardrobe Rack + Georg Hangers w/ Leather | 20. Steele Canvas Carry Basket | 21. Laundry Drying Rack | 22. Metal Laundry Hamper | 23. Ironing Table | 24. Quinn Hamper | 25. Folding Butterfly Bamboo Hamper | 26. Folding Clothes Airer | 27. Tower Laundry Wire Basket 

Laundry…what a thorn in your weekly side. It’s even more annoying when you have a small apartment or don’t have a proper laundry room because so much of that stuff—drying racks, ironing boards—end up where you have the space to use them, such as your living room or bedroom (did you guys see that Insta Story from Orlando where he was talking about how he has to dry all his clothes in a corner of his bedroom on a big drying rack? He can’t be the only one doing this). SO, if you end up hanging up your jeans and slacks on the back of chairs all over your house and wish you had an attractive rack instead, the pick at #26 is great because it’s an attractive blonde wood, folds flat when you’re not using it and fits up to 20 linear feet of clothes (we have no idea how much clothes that actually is, but it sounds like a decent amount). We also have a handful of hanging racks (#4, #9, #19, #26), stylish hampers (#11#22, #24, and #25), and other laundry-specific sundries (like a simple clothespin bag, hangers, and a bag to specifically hold your wet clothes after the beach, pool or water park with the kiddos).

Ehd 180628 Target Made By Design Portland Closet Details Vignette
Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD

Closet & Storage

1. Yamazaki Home Frame Slim Shoe Rack | 2. Brass Hook – Set of 2 | 3. Alfa Folding Garment Rack | 4. 10pk Non Slip Velvet Hanger | 5. Neuvonfrisch Hank Clothing Hanger | 6. Deep Metal Sweater Bin | 7. Hanging Fabric Storage Organizer | 8. Linen Drop-Front Sweater Box | 9. Shaker Cast Iron Hook | 10. Fladis | 11. 5-Tier 15 Pair Shoe Rack | 12. Spanst | 13. Corbin Hook Rack | 14. 2pk Wood Pants Hanger | 15. Yamazaki Home Extended Shoe Rack | 16. Peg Hook | 17. Tiered Accessory Trays | 18. Loop Stand Hall Coatrack | 19. Golden Ratio Jewelry Box | 20. Over The Door 26 Shelf Mesh Shoe Organizer | 21. Pudda | 22. Tanzanian Handwoven Basket | 23. Accessory Stand | 24. 8 Bin Shoe Organizer | 25. Wooden Wall Hook | 26. Slim Plastic Shoe Bin | 27. Black 2 Arm Hook | 28. Fabric Accessory Bin | 29. Stackable Bamboo Shoe Rack | 30. White Marble Hook

We did a big ol’ closet organization post last month using Target’s Made by Design line (which is great, btw, and many of us at EHD headquarters have purchased from for our own homes), so definitely check that post out if you’re in the “must fix my closets” mood, but we’ve got a few more things for you today. Because shoe storage is basically a universal pain point (and there are SO MANY UGLY options out there), we included a handful of good-looking, simply picks at a variety of prices: we’ve got cubby storage (#24), tiered shoe racks for different sized spaces (#1, #11, #15 and #29), and over-the-door storage (which both Arlyn and I have and love). And for storing purses, accessories jewelry and beyond, there are plenty of hooks (how great are those brass knobs at #2 and the marble one at #30) and purpose-specific holders (like this jewelry stand at #23).

So there you have it. Another round of beautiful, simple, upgraded utility items for your home. We have a few more in the works, but again, we want to hear from you guys about what you’d love us to source for you. Let us know in the comments!

Fin Mark


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I’d love to see some upgraded utilitarian digital clocks.


I’d love to see some beautiful digital clocks.


Ooh, that’s a good idea. Digital clock, alarm clock, speakers… An electronics theme for one of these posts could include actual nice looking electronics, as well as cord corralling tools or cords that are themselves attractive, as well as ways to disguise (like hiding an ugly modem in a way that still allows the signal out).


Ditto! I’d love a pretty bathroom scale, too!

Also kitchen tools (I’m registering for my wedding gifts!)


Yes! FYI I love the ikea ENBY bluetooth speaker:
It looks a lot like some much more expensive Scandinavian style speakers I’ve longed for 🙂


I agree with the electronics theme! I’d love to see that.

Chenell Tannure

Yes, please!


A good series for sure- it’s slowly getting me inspired to renovate my bland, old and shabby laundry space.

That noted, per your post a few weeks ago, will you be posting more on the Portland House process? I’m hoping you’ll be doing so and are will include info on the artists whose work you displayed, especially the larger scale paintings- I’m intrigued and would love to see more of their work. You’re always so generous about introducing artisans on your blog.


I’ve got to admit, I’m a lot more into these roundups than last week’s on handyman-type tools and yard tools. Probably because at my house, tools get abused and worn into the ground, and thus it’d be a waste to have them be beautiful in my particular situation. At least with laundry and cleaning items, those things aren’t supposed to get terribly dirty, and thus may actually last (tool lifetimes at my house are not long). As far as other utilitarian categories… pets (I know there is some cat stuff in this post, but I feel like there could be… Read more »

marci lambert

that Target over-the-door shoe rack is the truth. #20 under closet and storage. it is amazingly solid and pretty to look at, for only $20, and is currently in my closet.

Susie Q.

I have the Target over the door shoe rack too. No complaints!


I really appreciate this post because my kitchen is open to the laundry room, so I don’t like having the crazy primary colors of cleaning supplies messing with the color scheme I’m going for.

Also, I have that modkat litter box, and I can say it does help cut down on the litter mess. I also like that the liners make it easier to clean. It’s not perfect, but I’ve had it for a few years and it’s much better than the ugly boxes I had before.


I love beautiful utilitarian tools. Thank you for this thoughtful roundup!


Wastebaskets for rooms other than laundry and kitchen, tissue box holders, air purifiers, essential oil diffusers, humidifiers. 😀


Yeah, gotta say, too much money on most of this , not on my moral radar. I run 3 airbnb’s in my home, so I know cleaning and tools… WHY no casabella? They are both esthetic and excellent workers?? .. any cheaper wool dryer balls? .., (You may want to add the dryer sheets leave a residue on your linens that yellows them.)

Susie Q.

I got my woolly dryer balls at T.J. Maxx/Homegoods. They must have been just a few bucks each because I bought 2 sets.


Love this post. I’m always looking for some fun buckets. Just simple plain buckets. I for sure have more fun wringing my cloths in a pretty bucket then in a signal red ugly one. On another note, just to give you a positive feedback (I love you and your blog) but your pages are sooooo hard to load. It’s impossible on my iPad and even my Mac crashed a couple of times this morning. I don’t think starting a post with a busy moving clip is improving the accessibility.


Same for me! ????




I’m looking for a nice bucket for a long time. I for sure would enjoy cleaning my house more if I can wring my cloth in a pretty bucket. So I love this post. On another note, just some positive feedback (I love you and your blog), this post (and many before) is very difficult to load and to read. It’s impossible to read on my iPad and even my Mac crashed a couple of times over it already. I don’t think it’s a great idea to start a post with a fast moving clip, that is not improving the… Read more »


I love this series – please keep it going forever! As a design obsessed minimalist (feels like competing ideals) having beautiful utilitarian daily objects is the literal dream.


I am also in this camp- but these are not competing ideals! It makes perfect sense, have fewer, high-quality tools that really spark joy to make everyday tasks more enjoyable.


The Yamazaki accessories rack #23 on that last roung up is $24 at The Container Store!


Just want to add to the chorus that this is GREAT idea. I was recently looking for utilitarian bathroom/laundry items, and ended up with a dreary plastic eyesore from Lowe’s. I felt deflated. Not a week later, here you are to save the day. I LIKE the meditative satisfaction of household chores, and I do NOT understand why we don’t make more ways of having these objects be pretty and durable (while also practical and effective). I couldn’t be more delighted to see these posts, and will revisit every time I need a practical item in the future!!!


That washer and dryer set … how are they working and do they smell? Wondering if it is worth upgrading to them as most people are 50/50 on front loaders … but they look sooooo nice.


Stuff for bathroom! We have a tiny bathroom and no room for hidden storage of plungers, brush, etc.


Ok my friend and I have been swooning over the William Sonoma ironing board for like a year. Why is it listed as $190 on here and when I click on it it’s $190 but when i go to the WS site and search for it it’s $130??? I am looking at both links at the same time and they look like the same item.

Erica M Price

Would love to see what yall have found on clear plastic storage for organizing the not seen closet spaces- think under the sink, utility closets etc- think Every day cleaning, deep cleaning, cleaning rags etc.


You thought people wouldn’t like to hear about how to enjoy the things we actually must have in our homes, instead of dreaming about things we can’t have, because of space, money, or the fact that our bathrooms already have vanities, flooring, and tubs? Seriously? This is a series I plan to come back to! This and that post you’re going to write on bathroom storage that doesn’t look like a medicine cabinet. About those hangers in #10 of the second group—the description doesn’t say anything about being good for wet clothes, but they are so much nicer than the… Read more »


I love this post!


Every inch of my inner neat freak thoroughly enjoyed this post. Thanks!


Some great finds! I think it’s actually a good idea to try to make “chores” more enjoyable. 🙂

Echoing another reader-I’m looking forward to a bathroom focused post. Particularly a stand alone hand towel holder that looks decent! (Sooo many floor bath towel ones!)


Where is the blue wallpaper from?

Susie Q.

I’m trying to corral my thoughts on this topic…. On the one hand, I try to have and use tools that are aesthetically pleasing. But on the other hand, I don’t and can’t spend a lot of money on those tools. (And this holds true for most things in my house. Most of my stuff is from Craigslist, ebay, etc.) You can buy things that are basic, strong, AND inexpensive if you search (e.g. check out the Asian grocey store!). You can also check out Muji, which isn’t cheap, but cheaper than many things you’ve featured here. You can also… Read more »

Susie Q.

My bad, you did list a lot of Muji things 🙂


I feel compelled to tell you that they lovely sweater comb by The Laundress DOES NOT WORK (at least not nearly as well as the options for 1/3 the price). Style over substance when it comes to throw pillows maybe. But function first when it’s meant to do a job.


Why do you not disclose when you share affiliate links? I thought this was required by the FTC. I love you and your work, but curious why you disclose when so many other bloggers do. Thanks!


I have two cats and two Modcat litter boxes. It was a painful amount of money to spend on a litter box and worth EVERY PENNY. Not even for looks (although it is so nice), but for function. It keeps my bathroom 90% cleaner from flung litter, and the cats adore the privacy. I tell every cat owner I know to bite the bullet and get one. Seven years in and I’m still obsessed with them.


Love this series. Would love to see food storage, for home and on the go.

Suzanne Maxey

I love the wall paper in the laundry room. Can you post the name and brand? Maybe a link to the product. I loooooovvvveeeee and I totally geek over these things.


ditto me too on the wallpaper


It’s great to have some recommendations on things most of us use every day that are nicer quality and better designs. It’s so frustrating to spend money on a household necessity like a mop and then have it fail miserably at mopping, or just break much sooner than it should. I also second Casabella products. They make a (plastic) mop bucket that is oval (why didn’t anybody think of that before?) which means a sponge mop will actually fit inside it. And I’ve been really pleased with the couple of Yamazaki items I’ve purchased. I find lots of household items… Read more »

Chenell Tannure

Of course it is low priority if you have real problems. But money needn’t be the issue. I am obsessed with everything I use at home being pretty, but I am cheap, so I can attest that pretty and inexpensive things are out there that will make you smile while you’re in the doldrums of housework. Ikea used to have the most beautiful broom and standing dust pan. They stopped selling them…not sure why. Luckily, I did grab one! I use that for one-offs and an old fashioned wood and straw one for overall sweeping…I absolutely believe that it makes… Read more »

Natalie Redman

Such a dreamy laundry space!

Paige Cassandra Flamm

I love the wall paper in your laundry closet! It makes me excited to decorate our laundry area when we get into our new house! Totally want to try some palm leaf wall paper!



Would love to know where to buy the whites shelves on the side wall of the first photo of the laundry closet as well as the over the door racks. Sorry if I missed the sources. This is great information. It would be nice to have some high end vs lower end items for the basics. Thank you!!

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