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Six Laundry Room Ideas that Might Just Make Washing Clothes Enjoyable!

A pile of dirty clothes can be a big and odorous drag, but smart laundry room ideas and storage solutions can make doing the wash less of a hassle. You know already that laundry never ends—there’s always another basket of sweaty workout gear and used towels right around the corner—but fortunately, it doesn’t have to take place in a dark basement anymore.

Some of today’s trendiest homes are shining a spotlight on tricked-out laundry rooms, complete with useful—and stylish—design elements. So grab that fabric softener and check out how to create your own fabulous spin zone. 

Install in places with high foot traffic

When considering the laundry’s location, look at the available space, along with the flow of your house and your family’s habits.

“It’s important for young families to have the laundry room off the kitchen,” says interior designer Carole Marcotte, of Form & Function in Raleigh, NC. Swapping out loads can take place while cooking dinner and overseeing homework.

Situating a laundry room near (or in) the kitchen or bath also takes advantage of existing plumbing. Or you might scope out a linen or hall closet, which already has shelving for supplies and slim space for stackable appliances.

Choose water-resistant materials

Photo by Vivid Interior Design – Danielle Loven

Protecting the floor and countertops from moisture is essential because your tasks will include soaking stained clothes in a nearby sink and transferring damp clothes from one machine to another. Whether you’re buying a home with a laundry room or doing a full-on renovation, make sure the floor is water-resistant, made out of a material such as poured concrete, stone, or budget-friendly linoleum or vinyl (both of which are easier to care for than wood).

Laminate counters and ceramic tile are other on-budget details, while cork flooring is comfy on the feet for those hours spent sorting and folding laundry.

For quick cleanup on walls and cabinets, choose semigloss or high-gloss paint that wipes clean.

Consider making it a multipurpose room

Photo by Artistic Renovations of Ohio LLC

Dedicating an entire room to laundry isn’t feasible in every house, so combining the laundry room with an area for washing pets is a smart solution. A kitchen or bathroom is another spot ripe for double duty with laundry. And if you like to garden, plan out some space near the washer/dryer for arranging and potting flowers and planting seedlings.

Size it right

Photo by transFORM Home
Don’t go too large with this space.

“A laundry room should be big enough to handle the washing needs of the home but not so big that it becomes a cluttered mess,” notes Marty Basher, a home organization expert with Modular Closets.

Declutter this spot regularly and then keep it looking nice, especially if you’re thinking of selling (a laundry room needs the same staging love as the rest of the house).

“The laundry room isn’t a sundry store, so don’t let it become a graveyard for old magazines, extension cords, and clothes you’re planning to (someday) donate,” says Mike Callahan, a home stager and Showhomesfranchisee in Chicago.

Offer smart storage solutions

Photo by Grassroots Design

Our favorite part of a well-arranged laundry-centric room is the smart features that make the task of washing clothes a little easier. Start with a laundry hamper in a pull-out bin and several shelves to hold detergent, stain remover, fabric softener, and spray starch. Add in a jar for loose buttons, coins, and tiny toys that drop out of pockets. Other design elements might include overhead cabinets, a pull-down ironing board, and drawers to store scissors and sewing supplies.

“Cabinets should be deep enough to hold big baskets and low enough so you can reach the soap, but high enough to clear the appliances,” explains Julie Green, a designer at Closet Factory.

Julie Ann Disselkamp, an interior decorator and owner of Decorating Den Interiors in Woodbury, MN, likes to install a large sink to soak garments and scrub car mats and vegetables from the garden. Don’t forget a retractable clotheslines or a fold-out rack so you can hang clothes to dry.

Light the way

Photo by Von Fitz Design

A window in your laundry room is ideal for both the natural lighting and airflow it gives to a hot room with an overworked dryer. But if that’s not an option, try installing task lighting underneath cabinets for when you do precise work like sewing on buttons and treating tough stains.

Easy-to-install LED strips ($39.88, Home Depot) to put under cabinets are efficient and affordable. Complete the room with an overhead or pendant fixture to light up the room.

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has written for Parents.com, Chewy, Modern Farmer, Celebrations, and Care.com.
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Buying a Home

Moving Boxes, Trucks, and Other Money-Saving Hacks Revealed

packing-supplies
Courtesy of IPGGutenbergUKLtd

 

If you’re moving, you might be wondering where to score cheap boxes, packing supplies, and, while we’re at it, trucks and movers! And it’s smart that you’re looking to save, since moving is not only a pain in the neck (and lower back, and feet), but also a major drain on your wallet. The average move costs $1,170 if you’re moving in state; if you’re moving farther, prepare to cough up $5,630.

Yet bargain hunters will be happy to hear that moving doesn’t have to cost that much. With some smart deal seeking, it’s entirely possible to save big bucks on every part of this oft-onerous process. Here’s where to find these hidden bargains—without jeopardizing all your stuff.

Cheap moving boxes

Buying moving boxes can be a waste of your precious moving bucks, especially since there are so many ways you can get your hands on these cardboard containers for cheap or even free. One place to hit up? Anywhere they sell booze.

“Liquor boxes have thicker cardboard, which makes them ideal for carrying heavy objects like books or electronics,” says Lior Rachmany, CEO and founder of Dumbo Moving and Storage.

There are even websites where you can find cheap or free moving boxes such as cheapcheapmovingboxes.com and U-Haul Customer Connect. Also, don’t forget about good ol’ Craigslist.

“Go to the ‘For Sale’ section, and then choose ‘Free,'” suggests Ali Wenzke, who founded The Art of Happy Moving after moving 11 times in 10 years. “You can typically find numerous posts for free moving boxes and bubble wrap.”

Free packing supplies

Speaking of bubble wrap, along with the actual boxes, you must protect your valuables as they go into said cheap/free moving boxes. Freecycle.org helps folks find free packing supplies (and moving boxes) that other folks are looking to recycle rather than dump. Make your move Earth-friendly and save a buck simultaneously!

“Never buy bubble wrap—instead use blankets, towels, sweaters, and other soft items that need to be packed anyway,” says Brian Davis, co-founder and lead real estate/personal finance blogger at SparkRental.com.

“There’s no need to add extra items to your move when you can simply use what you’re already packing,” adds Davis, who has lived in 10 homes in the past 10 years, and spent only $100 on a move from the U.S. to Abu Dhabi.

Cheap moving trucks

In the DIY category, there is always U-Haul for cheap moving trucks; you can also rent a cheap ZipCar van by the hour or try a car-sharing service in which individuals rent out their own cars for a pittance. But beyond that option, keep in mind that the cheapest “truck” might not be a truck at all. It could be a train!

With Amtrak Express Shipping, you can ship your first 100 pounds anywhere in the U.S.—even cross-country—for a $67 flat rate, with each additional pound costing 57 cents. Just keep in mind that this method has a limit of 500 pounds per person, and you’ll have to pack and then transport the boxes to Amtrak yourself. Still, it’s a cheap way to get your stuff where it needs to go.

Have a lot of books? You might consider sending them through the U.S. Postal Service.

“The book rate for postal mail is only 49 cents per pound,” says personal finance writer Romana King.

Cheap movers

No, we are not going to suggest you hit up all your friends and then offer them pizza and beer. Yes, it’s a cost-saving option, but at some point in your life you’ll find that everyone you know has pretty much had it with helping others move.

Instead, research discount websites for movers and check out references to make sure you’re not skimping on quality.

“Groupon is your best bet,” says Rachmany. “Also don’t be afraid to negotiate with your moving company. Moves can be cheaper during different times of the month, so you can save cash just by moving your move toward the middle of the month rather than during the peak times of the beginning and end of the month, or in the summer.”

Also, instead of checking Craigslist for “man with van” type ads, you can get a more secure option going through a site such as Dolly.com or PockItShip, both of which are on-demand pickup and delivery moving services. They’re especially good if you’re doing a lot of the moving yourself but need some extra help with heavier items. Plus they provide the truck!

And if you want to make a difference in someone’s life while they help you move yours, check out HirePatriots, a site that connects you with military veterans looking for work.

HirePatriots founder Mark Baird says that moving help is a typical job posting on this nationwide site and you can probably get some extra hands for $15 to $20 an hour.

Finally, consider “move sharing” as an option: You can call a company, and see if you can piggyback on someone else’s move in your area.

Also, for cross-country moves, consider checking with a moving consolidator.

“These companies act like a broker and specialize in booking half-empty moving trucks,” says King. “The result is you pay a significantly cheaper rate to move interstate, and the large moving companies that own the trucks get something for a prescheduled move.”

With consolidators you might have to wait longer for your shipment to arrive, but it can save you lots of dough on the flip side!

Kimberly Dawn Neumann, who is based in New York City, is an author, performer, and fitness professional.
Uncategorized

Exterior Home Design Trends by Region

Topics in this article: Home Improvement Remodeling Tips & Hacks Trends See All Topics

East Coast Home Trend

What’s hot in home improvement and home design this year depends on where you live.

From lighter colored roofing out West and richer colors in the South to beach-inspired design in coastal areas, the varying climates and styles of the United States influence the design elements homeowners choose for their homes. Even the style of the home itself can vary by region.

What’s on trend where you live? Hover over the icons on the photo below to learn what home improvement trends are cropping up in your part of the country.

The East Coast

In coastal communities like Miami, it’s all about the beach lifestyle. Exterior features include outdoor showers, plunge pools, shady porches and verandas all designed to create the feel of a day at the beach for family and friends. More importantly, though, is protection from hurricanes in areas along the Gulf Coast and up the Eastern seaboard.

  • Windows: Forget about nailing boards to your windows at the last minute. Coastal homeowners are creating permanent exterior answers to Mother Nature’s fury, such as impact-resistant glass for windows and Bahama shutters that you can close at the first hint of a storm.
  • Roofing: Roofs are designed to withstand the uplift”winds hurricanes produced.
  • Doors: Garage doors are designed to stand their ground against high winds.

The Mountains

Whether you live in the Rockies or the Tetons, bringing the outdoors inside is a trend that starts with the exterior of your home. Denver home improvement projects will see a lot of the following trends.

  • Siding: In the mountains, Mother Nature’s colors are reflected in exterior home trends. Green, putty and brown dominate.
  • Windows: Walls of windows make the sweeping landscape part of your living room.
  • Flooring: Flooring that extends from your home outside to your patio or outdoor room brings the inside out and the outside in.
  • Roofing: Roof overhangs create shade for outdoor sitting areas, and remember to install built-in infrared heaters to keep you cozy on chilly nights.

The Pacific Northwest

Home exteriors in the Pacific Northwest tend to be inspired by the lush landscape around them. Home styles are all over the map, from contemporary to traditional.

Siding runs from traditional shingles to wood to laminate, all in the colors of nature. Greens, blues and grays, reminiscent of the ocean and woodlands, are common in this part of the country, especially for Seattle home improvement projects.

The Midwest

The weather influences Midwest exterior design trends, especially in the northern areas like Chicago, where winter can dominate the year. When Midwesterners can get outside, they want to be outside, so a hot trend right now is toward outdoor living spaces in which to enjoy the fleeting days of spring, summer and fall.

  • Doors: Outdoor rooms are nothing new, but the Midwest is seeing modern touches like sliding glass doors that open up an entire wall of the home.
  • Siding: Tones here skew toward browns, tans, putty and greens.
  • Roofing: Metal roofs can be good for shedding snow, but asphalt shingles continue to be the most popular choice among homeowners.

The Southwest

The idea here is for the home to blend seamlessly into the landscape. Hacienda-style accents like brightly colored house numbers or mailboxes and landscaping with desert plants such as cacti round out the look.

The colors of the desert drive siding trends here — terra cotta, cream, colors of sand. Construction materials tend to run local as well — adobe and stucco dominate.

The South

Here, it’s all about Southern hospitality. And homeowners aren’t afraid of a little color, especially in fun metro areas, like Dallas home improvement projects, where you’ll find bright and colorful trends.

  • Doors: Down South, welcoming front porches, double doors that add a splash of bright, bold color to your home and shady verandas are all popular.
  • Siding: In the Southeast, you might see a little darker colors, desert tans and whites, but you’ll see some brown wood and driftwood as well.

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