No More Leaks
Washing machines leak—not routinely, but often enough to make precaution worthwhile. After all, it's never easy or cheap to undo the effects of water damage. The wise course? Equip your laundry room with a leak alarm. That way, if the washer (or utility sink) springs a leak, you can snap into action to limit the damage. However, be aware that the most basic leak alarms come with a severe limitation. That is, if you're not at home to hear the alarm sound, you're out of luck. Opt instead for an internet-enabled option like the D-Link Wi-Fi Water Sensor. When triggered, the device delivers an alert to your smartphone, so you get the information you need, right when you need it, wherever you happen to be. Available at Amazon; $59.99.
Related: 8 (Nearly) Invisible Laundry Rooms
Brush It Off
It’s part of your weekly laundry routine: Before turning on the dryer, you take a moment to clear the lint filter, aware that failing to do so would reduce energy efficiency and heighten the risk of fire. Just don't forget that lint collects not only in the filter, but also in the vent pipe that carries exhaust from the dryer to the outdoors. Twice a year, make it a point to eliminate any vent blockages with an all-in-one cleaning kit. Field-tested by pros, the Gardus LintEater Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning System comes with everything you need to get the job done with relative ease—not least because its components hook up to a standard cordless drill, saving you the hassle and sweat of doing it the laborious, old-fashioned way. Available at Amazon; $27.79.
After a few rounds in the washing machine, delicate clothing like lingerie, hosiery, and lace-detailed shirts can show signs of damage—blame it on high water temperatures and rough spin cycles. Protecting your delicates is as simple as throwing them into mesh bags, such as these ones by Bagail. The five wash bags are made of durable polyester fiber, which effectively prevents snags, stretching, and tears. The bags will pay for themselves, saving you money by extending the life of your clothes. Available on Amazon; $9.89 for a set of five (1 Jumbo, 2 Extra Large, and 2 Medium).
De-wrinkling your clothing is a must for keeping a polished or professional wardrobe, but the supplies used to do the job take up precious real estate on laundry room shelves or cabinets. With the mDesign Ironing Board Holder, you can get back your storage space by keeping everything in one convenient location. The sturdy bottom hooks provide a place to hang your board, while the steel basket can store your iron, detergents, clothing pins, and more. Position the holder on your laundry room door or against a wall, thus improving the room’s functionality and stretching the limits of your storage space. Available on Amazon; $17.99.
The care instructions on clothing labels can be baffling. Clothing labels are written in their own language, which means instead of reading “wash in cold water” or “dry clean only,” you’ll be faced with weird symbols you can’t decipher. You just wanted to throw in a quick load before your next errand, but unless you can decode those laundry instructions, you'll be left hoping you didn’t just ruin your favorite shirt. The confusion ends with this decorative yet practical sign. It adds a nice touch to your laundry room, while also helping you figure out what those tiny drawings mean. Now you'll never be left with shrunken pants or pink socks again. Available on Amazon; $20.99.
Related: 9 Smart Hacks for Laundry Day
Wrinkles Be Gone
Get rid of the bulky iron and ironing board when you replace it with the My Little Steamer Go Mini. This tiny wonder gets the creases out of your clothing in mere minutes. Simply fill the chamber with water, plug it in, and turn on the switch. Within a few seconds the water will be bubbling and wrinkle-fighting steam will be pouring out. The steamer's small size and weight makes it easy to operate and then store when you are done. No longer will you have to lug out the ironing tools to smooth your clothes in the morning. Available on Amazon; $30.87.
When you've no room to pop open a folding board and no patience for the setup and storage required with each use, the Houseables Ironing Blanket poses a simpler solution: Lose the legs. This heat-resistant padded mat wraps over flat metal surfaces (like, say, the top of your washer or dryer) to turn them into temporary ironing boards. Secured by its heavy-duty corner magnets, it won't budge during laundry duties until you're ready to roll up, fold, or hang the 32 ½-inch by 17-inch blanket for next time. Houseables' flexible design is so convenient both at home and on the road that you'll soon be saying "so long" to your squeaky ironing board. Available on Amazon; $13.99.
The beauty of front-loading washers and dryers is that they are as space-smart as they are energy-efficient. Homeowners can stack them in a closet or set them side-by-side and reclaim the space atop the appliances as if it were a countertop! When you opt for the latter laundry room design, though, you need to take care that you don't lose clean laundry to the dust behind the machines while you sort socks and fold towels. Enter the Haus Maus Laundry Guard: Held in place along the edges of your adjacent machines by rare earth magnets, the 8"-tall plastic screen completely contains whatever you dump on top. When you one day decide to stack them, you can fold the modular design into a smaller configuration to fit atop the set—great for storing surplus bottles without worrying about one falling off any of the sides and out of reach. Available on Amazon; $29.95.
If your laundry room countertops aren't at least occasionally smeared with detergent and fabric softener, you either don't do laundry, or you're using the Tidy-Cup. These simple yet genius drip trays snap onto the spout of your liquid detergent dispenser, giving you a place to set your measuring cup and a trap for catching leaks or spills. When drips do happen, simply unsnap the Tidy-Cup, rinse it under the tap, and replace it so it can continue to keep your laundry room free of sticky messes. Available on Amazon ; $16.82.
Related: 8 "Zero Dollar" Laundry Room Hacks
Wash and Fold
If you're blessed with a spacious laundry room, congrats: You probably have ample space to store a bulky, cumbersome laundry basket. For the rest of us, it takes skill to squeeze that basket into a small space. That's where the Smart POP UP collapsible laundry basket is your best friend. When you need it, it performs just like any other full-size laundry basket—and when you don't, it folds flat to be stored between the washer and the wall, behind a closet door, or just about anywhere you have a few extra inches. Available on Amazon; $29.88.
All aspects of life look different in 2020—and that includes Black Friday shopping. Major retailers are already offering seasonal deals and promotions in their online stores, so you can stock up on gifts for friends, family, and maybe even yourself.