Quick tips for organizing a laundry room:

1. Corral all-weather gear. Hats, gloves, sunglasses and scarves usually end up all over the house or shoved in the coat closet.

Use organizer Julie Morgenstern's method to get organized:

First identify what's important and group similar items, she says. Then purge any glove that's missing its partner.

Assign by corralling all your cold- and warm-weather essentials and containerizing with labeled baskets for each member of the family.

Store these where your family normally takes them off after coming indoors.

2. Contain your cleaning supplies. Store cleaning supplies in a carry-all caddy. The caddy is ideal for wire shelves because it prevents bottles from tipping over.

3. Create a pet zone. A pet zone can free up space and make you aware of how much you pamper your pet, which might mean you have to cut back.

Things to put in the space: a bed or crate; a peg rack for leashes and collars; and food dishes on a nonskid carpet or in an elevated dish.

4. Go vertical to dry clothes. Install a retractable clothesline or buy an inexpensive freestanding drying rack to reclaim some much-needed space in the laundry room.

Imagine: counter space that's actually used to fold clothes.

5. Pre-sort dirty clothes in hampers. Cut down on laundry time with an organized method for pre- sorting clothes. If space is available, add three laundry hampers for whites, lights and darks.

When a hamper gets full, it's time to run the wash. To keep the system going, have each family member take responsibility for bringing their clothes to the laundry room.

6. Create a laundry-room "lost and found." More than socks go missing in the laundry room each year. Add a mug or basket near the washer to contain items found in pockets.

For those elusive socks, keep another basket handy for strays. Reunite all items with their owners each week.