Minimize, Simplify & Save: Tips to Make Your Laundry Room Energy Efficient
When it comes to organizing your home and prioritizing your list of to-dos, it’s not surprising people tackle the most utilized rooms first. Kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms rise the top of the list when it comes to home projects. But some of the most important and useful rooms in the home often end up neglected, when in fact, a few small changes can impact your day-to-day life and dramatically increase your overall productivity, energy efficiency, and more.
In this series, Minimize, Simplify & Save, Volunteer Energy will take you on a room-by-room tour and give a few simple tips on how to declutter your home and choose energy efficient products for each room. And of course, we’ll give you bonus tips and pointers on how to save energy (and money) along the way!
To start, we’re going to one of the most neglected but necessary areas in the house: the laundry room! And since most laundry rooms are small in square footage but home to major appliances, clothes, and cleaning supplies, keeping it organized is incredibly important.
Energy Efficient Products for the Laundry Room
Energy Star-Certified Washer & Dryer
If you’ve purchased a washer or dryer in the last few years, most likely you purchased an Energy Star appliance. But, if you’re in the market or looking to upgrade, take some time to research which model and specifications are best for you. This label has long lasting effects and will save you money. Most Energy Star certified washers use 15 gallons per load, as opposed to 23 for a standard machine.
We all have pieces of laundry that should avoid the dryer but truthfully, most of our laundry rooms are so cluttered that we just toss everything into the dryer and hope for the best. However, taking a few minutes to sort and only dry what’s necessary keeps the loads smaller which minimizes dry time and consumed energy.
If you’re short on space, try a hanging rack that attaches to the ceiling or wall. Or better yet, hang a clothesline outside and let your sheets flap in wind.
When it comes to laundry detergent and supplies, there’s certainly no shortage of products to choose from. In fact, the options can be overwhelming, rendering cabinets overstocked and clothes over-washed.
Over-washed? It’s true! Detergents are being produced at higher concentration levels, boasting smaller amounts needed per load and offering more loads per container. Unfortunately, most people still overuse, a habit that not only wastes detergent and energy, but also damages clothing.
If you think you may be using too much detergent, try the pre-measured detergent pods. They might be a little more expensive than liquid versions, but in the long run, could save you from overusing liquid detergent.
Besides the fact that this one-time purchase can last for months, dryer balls are energy efficient, affordable, non-toxic, and offer an all-natural alternative to popular dryer sheets.
This one-time purchase will save you cash over time, especially if you consider the fact you’ll be saving energy along the way. Dryer balls work by lifting and separating fabrics, allowing more air to pass through clothing which requires less heat to dry your clothes. This will save you on that monthly electric bill!
Laundry Room Storage
Regardless of how big your laundry space is, finding that perfect storage unit is key. Since most laundry rooms aren’t too wide, look for a shelf that utilizes height instead of width. Many units offer both shelves and hanging space, a great addition that will help keep clothes off the floor and laundry supplies organized.
Trash & Lint Bin
It’s always the simplest items that make the most difference and such is the case with a handy little trash and lint bin in the laundry room! If you don’t have one, you probably just notice the overflowing lint trap, scrap it out and plop it on top of the closest surface around. Just go ahead and do yourself a favor by spending a few dollars on trash and lint bin. There are some options that fit nicely on the wall so it doesn’t take up extra space.
4 Bonus Energy-Saving Tips for the Laundry Room
Reduce water usage. Run full loads.
Most types of load use the same amount of energy, so it doesn’t make sense to wash just a few items. Instead, fill it up to the load and over time, less loads will make the most difference.
Minimize heating. Use cold water.
Perhaps the tip that could reap the most benefits is this: avoid hot water! Most of the time, hot water isn’t really needed.
In fact, using cold water might be the biggest money saving change you could make while doing your laundry! A cold water load only costs about 3 cents, as opposed to 68 cents for a hot water load. Over time, that can be significant savings!
Worried about whether you’re actually getting your clothes clean? It’s a myth that you need hot water to clean clothing–cold water will get the job done.
- See more energy-saving myths debunked here.
Simplify. Keep the space dedicated.
Laundry rooms tend to be a catch-all and if you’re not careful it can become cluttered and unorganized, rendering it ineffective as a laundry room and cleaning space.
Don’t neglect the look.
Believe it or not, the laundry room deserves a little bit of attention. While the thought of spending time and money on paint or decor on a laundry room might seem silly, it does make a difference in its efficiency. If you walk into the room and you enjoy the space, you’re more likely to keep it organized and clean.
If you’re cleaning it out anyway, take the extra few hours and freshen its look with a coat of paint and hang a few pictures. Most likely, you won’t cringe so much when it’s time for another load.
Have you renovated your laundry room lately? Tell us how you chose to minimize & simplify!