Have you ever had one of those moments when you just get all tied up in knots? Or your laundry does?
Yeah, that happened. And that was after I spent about an hour cutting away at some of the knots. Those are the table runners from our wedding that I had sent through the washing machine. I was trying to remove all remnants of ketchup stains from the fabric before turning them into pillow covers or something equally fun, but they became victims to the evil washing machine. It took about two hours to untangle them all and another couple of evenings of ironing to remove all traces of wrinkles.
Needless to say, I was mad…we’re talking rip roaring mad…at the washing machine. And I can’t say that this was the machine’s first offense. In our short, 2 year relationship, the washing machine has managed to destroy towels, two fitted sheets, three pillow cases, one flat sheet, a duvet cover, three button down shirts, a t-shirt, five (yes FIVE) tank tops, two pairs of shorts, three pairs of dress paints, and countless sets of underwear. But who’s keeping count?
The washing machine is old. And quite possibly could be older than I am, and is a laundry eating machine! It’s one of those old agitator ones that ties our laundry up in knots, twisting away at its contents and spitting it out in shreds. Actually, that’s not true. Absolutely no spitting involved. It’s more like the machine holds laundry in its clutches and you have to pry to clothes out of it.
So we made a little, “I’m angry at the old washing machine” impulse purchase. Aren’t they pretty?
We chose the Frigidaire Affinity series high efficiency washer and dryer and we love them! We picked them out at our local appliance store, Dunnet’s, last weekend and they were delivered to us this past Tuesday. Dunnett’s has free delivery with appliance purchases AND they even install. Sweet!
With our new washer and dryer in place, I’ve never wanted to rip down the laundry room paneling more! Oh…and those metal cabinets…those can come down too. Having the new washer and dryer in this room is like the king and queen of England shacking up at a Ho-Jo’s. That’s just not right.
It’s taking every ounce of energy in my body to refrain from re-doing our ugly laundry room. But with all the energy I’m expending on restraining myself, I’m saving it by doing laundry.
We opted for the highest, most energy efficient pair that we could afford. And I took an educated guess that this pair, which cost us about $1300, would pay for itself in about two to four years based on the amount of laundry that we do (in electricity and water savings) and by the amount of clothes and bedding the old washer was destroying. We should have bit the bullet long ago.
Immediately upon their arrival in our home, I bunkered down at the kitchen table and began pouring over the user’s manual.
And did some of the laundry that I had been storing up for the occasion over the last week while we awaited their arrival.
And as many of you know, I use a homemade powdered laundry detergent. And before, many of you had asked about whether or not the detergent was safe to use in high efficiency washing machines, which, according to my research, was perfectly safe as long as you use a low sudsing soap. The only strange part to using the DIY detergent was that I had to remove the plastic cup for detergent in the detergent loading tray because it was a powder.
So into the washing machine went the laundry, which was easily twice us much stinky clothes as our old machine.
And started pressing buttons.
It was a go-go-gadget washing machine situation. The new machine is so much more hi-tech than our old one. It welcomes you for crying out load! You push a button, any button and it’s all “Welcome Angie…thanks for doing laundry with us today….we hope your time in the laundry room was enjoyable and you’ll do laundry with us again.” And in my head the machine says that with a British accent. It’s very formal like.
And I may have pulled an Elf in the elevator situation, when Will Ferrel. (aka Elf) presses all the buttons in the Empire State Building elevator. I may have pushed all the buttons.
Now that I’ve done a few loads and learned a few tricks of the trade, here are my favorite features of this Frigidaire Affinity duo washer and dryer:
- Energy saving modes: Both the washer and the dryer have energy saving modes where they use a lower temp water or a lower heat speed to save in electricity costs.
- Sensor dry technology: The dryer senses when our clothes are dry, saving on wasting electricity over-drying clothes.
- Quietness: These machines are barely audible. BARELY. It’s amazing. Our old machines were so loud that you could barely hear the person you were talking to even if you were down the hall!
- Sanitization: The washing machine has a high-temp, steam sanitizing mode perfect for gross, stinky dog beds or anything else you could fathom sanitizing.
- And have I mentioned they’re pretty?!
I’m sure there are many more cool features to the new appliances but I’m still learning. But anyway, it’s back to the laundry room I go to much more happily go and do my laundry.
Pssst…Anyone else recently made the switch to a high efficiency washer and dryer? Do you love it? Hate it? Have any features or tips you want to share?
Sick of paying ridiculous amounts of money for laundry detergent? Do you feel like your chemical ridden laundry detergent is harming the environment and your skin? Want a more cost effective solution to store bought detergents such as Tide and Whisk? Do I sound like a bad infomercial? I’m done…I swear. I don’t know what came over me there for a second. So this week I decided that I needed to start making my own laundry detergent thanks to a little Pinterest inspiration. I did a lot, and I mean A LOT of Googling how to make powdered detergent at home and pretty much found the same recipe everywhere. It looked simple and easy and involved only three ingredients: borax, washing soda, and bar soap. I picked up my ingredients at a local grocery store and a jar to house them all in at Target:
Here is the cost breakdown:
Glass jar: $7
Washing Soda: $3
Bar soap 3-pack: $2
For a grand total of $15, only $8 for just the ingredients.
The recipe that I settled on called for 1 cup of borax, 1 cup of washing soda, and 1 bar of soap shredded. Many people I found via Google recommended Dr. Bronner’s natural soap, which I looked for but couldn’t find. I settled on a simple Dial soap that didn’t include perfumes or lotions, which can stain clothing.
The process was really simple and only took me about twenty minutes tops to complete. I first poured the two different powders into my glass jar:
Then shaved the bar soap using a regular old cheese grater:
And then mixed it up until it formed this clumpy mess:
The idea behind the shredding is to break down the soap so it melts and dissolves better in the wash. Then, voila, homemade laundry detergent:
Before I made too much of the stuff, I wanted to make sure that I liked it and that the soap I bought didn’t stain our clothes. So I gave it a little test drive and did a load of laundry. I filled the washing machine with the dirtiest (Colby’s work shorts) and stinkiest (Colby’s softball tee shirt) clothes I could find to see if this stuff really worked. After loading the machine I sprinkled the suggested 1-2 tablespoons of the homemade laundry detergent on top of the clothes and let ‘er rip:
One of the warnings I read about was to make sure you choose a soap that doesn’t suds up too much. I didn’t want suds all over our kitchen floor so I checked on the washing machine a few times during the wash cycle, just in case. But it worked like a charm! I even sniff tested each and every article of clothing as it made its way from the washing machine to the dryer. Even Colby’s stinky softball shirt came out smelling so fresh so clean! Ah…mazing! WOW…this stuff really works (she said in her annoying infomercial voice)!!! Ahhhhh….clean clothes:
Technically that was my second load of laundry with the new detergent. I couldn’t get enough of the laundry this evening. You see, I have a bit of a laundry problem. I love it and am probably the only person in the world that loves doing laundry. Just ask Colby. He hasn’t done a single load of laundry since we moved in together almost two years ago. And it’s not by his choice, I don’t let him. It makes me sad if he does his own laundry because I like doing it so much. Weird sickness…I know.
I’m now officially in love with homemade laundry detergent, especially after doing a little rough math. I calculated that I could make at least 12 batches with the powders I got for a total cost of about $14 ($8 for 12 bar soaps, $3 for borax and $3 for washing soda). That’s only $1.17 per batch and each batch lasts 24 loads (if you use the max recommendation of 2 tablespoons per load) for a max cost of $0.05 per load. Compare that to my favorite Tide product which costs $14 per jug and lasts 30 loads for a cost of $0.47 per load. So lets say you do a load of laundry a day for a year for a total of 365 loads of laundry. The Tide product would cost you $171.55 and the homemade laundry detergent would cost you $18.25. Big difference! Just think of how many beers you can buy with that?! Man…I’ve been living with Colby too long!
While we’re talking about laundry, here’s a little looksie into our laundry room:
It’s like opening the door to a time warp with fake wood paneling, yellow plaid wallpaper, metal cabinetry and that light! Oh that light! We don’t photograph this space too often, obviously. Can you blame us?! But now that I have a super cute jar for my homemade laundry detergent it needs a super cute spot to be stored. I told Colby that maybe our weekend project should be a laundry room redo. He expressed his veto power and reminded me that we have precisely zero rooms completed, three rooms in total disaster mode, and about 34 other half finished projects. Needless to say, we won’t be working on the laundry room anytime soon. Le sigh!
Pssst…anyone else out there discover homemade laundry detergent? I’m curious what soap you all use so comment and let me know!
Psssssst…almost forgot to mention that this detergent is much better for you and the environment. Neither borax or washing soda contains harsh chemicals unlike traditional, store bought detergents. Both products are all natural. Combine that with an all natural bar soap and you’ve got yourself a little homemade, all natural laundry detergent. Score!
And we finally come to the end of the great blogiversary tour of 2011 (minus the porch but we’ll get to that shortly…amazing things are happening out there). I’m a little sad to come to the close of the tour but very excited to get back to work on the house. I’ve spent more time cleaning it up for all these pictures than actually renovating it.
First up on today’s tour is the entryway. Here’s the old version:
Ick…seriously ick. This was just water damaged sheet rock that had yellowed over the years. It had never been finished. After we got our hands on it:
Much improved. It actually looks prettier in the picture than in real life! Colby constructed it (floor, trim, etc.) one day when he was supposed to be fishing (check that post out here). Then the decorator (me) went to work. I took many things from other parts of the house and refinished a mirror from Colby’s mom to create the space. While the entry looks done, it’s really not. Is any room ever done?! Eventually we’ll be replacing the entry door and when we do that we’re going to put in a different floor. Because the entry is so small we used it as a test space for the wide pine floors that we wanted to install throughout the house. We’re finding the pine doesn’t hold up terribly well for an entry so someday it will turn to stone. Like when Medusa stares you down.
Next up some before and afters of the kitchen. I tried to take pictures from the same angles so it should look somewhat similar. And I’m just going to go for before/after rapid fire so hold on to your seats, it’s gonna be a wild ride!
This is looking from the entry into the kitchen. That’s the laundry room to the left and the closet towards the right. And the progress:
And another before:
That’s the coat closet on the left and the windows look out over the driveway. And the progress:
That’s Goose’s new bed/fold up crate under the window. Cute, huh?! It’s his home in our home. And you can also see the carpet near the table where Goose “helped” us do a little demo! He loves eating carpet. Silly Goose…carpets are for humans.
And another before:
This picture is looking back at the entryway and the nook where the refrigerator is stored. That’s the old hutch that “came with” the house which has now been moved to the basement for extra storage.
And the progress:
Not quite the same angle but close enough. Do you like the faux beam that Colby built to balance out the real supporting beam?!
And another before shot (I’m feeling the photos tonight):
This is the fridge/hutch nook. The doorway towards the right leads into the dining room and down the hallway. And the progress shot:
You see the red china hutch? Colby built that for me back when we lived in our old apartment. It was also BT (before tools). He made the whole thing using a circular saw and a sawzall. He’s amazing! It’s also amazing that he survived building it with all arms, legs, fingers and toes still attached.
And another before shot:
And the progress:
As you can see, we made some major changes to the kitchen and without spending much money at all. It was mostly about paneling removal and paint. And a little old appliance removal (green dishwasher) and hood painting (it used to be green too). And this whole remodel-in-progress was on a complete whim. We had no intentions of touching the kitchen (at least for a few years) until Jen and Eric (Colby’s cousins) came to visit and began ripping down wallpaper. You can read about that here. But we’re sure glad we did begin this project because it looks soooo much better!
What’s in store for the future of the kitchen? Finishing the kitchen cabinet makeover by painting the lower cabinets is priority numero uno in the kitchen. I also want to try painting the laminate flooring. That should be interesting. I’m a little nervous about how it’s going to turn out but anything has to be better than this:
Eventually, like every other room in the house, the kitchen will get a major overhaul starting with a complete gut. The cabinets aren’t in great condition and they’re inefficient space savers. But this major project will be the last one so until we get to that point, I’m going to make pretty with what we’ve got.
So this concludes our first annual blogiversary house tour. So now that you’ve had the cribs tour, Angie style, it’s time for you to get out. I kid, I kid! You’re always welcome back at my crib. Later y’all!