Minimize, Simplify & Save: The Laundry Room
When it comes to organizing your home and prioritizing your list of to do’s, it’s not surprising people tackle the most loved rooms first. Kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms rise the top of the list when it comes to home projects. Consequently, 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.
In this new 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 decide what’s essential and what items are best kicked to the curb. And of course, we’ll give you 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 rooms (or spaces) in the house: the laundry room! And since most laundry rooms are small in square footage but home to appliances, clothes & cleaning supplies, keeping it organized and simple is all the more important.
Products you really need in your 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, definitely take some time to research which model and specs are best for you. The label has long lasting effects and can and will save you money. Most 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 & move right along, hoping for the best. However, taking a few minutes to sort and only dry what’s necessary keeps the loads smaller, minimizing dry time and 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 overwashed. Overwashed? 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 harms clothes but wastes detergent and energy. If you find yourself using too much detergent, just go for the pre-determined detergent pods. They might be a little more expensive but in the long run, could save you from overusing liquid.
Besides the fact that this one-time purchase can last for months, dryer balls are affordable and non-toxic, offering a simple, all-natural and economical alternative to the popular dryer sheets. This one-time purchasing will save you cash in the long term, 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, requiring less heat to actually dry your clothes (and saving you on that monthly electric bill!)
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 nice and 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 & 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, spend the few dollars and grab a trash and lint bin. Most fit nicely on the wall so it doesn’t take up extra space.
Reduce water usage. Run full loads. Most types of load use the same amount of energy so it doesn’t make much sense to throw in 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 even be the biggest money saving-change you could make! A cold-water load only costs about 3 cents, as opposed to a hot-water load for 68 cents. Over time, that’s some significant savings! Worried about whether you’re actually getting your clothes clean? Don’t! The thought that hot water is necessary to clothes is actually a myth—cold water will get the job done!
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 actually 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!