Every kid with a piggybank knows that careful saving can add up. If you could find a way to save just $4 a week at the laundromat or in your own laundry room, you'd have over $200 at the end of the year to use however you like! Here are 8 simple steps I feel confident will put those extra dollars in the bank.
AT THE LAUNDROMAT/IN YOUR LAUNDRY ROOM
1. Wait until you can wash full loads. If you're desperate to do a couple of items in the meantime, consider setting up a soaking bucket (using a bucket with a lid) and hand washing and hang drying those items. Everything else can wait until full-load laundry day.
2. Carefully measure out the right amount of detergent for each load. Don't just pour it in! You will overuse detergent that way. Utilize the guide on your bottle. If it says "normal" or "medium" load, that refers to a washer that's three-quarters full; a large load is a full load. If your clothes ever come out of the washer feeling stiff or sudsy, you've used too much, so use less on the next load.
3. Cut out the softener, the dryer sheets, and any other dooby-dads people are telling you to use. Really. You can survive with detergent alone. If you are facing seriously stubborn stains, do some online research about how to best attack each one. There are often solutions to stain dilemmas that don't involve spending money. Try the University of Illinois' stain removal database as a starting place.
4. Don't over-dry your clothes in the dryer. Do you know how long your clothes actually take to dry? Some sources suggest that a full load in a properly maintained dryer should only take 40 minutes. I've always assumed mine take 60 minutes, but what if I'm wrong? I could be saving myself a few quarters per load if I just spent the time to check on the load's progress over the last 20 minutes.
5. Hang dry as much wet laundry as you can. Whether on your personal electricity bill or at the laundromat, drying is always costly. On the other hand, no matter how small your living space, there is a clothes drying rack out there that will fit. If you don't own one, invest in one! You will make the money back and more.
6. When clothes are clean, put them away right away. Clothes that haven't been hung or folded get dirty just hanging around in piles. They get trodden on, they get mixed with other potentially unwashed clothes, and their status as "clean" gets confused. If you aren't good at getting your clean laundry put away quickly, I am almost certain that you are accidentally washing clothes you haven't worn.
7. At the end of every day, ask, "Does this really need to be washed?" I find that when I'm not thinking carefully, I'll throw an item in the hamper because I've worn it one time. But for an adult, one wear does not necessarily mean a piece of clothing is dirty. Inspect each item carefully. Does it look clean? Smell clean? If so, it's fine to put back in the closet.
8. Own fewer clothes. Too many clothes clog the system. Owning only the clothes you love helps washing, drying, and hanging seem like much less of a chore and reduces clutter that collects dust and dirt. If you want to pare down your closet but you missed our Closet Cure, don't fret! You can always track through it again starting with this post.
Do you have a few laundry cost-cutting tips of your own?