What’s the one room in your home where you spend the least time? OK, aside from the room where you have your treadmill set up. It’s probably the laundry room, right?
Regardless of how big your family is, or how much laundry you do, it’s usually a matter of loading, unloading, maybe folding, and then you’re outta there.
But even if you’re not in the laundry room very often, that doesn’t mean it can’t be an efficient or even fun experience. OK, fun may be pushing it a little. How about enjoyable? Or maybe enjoyable because it’s more efficient? There we go.
A few simple tips and a handful of laundry room essentials, and you’ll have clothes washing down to a science so you can spend even less time there than you do now.
Store Your Suds
Detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, and maybe a few other cleaning products all go without saying as laundry room essentials. But where do you keep all of it? If you said on top of the dryer or balanced precariously on the back of the washer, leaning against the wall, you’re in good company. You also may want to consider an appropriate storage solution.
Did you know that detergent can actually damage the finish on your appliances? It’s meant to go inside, not puddled on the outside. And if you use a detergent bottle with a handy dispenser, chances are, it’s also handily dispensing a slow leak onto the top of your dryer, allowing the detergent to damage the enamel. And if it leaks onto your washer’s or dryer’s control panel, it could damage a lot more than just the finish.
If you have a little extra floor space in your laundry room, consider adding a small cabinet or shelf unit that can hold everything from the detergent to the dryer sheets. If floor space is limited, try installing a shelf above the washer and dryer.
Just be aware, if you use coated wire shelving, be careful not to let any detergent leak down onto the appliances. A towel or small, folded tablecloth lain across them will help protect them. The best part is, if anything does leak onto the cover, you can just throw it right into the wash once in a while. And if anything does leak onto the surface of your appliances, clean them up right away with a soft cloth and a mild household cleaner.
Make Fewer Trips
Can your laundry basket hold an entire load? Or are you still cramming the family’s clothes into a tiny, plastic basket that would probably work better as a pasta strainer? Unless you’re counting trips between the laundry room and the rest of the house as your daily workout, it’s time to invest in sturdier, higher-capacity laundry baskets that will not only lighten your load but last a lot longer.
Next time you’re visiting At Home, check out our selection of baskets. They come in all shapes and sizes, but we especially like these wicker baskets for taking the legwork out of laundry.
If wicker’s not your thing, try this multi-colored fabric bag. It’s pliable, so it can hold a lot and look stylish at the same time.
Rather than making do with just one laundry basket, consider using at least two. While one holds the next washer load, the other can be receiving the clean clothes from the dryer. It’ll speed up your process, and free up more of your time.
Look Out For Lint
You already know lint is annoying. But did you know it can be dangerous? A too-full lint screen can cause the dryer to overheat, which can, in turn, cause a fire. And an exhaust hose backed up with lint is even more of a fire hazard.
It’s easy to clean the lint screen after every load—you just have to make a habit of it. You may also want to invest in a dryer brush, which you can use to collect the lint that doesn’t quite make it onto the screen.
Also, consider using an exhaust hose cleaning kit on a regular basis. Keeping all the airways clear will not only reduce the probability of fires, it will also help your dryer run more efficiently, which means shorter cycles, which means less electricity used, which means lower utility bills. That’s enough to make you want to fight the good fight against lint!
Energy-efficient appliances able to accommodate large loads are the big money- and time-savers. But until you’re ready to buy those big-ticket items, just a few small changes in how you do your laundry can make a big difference in your day.