5 Easy Tips for Saving Money at Home

 

Fill the washer to capacity each time.

 

 

Running two half-size loads wastes water and electricity. Check the manual (or the manufacturer’s Website) for your machine’s capacity, which might be listed in cubic feet, kilograms or pounds. Calculate your machine’s capacity. In general, 3.1- and 4.0-cubic-foot models will hold 12 to 16 pounds of laundry; 4.2- and 4.5-cubic-foot machines will hold as much as 20 pounds. To get a good visual sense of what that adds up to, pack a typical load of dirty clothes into a trash bag and weigh it on your bathroom scale, then adjust accordingly. Overall, remember, it’s important not to overstuff your machine because this can interfere with cleaning; you should be able to fit your hand (positioned as if you were to give the washer a handshake) comfortably between the top of the inside of your machine drum and your clothes. If you can’t, there are too many clothes in the machine.

 

 

 

Buy in bulk.

 

 

Partner up with friends and neighbors when shopping in warehouse stores, then split up the purchases, especially perishables, to reduce costs and carbon footprints. Or try all-in-one products, such as laundry products that combine detergent, stain removers, and brighteners. By buying an all-in-one product, you reduce excess packaging, which saves resources. Look for energy-saving labels on light bulbs, home appliances, electronics, and other products.

 

 

Wash clothes in cold water.

 

 

It’s an easy change to make that can save big money over time. (Water heating accounts for the largest portion of your utility bill.) Don’t sacrifice deep clean results: Use a detergent that is specially formulated to deep clean on the cold setting. With this one simple switch, you can save a bundle on your energy bill.

 

 

Get digitized.

 

 

Lower your utility bills by installing a programmable thermostat to manage heating and cooling systems. Set timers to adjust for periods when you’re home, at work, and asleep. 

 

 

 

Turn clutter into cash!

 

 

Clean out your closet and take seldom-worn clothing, jewelry, and shoes to a consignment shop, or throw a tag sale. Those ill-fitting or outmoded vintage pieces might be a treasure to someone else. Or organize a clothing swap with friends to update your wardrobes. Old books (especially art books) can sometimes fetch a few dollars at antique shops, or can make for a fun swap party.

 

 

5 Shortcuts for Chores

 

Shop smart at the market.

 

 

Shopping during off-hours and without your kids in tow are sure ways to shorten this task. These tricks will also help: Create your grocery list so it’s ordered the way your market is laid out, and at the checkout, pack bags with your kitchen in mind. Group together all the cereal, all the frozen items, and so on, so when you get home, putting everything away is a snap.

 

 

 

Pre-sort the laundry.

 

 

It’s as simple as keeping separate hampers for darks, colors, and whites and asking your family to toss their dirty clothes in appropriately. To make washing simple, use a premeasured laundry detergent.

 

 

Measure ahead for recipes.

 

 

Take out all the ingredients and utensils you’ll need for a particular recipe before you begin and premeasure everything. You’ll be amazed at how much time it saves (and how much more relaxing cooking your meals will be). Keep a large bowl nearby and use it for eggshells and other scraps; then empty the bowl just once into the garbage or compost pile.

 

 

 

Pre-soak the pots.

 

 

Before you begin cooking, fill the sink with warm water and dishwashing liquid. As you do your meal prep, slip anything that would need pre-rinsing for the dishwasher into the sink, along with any pots. (But do leave anything sharp out where you can see it, for safe handling.) This prevents food from hardening on dishes and means less work to do after you finish eating.

 

 

 

For bathrooms, think mini cleanups.

 

 

Make the weekly bathroom cleanup go faster by knocking out small doses of grime daily. Stash a canister of cleaning wipes in each bathroom and use them to wipe down vanities and mirrors as soon as soapy film or toothpaste spots appear. If you have a glass shower, store a squeegee in the stall and use it to prevent hard-water stains from forming.

 

 

How to Iron a Dress Shirt

No one wants to look like they've slept in their clothes.  Follow our simple steps to get your button-downs tidy and crisp-- and look your best in no time!

Check the shirt’s label. Cotton and cotton blends can tolerate a hot iron, while polyester blends need a cooler setting. The manufacturer’s label should spell it out clearly, but when in doubt, start with a low setting and increase the heat until wrinkles in the shirt begin to respond.

Is it clean? Ironing over existing stains can set them permanently. Don’t risk it: Choose a liquid detergent that works for both whites and colors, and use a liquid fabric softener in a scent you love.

Press the collar. Begin with the underside, working from the center of the collar out toward the points. Turn over and repeat on the other side of the collar.

Press the shoulders. Place one shoulder over the narrow end of your ironing board. Starting at the yoke (where the collar meets the body of the shirt), iron toward the center of the back. Repeat the process on the other side.

Press the cuffs. Lay one sleeve flat with the buttons or cuff-link holes facing up. Iron the inside of the cuff first, then turn over and iron the outside. Repeat with the other sleeve.

Press the sleeves. Lay one sleeve flat and use your hand to smooth out any creases between the two layers. Iron the front of the sleeve first, then the back. Repeat with the other sleeve.

Press the front and back. Begin with the front panels, taking care to iron between the buttons; pressing on them can cause them to break. Turn over and iron the back of the shirt.

When you’re done, hang and button your shirt immediately, and turn off and unplug your iron.

Spring Clean Your Laundry Room

Clean, well-maintained appliances make for cleaner clothes.  These five steps will boost your appliances’ health so they get your laundry cleaner and fresh smelling every time.

Give your washer the rub.
Soak a cleaning cloth in liquid dish soap and water, and wipe the washer’s drum to remove any residue or sticky who-knows-what (your kid’s red crayon, a stray piece of gum?). If you’ve got a front loader, clean the rubber door gasket. Its nooks and crannies can trap moisture.

Tidy the surface (and take a mental vacation while you’re at it).
Revive your machines’ surface luster with—wait for it—a dryer sheet. Tiny particles like dust, lint, and pet hair will cling to it like gangbusters.

Schedule a deep-cleaning cycle.
The inner workings of the washer can get sluggish too. Options: You can run a cup of white vinegar or bleach through an empty cycle (use the hottest setting), or purchase a product specifically designed to zap residue and odors from washing machines. Consult your owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations.

De-lint your dryer.
No matter how diligent you are with the lint trap, the fuzzy stuff still works its way inside the vent, where it collects and makes the dryer less efficient. (Buildup creates a fire hazard too.) A dryer duct cleaner has a long, skinny brush that’s perfect for the task. Stick it in, twirl it around, and you’re done! For safety, unplug the unit first.

Restock.
New season, new laundry supplies! As you stock up on detergent, fabric softener, and scent boosters, remember this: There’s clean—and there’s clean smelling. Choose products with scents you enjoy!

Organize Your Laundry Room, Organize Your Life

The average American household goes through nearly 400 loads of laundry a year, which means your laundry room sees a lot of action. Since the most highly trafficked areas of our homes naturally become the most disorganized, it’s not surprising if the laundry space is looking less than its best. It is, however, fixable with these easy-to-follow tips.

Line up, and liven up, the supplies. Luscious-scented products will take you to your happy place as soon as you uncap the bottle. Keep them—along with your other laundry necessities—lined up on an easy-to-reach shelf, and let your family know exactly where the supplies are, so they can pitch in.

Color-code the hampers. Keep more than one basket in the laundry room and color-code them for darks, whites, colors, and delicates. Having your family sort their dirty clothes from the get-go will make it easier to push laundry through.

Leave room for an ironing station. Wrinkle emergencies happen and when they do, you’ll want everything to be handy. If your room has a door, hang your iron and board from the back of it. Otherwise mount it on the wall and add a small shelf to house a spray bottle or starch.

Get ahead of the mess. It’s easy for the laundry room to become a catchall for shoes and winter accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves. Make sure that these items already have a place in your home so family members aren’t tempted to toss their stuff there and run.