Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Laundry as therapy, and another frugal-living tip.

I confess: I'm in love with my washer and dryer. If I could marry a set of appliances I would choose those shiny blue babies in my utility room. Seriously. But only because I love so much the whole process of gathering, sorting, washing, drying and folding the laundry. The putting away of the laundry, not so much. Everything up to that point, though, I consider my own inexpensive brand of therapy. If it involves hanging our clothes and linens out on the line outside to dry in the sunshine, even better. There is just something calming - cathartic, even - about carrying out a task from beginning to end, watching the breeze push my kiddos' t-shirts to and fro like it's rocking a baby, and smelling that smell of freshly laundered blankets.

Really. Try to contain your laughter.

I didn't mean for it to turn out this way. I really intended for them to be just a set of very efficient tools to make my days as a stay-at-home mom a little easier. But I should have known. I love doing the laundry and any device manufactured to encourage that habit would eventually find a special place in my heart. It didn't take long.

Our first washer/dryer were a hand-me-down set from my older brother and his wife. They had purchased the pair new when they got married. By the time we got them when we moved into our new house they were well used but still in great shape. We used them for another eight-plus years before we donated them (still in working order) to a local charity when we bought our current set.

I shopped for at least a year before we bought a new set. I knew there were features I would never use and features I couldn't live without. I researched, I read countless customer reviews, and I prayed that the old set would last until we had the money saved to purchase new. I'm sure I drove the poor man at Sears up the wall as I opened and slammed and opened and slammed the doors of every washer and dryer in the place.

Having been through all that, here's the tip I have to share with you today: when it comes to large purchases, be patient, shop around, save up and buy quality.

OK, technically that's more than one tip. Consider it a bonus!

Anyway. These tips will save you money in a couple of ways. First, when you know which product you want, shopping around is just a good idea to help you find the best deal. The big box stores might be pretty close in price, but often they will match another store's lowest price or offer free delivery or any number of add-ons. If you have time to be patient (if your whatever-thing-needs-replacing hasn't blown up already) you can wait for that great sale on the one you love, and while you're waiting, save up the cash for it. Let me repeat that last one: save up the cash. It's a lot easier to wheel and deal when you have a wad of cash in your hand, and you aren't likely to overspend on stuff you don't need if you walk into a store with only your budgeted amount. And that tip about buying quality? Well, it usually means you won't have to replace that item again for quite some time.

I should note here that there is, of course, always the option to buy used and there are some great deals to be had out there. Think estate sales, craigslist.org, and your garden variety garage sales. Steve and I have never been averse to that idea and in fact a quick scan of our home will reveal more garage sale finds and hand-me-downs than items purchased new. That said, I admit I get a little princess-y now and then and just want something new. Fortunately for me, my dear sweet husband will usually oblige.

As it turned out we got an even better deal than expected with this particular purchase. The white set we actually bought was on a wicked good sale at Lowe's, but apparently there were a million other people who took advantage of the sale and the manufacturer couldn't keep up with orders. About six weeks after we ordered and paid for them they still weren't delivered, so we went into the store to see how they would make it right. They offered us an upgrade to what they had in stock, at no additional cost. So we got the sweet-lookin' blue set with more options delivered the next day.

You never know how patience might pay off.

And really. Who knew a person could be so infatuated with an appliance? I promise to not talk about my washer and dryer ever again. Or at least for six months. Honest.


  1. Oh how I wish I loved doing laundry! I don't love any part of it (well maybe I like the smell of fresh laundry). I don't enjoy sorting, I don't enjoy washing, or drying, and I especially do not enjoy folding! Now...if I could find a washer and dryer that would do all of that for me, I could marry that appliance!

  2. I love clotheswashing, too! It's really alchemy: transforming laundry into a wardrobe.

  3. I understand your love of your appliances. Right now, I feel the same about my best kitchen appliances (my blender and standing mixer, for instance). To do a chore well, a well-working appliance makes the job so much easier!

    I can't say I feel the same about laundry, living in an apartment where I use machines I wouldn't personally buy, and which take quarters. :)

  4. I love laundry, too! It's so easy and the results are so nice!

    Our van is 10 years old and slowly dying so we are saving up CASH to buy a new one (well new to us). I'm hoping to be able to wheel and deal with a wad of cash! :-)

  5. Andrea, that would be a very expensive machine. Perhaps quite worth the cost, though.

    Alchemy! Love it.

    Jess ... yeah, it's much more fun when you don't have to insert quarters for every load.

  6. Jennifer - you're blogging about laundry and your washer and dryer...I'm concerned :) I'm coming to get you one of these nights and get you out of the house!!! Just kidding :) Cute post. And I love doing laundry too....

  7. Hee! Frightening, isn't it?!? Gotta' take joy in the small things. (And maybe get out a little more!)

  8. Totally agree...the small things often bring the most joy :)