9 Common Laundry Room Problems & How to Fix Them

When we talk about the practice of washing and drying our clothes, most people refer to it as “doing the laundry”, being on “laundry duty”, or taking care of your “laundry chores”.

None of those descriptions exactly demonstrate a very enthusiastic attitude towards doing the laundry once or twice a week, do they?

While tackling any home chore is a necessity and not exactly the ideal way you’d prefer to be spending your free time, various common laundry room problems can make you really want to put off your laundry tasks for as long as possible.

 woman carrying linens past washer and dryer

We’re not talking about laundry problems like how to get your clothes whiter, softer, less staticky, or whether or not you’re using too much detergent.

No, we’re talking about common laundry room problems that make this space:

  • dreary and unwelcoming
  • functionally inadequate
  • prone to storage and clutter issues
  • a safety concern for parents

Things don’t have to be this way when it comes to your laundry room, however.

Do these laundry room problems affect you?

Although the laundry room has traditionally been overlooked as an area that’s home improvement project-worthy, homeowners have started to change their attitude about it in recent years.

Laundry rooms in many houses are being transformed into spaces that, in some cases, are downright swanky. A laundry room remodel enables this part of your home to complement the existing décor of your living space.

According to a National Association of Home Builders’ 2019 report, the laundry room was named as the most essential home feature for homebuyers.

It only makes sense that an increasing number of homeowners are coming around to the realization that it’s time to pay more attention to how their laundry rooms look and function.

After all, we spend a lot of time in the laundry room. The average American family does about eight loads of laundry per week. That can add up to a few hundred hours being spent in the laundry room annually for some families.

If you’re vexed by any of the common laundry room problems listed here, find out what solutions work best in order to make your laundry room easier to use and more comfortable to spend time in.

1. Your laundry room is dreary

Perhaps the biggest reason we procrastinate on laundry chores is due to the fact that most laundry rooms are dark, dreary spaces that lack any type of appealing décor.

Homeowners would probably describe their laundry room as something that’s utilitarian, which Merriam Webster defines as something that’s “made to be useful rather than to be decorative or comfortable”.

Despite this widespread perception, Organized Interiors has proven time and time again with our many laundry room makeovers that both functionality and stylish décor can, in fact, work in perfect harmony.

A makeover can add a decorative flair and warmth to a laundry room with:

  • beautiful custom cabinetry and countertop finishes
  • decorative cabinetry hardware
  • a fresh coat of wall and ceiling paint
  • backsplash tiles to add more aesthetic appeal to the room
  • a colour scheme that blends nicely with your home’s décor
  • laundry tub and faucet upgrades

Adding finishing touches to a laundry room remodel with improved lighting, artwork, a stylish rug, or plants (if the room gets natural light), will also liven up the space and make it more inviting and pleasant to spend time in.

2. There isn’t enough laundry room storage space

One of the most common laundry room problems is having insufficient storage space for your laundry supplies.

All of those detergent, stain remover, fabric softener, bleach, and spray starch containers can get disorganized without an adequate storage and organization system.

Then there’s all of the additional laundry helpers we use, such as laundry boosters, dryer sheets, clothes pins, laundry pods, and ironing supplies.

So what’s the best solution to store everything tidily? Have your room remodelled to include enough custom cabinetry to hold everything you use for your laundry chores (and then some).

Custom cabinets look much nicer than DIY shelving, repurposed kitchen cupboards, or prefab big box store cabinetry. Customizing also allows you to create a design aesthetic that aligns with your style tastes and home décor.

They’ll also maximize your laundry room’s storage space and allow you to adjust shelving in order to fit the different sizes of laundry supplies that need storing.

Open shelving and pullout shelves can also be used to accommodate all of your laundry room storage needs.

You can even squeeze a little more storage space out of your laundry room by using pedestals with drawer storage for your washer and dryer.

bright laundry room with gray cabinets

Having plenty of cabinets in the laundry room eliminates storage issues. Attractive countertops and cabinet finishes add a decorative flair to a typically dreary home space.

3. The laundry room is too small

Another common issue with laundry rooms is their small size, particularly in older homes. Smaller laundry rooms can make it more difficult to get your laundry duties done in a timely manner.

Here’s a couple of examples: a small laundry room doesn’t have an adequate amount of space for a folding area, necessitating you to move your freshly dried clothes to another room for folding.

Perhaps the laundry room is so cramped that even sorting clothes before washing or after drying them is a headache, which also requires you to do this elsewhere.

While a smaller laundry room does present more of a challenge when it comes to your laundry task efficiency, there are ways to get the most out of your limited space.

Leveraging the expertise of a professional who can add smartly located storage and extra features for an optimal level of functionality will improve your experience using a small laundry room.

Stackable washers and dryers can also be used to save space.

4. Keeping children out of the laundry room is a challenge

If you have young kids, getting them involved in supervised laundry tasks is a great way to teach them responsibility and the pride that comes with contributing to the household chores.

The American Cleaning Institute represents the U.S. cleaning products industry and released stats related to children and laundry:

  • 50% of parents do their laundry while their kids are also in the laundry room
  • 67% of parents of children under the age of four said their children have laundry room access
  • 46% of parents get their children to help them sort and prepare clothes for the wash

If the laundry room isn’t being used or if it is and an adult isn’t present, keeping them out of the room can be a concern for parents due to the various potential safety risks that exist.

Children love getting into small spaces, which makes washers, dryers, pullout laundry hampers, and cupboards dangerous to your little ones.

If necessary, purchase locks for your appliances, especially for more accessible front-loading washers and dryers. And naturally, you could just keep the laundry room locked for some extra peace of mind.

Even if you are working in the laundry room with your kids, it’s easy to get distracted with one of your laundry tasks or something else going on in the house. Always stay vigilant when your children are in the laundry room!

5. Laundry supplies are difficult to store safely

detergent podsOne of the other obvious safety issues with laundry rooms if you have youngsters or pets are the hazardous chemicals in your laundry products.

Most laundry detergent pods are round and colourful, which curious children may mistake for toys or candy. Keeping them out of sight and out of reach is children is even more important because laundry pods are more toxic than traditional detergents.

Between 2012 and 2017, Global News reports that American poison control centres received almost 73,000 calls related to laundry pod ingestion incidents involving mostly kids under the age of six.

Even if you do put a lock on the laundry room door, it might be wise to keep all your dangerous laundry supplies locked behind your cabinetry doors, ideally higher up. And make sure your kids are taught about the safety risks of your laundry and cleaning products.

It’s advisable to have the number of your local poison control centre easily visible in the laundry room or in your phone. If there is an accident, consult the laundry product label for first aid instructions.

Some people prefer to transfer their laundry products to jars or other storage containers. If you do this, be sure to keep everything labelled and retain the packaging or labels of products being decanted. That way, you’ll have a reference for the product in case there’s an emergency.

6. The laundry room is a dumping ground

Laundry rooms are busy spaces, so keeping them organized and free of clutter isn’t easy.

Between piles of dirty clothes being deposited in the room, clothing items in need of repair, all of your laundry products, and accumulating those miscellaneous items that pulled out of pockets before a wash, things can get untidy fast.

Outfit your laundry room with enough storage and counter space so that everything has a place, which simplifies and expedites your organization efforts.

Built-in hampers are incredibly useful for keeping your laundry room organized. Getting everyone in the family to separate their own dirty clothing into the appropriate hamper will save whoever takes care of most of the laundry tasks lots of time.

Hampers can also be installed in your bedroom custom cabinetry to keep dirty clothes organized. Organized Interiors’ hampers conveniently come with pullout liners with handles for easy transportation.

Use baskets or dedicated cabinet or cubby spaces for all of those small odds and ends that can accumulate in the laundry room, like single socks and forgotten items left in pockets. That will keep surfaces like the top of your washer and dryer, folding counter, and counter space around the sink clutter-free.

laundry room problems open hampers

7. Multi-tasking while doing laundry is tricky

There’s a lot of waiting time involved with doing the laundry, so you probably multi-task while the washer and dryer are running.

This can include doing things like cooking, washing the dishes, vacuuming, helping your kids with homework, or supervising young children.

In bigger homes, the laundry room’s location can play a big part in how convenient it is to multi-task while taking care of the laundry.

Moving your laundry room’s location from, say, the basement to a more centralized part of the home to help make this easier for you isn’t usually a simple or inexpensive solution.

Relocating your laundry room to a space close to your existing plumbing which also allows for dryer venting is obviously imperative.

You’ll also need to take the noise a washer and dryer can make while running into account, especially if you’re thinking of relocating close to any bedrooms.

We previously mentioned how much homebuyers value a good laundry room and a well-located laundry room (on a main floor, preferably beside the kitchen) is especially coveted by buyers.

8. The laundry room lacks functionality

If a laundry room merely holds your washer and dryer, allows for a small amount of storage, and has a barely adequate-sized folding and sorting area, this lack of functionality only makes laundry work tougher to do.

In addition to more cabinet storage and built-in laundry hampers, there are other ways to enhance the room’s functionality, such as adding:

  • a space-saving pullout ironing board
  • undercabinet task lighting
  • a dedicated area for sewing and garment repairs
  • an island for extra counter space and storage
  • hanging rods and valet rods for more hanging space
  • a pullout drawer that functions as a drying rack

With the right setup and enough space, a laundry room can double as a go-to home storage space where luggage, seasonal clothing, and cleaning supplies are kept.

If it’s located near an entrance, a laundry room-mudroom combo is another idea to consider. Mudrooms function as a very useful transitional area between the outdoors and the rest of your home. They can help keep your front hallway tidier and cleaner.

laundry room problems counter hamper ironing board

Add extra functionality to a laundry room with hanging rods, task lighting, and space-savers like a pullout ironing board, drying rack, and hampers.

9. The laundry room gets too hot

So you’ve remodelled your laundry room with some of the aforementioned upgrades. While the room is a lot more pleasant to use, you find that it always get too hot whenever the dryer is running. What’s up with that?

There are several factors that can cause the laundry room to get uncomfortably warm or hot once the dryer is operating.

The first thing to check is your dryer’s lint screen, which should be cleaned after every use. A clogged lint screen poses a fire hazard, makes the dryer work harder (which creates more heat in a room), can cause clothes to not fully dry, and adds to a laundry room’s humidity level.

Also check the dryer’s vent tube (that white or aluminum-looking flexible tube behind the appliance). Make sure it’s not damaged and properly attached to the dryer and outdoor exhaust vent.

The dryer duct, along with the rest of your home’s ducts, should be periodically cleaned by a professional to ensure no blockages occur.

And finally, check your outdoor lint trap occasionally and eliminate any lint build-up. This is something many people don’t do and it can create a major fire risk if it’s ignored long enough.

Rely on a pro to solve your laundry room problems

If you’re experiencing any of these laundry room problems, don’t just adapt to them. Take action now to improve one of the hardest working rooms in your home.

Organized Interiors can provide solutions to many of the laundry room problems you’re dealing with. All you need to do is to get a dialogue started with us by scheduling a free in-home design consultation.

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Fall Home Organizing: 17 Smart Tips You Can’t Go Wrong With

After the more laid back approach to life most of us take during the summer, readjusting to the hustle and bustle of the autumn and early winter seasons can be tricky.

With September drawing to a close and fall officially underway, hopefully you’ve managed to keep up with the busier pace of everyday life.

Your family will be spending a lot more time indoors now that the cool weather has arrived and the more frigid weather looms just a few weeks away.

fall home organizing coloured leaves on tree

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

17 fall home organizing tips for a tidier house and condo

Considering how much more time we’ll be staying inside, it makes good sense to focus on getting your home clean and organized in the next few weeks.

A major deep cleaning and decluttering of your home doesn’t have to wait until the new year or next spring. By then, there’ll be more work for you to do.

And who wants to spend the first few days of January worrying about a big cleaning project when many of us are feeling drained after the hectic holiday season?

Before the year gets much older, get your house or condo autumn and winter-ready with these 17 fall home organizing tips.

1. Create an organization checklist and use a schedule

Having goals and a well-thought-out game plan for getting your home organized will increase the odds of success with your organization project.

Set up an organization checklist with key tasks you want to complete around the home. Don’t hesitate to throw in a couple of easy and quick organization jobs, either! Seeing things checked off a to-do list provides great motivation to keep moving forward.

To stay better organized, ensure you’re using a schedule to keep track of all events everyone in the house has coming up.

Medical appointments, sports practices and games, school events, and social gatherings should all be shown on a schedule so no one is caught off guard at the last moment.

Use a calendar in the kitchen that allows for lots of writing space for each day of the month. There’s no shortage of mobile calendar and scheduling apps available that will sync between everyone’s phones to keep all of your family’s upcoming events documented and organized.

2. Focus on one task at a time

Don’t take on too much and try to get your whole home in tip-top shape in just one weekend. No one needs that pressure or frustration.

A lot of home cleanup efforts fail because we attempt to do too much, can’t meet our goals, get frustrated, and walk away from the work.

Pace yourself and set realistic goals with a flexible timeline.

If necessary, just concentrate on one or two rooms to work on and get in peak form. After all, even one is better than none!

3. Make closet space for seasonally-appropriate clothes

Any change in seasons (especially in the spring and winter) should involve a thorough swap out of your wardrobe.

Ensuring that only seasonally-appropriate clothing is taking up your main wardrobe storage spaces will make getting dressed easier. You’ll have fewer things to navigate through and choose from, which will save you time.

Your spring and summer attire from your bedroom and front entryway closets could be hung in a spare bedroom closet, kept in labelled storage bins, or in the storage spaces of your built-in bedroom cabinetry.

Don’t forget about the linen closet, either. Switch out those lighter linens with your heavier bedding, linens, and blankets.

woman organizing closet

4. Edit your wardrobe

A seasonal clothing changeover also gives you a good opportunity to edit your wardrobe and get rid of the pieces you never wear.

As Marie Kondo preaches, only keep clothing items that truly spark joy. If you haven’t worn something in a couple of years, it’s probably time to add it to your pile of clothes to donate.

A seasonal wardrobe curation will minimize the chance of wasting money on a duplicate purchase of something you already own and just couldn’t find (which only makes a closet more congested).

If you’re struggling to keep your home’s closet spaces tidy, contact Organized Interiors. Our custom closets are designed to make managing your storage spaces easy and more efficient.

5. Organize your digital world

Because we use our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers so much nowadays, digital clutter is something that needs occasional tending to.

Americans check their smartphones an average of 52 times per day, according to one study. The most recent data we could find on cell phone usage for Canadians was from a 2014 CIBC poll. It reported that we check our phones a lot more – an average of six times per hour.

Most of us have more apps than we use, so get rid of the ones on all of your electronics that do nothing but add to your digital clutter. Group your mobile apps by category into folders so you don’t have four or five pages to swipe through just to find one.

Clean up that neglected email in-box and get those computers tidied up by reducing the number of files and icons on your desktop.

6. Rein in the holiday shopping

All of these fall home organizing tips involve taking action on different things except for this one. No, this tip involves doing, well, nothing.

A good deal of the clutter that sits in homes comes from impulse and sale purchases of things you didn’t need, but believe you might need someday.

There will be no shortage of tempting sales over the next few months with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day vying for our attention and spending money.

Resist the lure of those rock bottom sale prices to prevent the accumulation of more home clutter unless they’re things you really need and will use.

7. Declutter your food storage spaces

The kitchen is one of your home’s hardest working rooms, meaning your food storage spaces should be getting decluttered regularly.

It tends to get used even more during the last few months of the year for baking and cooking dishes to bring to social functions or for home entertaining.

Empty the contents of your pantry, freezer, and fridge to see what’s fresh and what isn’t. Give these storage areas a good cleaning before refilling them.

Set aside food purchases that are still good to eat, but will likely never get used. Food banks will appreciate your donation during this time of the year.

8. Help your kids get more organized

You can help your kids get more organized to make both their life (and yours) a little easier.

Work with them in their closets and drawers to reduce the number of outgrown or damaged clothing items that could be removed. This can create more storage space for those recent back-to-school wardrobe purchases.

Because kids grow so quickly, their closets should actually be getting the curation treatment even more regularly than your bedroom closet does.

To help with their academic tasks, consider setting up a home study space that’s tidy, designed to cater to their studying needs, and distraction-free.

A study space can be incorporated into a home office design to create a multi-functional room for the whole family.

9. Deal with those junk drawers

One of our previous fall home organizing tips involved adding smaller decluttering jobs to your cleanup to-do list. Tidying up your home’s junk drawers falls into that category.

Dump your junk drawers separately out onto a large surface like the dining room table and start going through everything.

Have a garbage bin and paper recycling bin beside you and you’ll probably find there’s not much left to go back in the drawers once the job is done.

If the drawers don’t have dividers, add some to keep things more organized.

loose change in junk drawer

Photo by Pina Messina on Unsplash

10. Make your bed every morning

Many of us were taught to make our beds every morning. We lead busy lives, however, and making the bed is rarely the first thing on our minds when we wake up.

Sometimes finding even that one or two minutes for this task during a hectic morning isn’t easy, but here’s why you should try it.

Gretchen Rubin is an author and former Navy SEAL commander. She writes in a LinkedIn article that the simple act of making your bed every morning is a positive way to start the day.

It ties into that strategy of sprinkling in a bunch of fast, easy-to-accomplish chores on your organization to-do list to fuel your motivation.

With your bed in mind, remember to flip and rotate your mattress anywhere from once every three months to once a year, depending on what the mattress maker recommends. That will ensure one side doesn’t wear out too fast.

11. Delegate home chores

A lot of these fall home organizing tips and tasks will require a bit of time, which is even more reason to delegate duties among family members.

Everybody contributes to creating household clutter, so everyone who’s old enough to help clean and declutter should be pitching in, too.

Splitting up your household chores will ensure mom or dad don’t get burnt out or frustrated taking on too much work.

Another good reason to delegate when it comes to cleaning work is that it tends to make kids feel more accountable and responsible for how they function within the home.

They’ll be less likely to leave a mess if it’s them that has to eventually tidy it up!

12. Be prepared for the unexpected

There’s nothing worse than being unprepared when an emergency occurs or anything else unexpected happens.

Maybe it’s a December ice storm that knocks out your home’s power for hours or perhaps it’s having to deal with a cooking fire.

As part of your fall home organizing checklist, spend the time to take proactive measures to guarantee you’re as ready as possible for any unexpected and challenging household occurrences.

October is fire safety awareness month, which means it’s time to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and test the units.

Every home should have a fire extinguisher located in or near the kitchen. Check that its expiry date is still good. If the extinguisher has a pressure gauge, make sure it’s maintaining pressure.

Test your flashlights to see if they need fresh batteries and know where to find your candles and matches.

13. Make sure your guest room is ready to go

Having a guest room always at the ready for overnight visitors is a wonderful thing, whether it’s during the holiday season or any other time of the year.

It’s great having a dedicated hosting space that doesn’t require you to scramble around searching for bedding and sleeping accommodations for guests.

A Murphy wall bed is perfect for guest rooms. Here’s why:

  • they’re super-comfortable to sleep on
  • less floor space is taken up with their pulldown design
  • extra storage space can be incorporated into the bed’s design
  • they can be customized to complement your décor

fall home organizing bed and desk in guest room

14. Create storage homes for as many things as possible

Creating homes for 100% of everything in your home is a lot to ask, but with a little time and focus, it’s possible to establish homes for most of the things you own.

Dedicated homes reduces the amount of time wasted looking for misplaced items (as long as you take that all-important step to actually put it back in its home, mind you).

15. Fall home organizing tips for outside

We aren’t just focussing on the inside with these fall home organizing tips – your home’s exterior needs a little attention in the autumn as well.

In addition to the standard outdoor home maintenance tasks you’ll be doing this fall like cleaning the eavestroughs and raking leaves, spend some time organizing now so you’ll make life easier for yourself come springtime.

Pick up any toys, sports gear, yard tools, and gardening tools sitting outside.

Drain your garden hoses, faucets, and sprinkler system to prevent damage from ice and hang the hoses neatly in the garage or a shed. Consider adding insulating covers to your outside faucets.

Wash off your patio furniture before putting it away until the spring. Store it in a shed or an out-of-the-way spot in the garage. If it’s staying outside, cover everything with properly fitting covers to prevent rust.

16. Get your garage organized and winter-ready

Because the garage gets so much use during the spring and summer, it tends to be one of the more demanding fall home organizing projects to deal with.

Just as you edited your closet’s belongings, do the same with the contents of your garage. Throw out old or broken tools that aren’t useful.

Look for floor clutter that can be discarded to make more space for garage parking when the weather gets worse.

If floor clutter is a problem, the solution is to make better use of your wall and overhead space.

Slatwall storage panels and overhead racking will create an ample amount of storage room for things like:

  • yard tools
  • sports equipment (including bikes)
  • ladders
  • holiday decorations
  • bulky seasonal items such as patio furniture

Contact Garage Living to get more information about how they can make your garage more visually appealing and organized.

17. Upgrade or add a mudroom

Having a transitional home space between the indoors and outside like a mudroom is particularly helpful at this time of year.

A mudroom can help to contain the messes that occur with tracked-in mud or snow from boots, as well as jackets and apparel that are soaked from the rain or snow.

In addition to your family’s fall and winter outdoor gear, all of those other items that regularly go in and out of the house like dog leashes, car keys, and backpacks can be kept organized in a mudroom and won’t get lost or misplaced as often.

Start your fall home organizing now

If you’ve been thinking about devoting time to some of these fall home organizing projects, let us know how we can help.

Organized Interiors has storage and organization solutions that every room in your home can benefit from.

Get a free quote by requesting a free in-home design consultation with us today.

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7 Sensible Home Cooling Tips That Don’t Require A/C

As we head into the final stretch of summer, the temperatures will gradually start dropping and those sweltering hot days from the past couple of months will fade further from your memory.

But all it takes is one of those late-summer heatwaves to snap you back to reality, reminding you that it’s not time to stop cooling down your home for the year.

For many homeowners, that means simply closing the windows and turning on the central air conditioning.

You might be surprised, however, to learn that air conditioning in Canadian homes isn’t as common as you might think.

Statistics Canada’s most recent data from 2017 shows that only 42% of households in this country have central air conditioning. Overall, just 60% of Canadian homes use any type of A/C.

home cooling tips woman standing by bed

Smart home cooling tips everyone should know

If you don’t have portable, window-mounted, or central conditioning, you’ve undoubtedly made use of various home cooling tips and tricks to beat the heat and humidity.

Some of those tips may be included below and perhaps a few of them will be new to you. These home cooling tips aren’t just for the air condition-less, though.

They can also be used in conjunction with your air conditioning. Obviously, relying less on the A/C reduces your utility bill. There are other notable benefits to using these home cooling tips even if you do have A/C, such as if you:

  • are eco-conscious and want to lower your carbon footprint
  • have an older home with less effective cooling airflow distribution
  • only have a portable or window A/C unit
  • own a cottage with a limited amount of A/C or no A/C system

Try these seven home cooling ideas to increase your comfort level when it heats up.

1. Cover the windows

Allowing natural light in during the day is nice. Unfortunately, on a hot and sunny day a room in direct sunlight heats up quickly.

Research from the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 76% of sunlight that hits standard double-pane windows becomes heat when it enters a home.

West-facing and south-facing windows bear the brunt of the sun’s heat from late in the morning until the early evening. That heat also gets retained by most items in a room that are exposed to sunlight, including carpets, rugs, furniture, and clutter.

Keeping windows that directly face the sun covered during a portion of the day is the easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your home’s inside cooler.

Using external shutters or another type of exterior window covering will be most effective at keeping the sunlight out. For interior decorative room cooling options, use insulating curtains, thick drapes, thermal shades, infrared heat reduction window film, or solar screens.

You could also bolster your efforts to limit the amount of direct sunlight entering your home by creating more exterior shade with an awning or exterior foliage.

2. Make home energy efficiency upgrades

One of the best home cooling tips you can follow is to make as many upgrades as possible to boost your home’s energy efficiency and lower your utility costs.

We already mentioned using thermal window film to reduce the sun’s heat inside your home. An even better solution is to upgrade to more energy efficient double or triple-glazed windows, skylights, and doors that are Energy Star-certified.

If it’s been many years since your home’s insulation was installed, it’s worth exploring whether or not it’s time for an insulation upgrade. Don’t forget about the garage, which is a commonly overlooked room when it comes to insulation installation in houses.

Minimizing the number of air leaks around your home will go a long way towards making it more energy efficient. Properly applied weatherstripping and caulking and foam sealants around your doors and windows are effective (and cost-effective) at reducing drafts.

All of these upgrades, in addition to ensuring you have adequate attic venting and insulation, will lower your energy usage year-round by minimizing your home’s transfer of hot and cold air.

While these home energy efficiency upgrades may require a not-insignificant financial commitment now, they’ll pay long-term dividends for as long as you remain in your house…and even beyond that if you sell, because they add to your home’s value.

3. Use your fans more efficiently

Yes, there actually is a right way and a wrong way (or at least a less effective way) to use a fan.

Because fans move a room’s air around more than actually cooling it, using them properly will increase their efficiency.

Let’s start with your ceiling fans. In the summer, a ceiling fan’s blades should be rotating counterclockwise at a high speed, which creates an updraft cooling effect. During the winter, reverse the direction the blades rotate and use the fan’s lowest speed setting.

Strategically setting up two fans in a room can create a pleasant cross breeze. A box fan placed in an open window that’s blowing outwards will suck out a room’s hot air. If the air outside is cooler than the inside air, some of that cooler air should be drawn in, too.

Here’s another fan cooling trick that works – place a bowl in front of fan that’s filled with ice (or some ice packs) to create a chilling breeze.

If you’re not using the A/C at all, even running your kitchen and bathroom fans for a little while will help to expel some of the hot air in your home.

home cooling tips ceiling fan

Make sure your ceiling fans are rotating counterclockwise at a high speed during the summer.

4. Declutter

Just as the sun’s heat is absorbed by furnishings near windows, excess clutter in rooms does the same thing.

Darker coloured clutter (including clothing piles and dark storage containers) left in direct sunlight will absorb and transfer more heat.

Uncluttered rooms allow air to circulate more freely through a home. That makes fans and your home’s central heating and cooling systems work more efficiently.

Having less clutter in a room makes it feel less stuffy and boosts your comfort level and ability to be more productive in the space.

Also consider that cooling down an unused spare room in a home that’s running air conditioning wastes money. Think about making that room more functional by decluttering and turning it into a:

  • home entertainment room
  • exercise room
  • wine room
  • home office
  • craft room

5. Use a dehumidifier

“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” You’ve heard that line before and it’s true.

High humidity makes you feel more uncomfortable than you feel in high, drier heats because the air around you has more moisture. That makes the air less effective at absorbing the sweat you release (not unlike how a saturated sponge is less absorbent).

Running a dehumidifier won’t cool a room better than air conditioning, but it can be used in tandem with it or by itself to get a room feeling more comfortable when it’s muggy. An ideal relative humidity level is between 40-50%.

Note that dedicated humidifiers tend to be more efficient at reducing a room’s humidity compared to using the dehumidifying function on most portable A/C units.

Another benefit of using a dehumidifier is that it minimizes the likelihood of allergens, mould, and mildew from forming in your home.

6. Minimize usage of home heat sources

One of the most common sense home cooling tips we can offer is to simply cut off the heat that’s being generated in your home at the source.

Instead of using your oven to make dinner, fire up the barbecue. Use a slow cooker or the microwave as alternatives to oven cooking that will generate less heat in the kitchen.

Running the dishwasher and using the appliances in your laundry room later in the day when it’s cooler is smart, for both heat-reducing reasons and because electricity rates are cheaper.

If anyone in your house is taking a hot shower, be sure the bathroom’s fan is running to expel the heat and moisture in the room.

And if you’re still clinging to those incandescent bulbs, switching to energy efficient CFL or LED bulbs will generate less heat, too.

home cooling tips laundry hampers and counter

Leave chores that generate heat like doing the laundry or running the dishwasher until later in the day.

7. Home cooling tips to get a better night’s sleep

When it’s hot and humid, getting a good night’s sleep if you don’t have A/C can be a challenge.

Using more lightweight sheets should help, especially if they’re more breathable linens like cotton or linens that cool such as percale, microfibre, and bamboo bed sheets.

Cooling mattress pads and toppers, in addition to pillows that use cooling gel or are made with bamboo and buckwheat, will further ensure that you get a more restful sleep.

Check the forecast to find out if the temperature overnight is dropping to a comfortable level. If so, open your bedroom windows before going to bed to let out the room’s hot air and to bring some fresh air inside.

Leave your bedroom door open in order to improve the room’s airflow.

If you are running the A/C, try these tips

If you are making use of some of these home cooling ideas while still running your air conditioning, here are four tips to make it run more efficiently:

  1. Get your air conditioner and furnace serviced regularly (Energy Star recommends yearly tune-ups).
  2. Change your HVAC air filters a minimum of every three months.
  3. Have your ducts cleaned every three to five years to maximize the airflow of your HVAC systems.
  4. Don’t close vents or doors to unused rooms while the central A/C or heat are running. It’s a very common misconception that this is helpful, but it throws off the air balancing in your home for your HVAC systems, which can actually make them work harder.

One more thing you should do is to leave enough space around supply and return vents to improve airflow by repositioning furniture and moving nearby clutter.

Organized Interiors takes this into account when designing our custom cabinetry. To ensure proper ventilation, we add integrated vents to the bottom of any furniture piece that’s positioned over any of your floor or wall vents.

Despite using the above tips, you may still frustratingly find that certain parts of your home (like the top floor) are experiencing temperature disparities when your heating or cooling systems are running.

If having your HVAC systems serviced and your ducts cleaned don’t fix the problem, it may just be that the layout of your home or a less than optimal duct installation years ago are inhibiting the airflow of your HVAC systems.

Get organized and keep your home a little cooler

Remove the clutter from your home that makes it harder to keep your living space cool.

Entrust your organization and storage needs to Organized Interiors, who have been leaders in helping to keep homes in the GTA tidy and clean for over 40 years.

Schedule your complimentary in-home design consultation with us today.

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The High Cost of Clutter: 5 Effects You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Whoever came up with the expression “we’re supposed to own our stuff, not let our stuff own us” no doubt spoke from first-hand experience.

The realization that you own far more than you need or use is a sobering one. It’s also the perfect time to re-evaluate what’s truly worthy of occupying space in your home.

Clutter is a nuisance, a productivity killer, and has a negative impact on your finances, health, and overall quality of life.

The high cost of clutter can be found in ways that are quite obvious and others that you may be completely overlooking.

high cost of clutter storage units

Renting a self storage unit is nothing more than a long-term drain on your finances.

How much does the cost of clutter affect you?

Any room in a house or condo that’s disorganized and cluttered has some type of detrimental impact on the occupants of that home.

And belongings that are stored remotely from your residence may not be taking up living space or slowing down your productivity at home, but they sure are a constant drain on your finances.

If you take the time to “edit” your belongings, you’ll end up saving money, getting more out of your living space, and feeling less stressed.

Here are five ways the cost of clutter may be affecting you.

1. Clutter affects your health

It’s an all-too-common occurrence where someone looks around their cluttered home, wonders how their living space got so disorganized, and gets incredibly discouraged.

Clutter is known to be a liability to your mental and physical well-being. Being surrounded by physical clutter ironically adds to your mental clutter, making you feel unsettled and not in control of your surroundings…in other words, stressed.

This can affect your sleep, your confidence level, and your mood. You’ve undoubtedly had a few run-ins with a family member at some point over their (or your) organizational shortcomings.

Like any problem, the longer you avoid dealing with decluttering, the more daunting the whole process seems. This overwhelming and hopeless feeling only exacerbates your lack of motivation to take action.

A Huffington Post poll found that 55% of Americans cite their home’s lack of organization as a major source of stress. 84% of them worry about whether their homes are clean enough. This reveals another cost of clutter – it tends to be an embarrassment and makes you less likely to have visitors over.

In extreme cases, excess clutter literally makes a home less safe. Stacked piles of junk become tipping hazards, loose floor clutter presents tripping hazards, and a home becomes a greater fire risk. The higher presence of allergens like dust, mould, mildew, and various bacteria types also contribute to a less healthy living space.

2. More clutter = less living space

It’s a natural inclination for us fill up any empty space in our homes with stuff. If you set down roots in the same spot for a long time, that can lead to a lot of stuff you don’t use much (or at all) taking up valuable square footage.

For most people, their home is their most sizable investment. And high real estate prices, particularly in major cities, makes every square foot in your home even more precious.

Consider these statistics:

  • One in seven Americans have a room in their home they cannot use because it is filled with things they rarely use. (ClearVoice Research study)
  • 20% of the 1,500 North American respondents to a Garage Living poll say they’re unable to park in their garage due to clutter.
  • Only about 20% of the things we own are actually used. (LexisNexis study)
  • Disorganization (not lack of space) causes 80% of household clutter. (Soap and Detergent Association study)

As one of the above stats points out, garages are particular clutter magnets, as are spare rooms. If it feels like your home is just too small, eliminating the junk you don’t need and making better use of your home’s underutilized storage space will open up a wealth of space that can used more effectively.

Your garage could actually start accommodating parked vehicles once again or perhaps that spare room could be turned into a craft room or home office.

cost of clutter messy garage

25% of people with 2-car garages can’t park in them at all because of clutter and a third can only park one car. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)

3. Storage units waste your money

There are more than a few stories online of people who came to the realization that the money they’ve spent renting a self storage unit for years actually cost them more than the estimated value of the items being stored.

This is an extreme example, of course, but in most cases it’s hard to justify renting a self storage unit long-term. Exceptions could include any of the following instances:

  • you’ll be out of the country for an extended period of time and it doesn’t make financial sense to keep your current residence
  • a recent move to a smaller home has left you with more belongings than you have room for
  • you’re using a storage unit temporarily to hold the belongings of a recently deceased friend or family member

A Self Storage Association stat shows that one in 17 American households rented a storage unit in 1995. Today, that number has increased to one in 10 households.

Maclean’s magazine reports that there’s a boom occurring now in the self storage industry in North America. Americans use a whopping nine square feet of self storage space per capita, while Canadians use two square feet.

Comparatively speaking, that might not seem like much, but it’s still a lot. The price for a 10′ x 10′ storage unit (the most popular size) in the Greater Toronto Area can cost anywhere from $190-$395. If we use the amount that’s right in the middle of that gap ($292), that works out to $3,500 per year in storage fees.

Trust us, self storage facilities want you to forget about your stuff or not deal with it. Here are three more reasons to reconsider using them:

  • there are often hidden fees that drive the advertised cost of a storage unit up (for insurance, more secure locks, or an easier-to-access unit location)
  • you’re leaving the safekeeping of your belongings to strangers and a (hopefully secure) lock
  • the climate control and lighting costs for the massive amount of space storage facilities occupy has a huge environmental footprint

The remote storage business model has evolved in recent years, too. Startup companies in major cities like Toronto, New York City, and Los Angeles now offer a “valet storage” service. They’ll pick up and store your things and return them to you when needed, if you can believe it.

4. Clutter slows down your productivity

Whether it’s at work or at home, clutter unquestionably slows down your productivity.

Naturally, there’s the time that gets wasted searching for things like car keys, makeup, home office supplies, a remote, a tool, or a wallet. It’s estimated the average person will waste a full year of their lives looking for lost or misplaced items.

“Choice overload” is another time waster. An example of this would be taking more time than you should to choose an outfit because your reach-in closet is overloaded and disorganized.

Having too many things to choose from can also be caused by duplicate purchases being made because you’re unable to find something and buy it again.

Digital clutter is another problem. If you’ve ever gone for a long period of time without replying to emails or deleting messages from your email account, you know how it feels to be staring at an overwhelming amount of digital clutter that needs cleaning up.

It’s a simple fact that “standard” clutter (like stacks of boxes or storage bins, unused furniture stacked against a wall, or obsolete electronics stashed in a closet) makes it less easy to clean a home.

You have to clean around it, move it around, or ignore cleaning certain areas altogether if you don’t feel like moving things.

Here’s another sobering statistic for you – a National Soap and Detergent Association study estimates that the average home would have 40% less housework to do if its clutter was eliminated.

cost of clutter open closet

A tidy closet like this one improves the efficiency of your daily routine by cutting down on time that’s wasted searching for things.

5. Hiring pros to deal directly with clutter gets expensive

A lack of time or simply not knowing where to start cleaning up are common reasons clutter doesn’t get dealt with.

If things really spiral out of control with your clutter, hiring a cleaning service, professional organizer, junk removal service, or renting a dumpster bin may be your chosen course of action to fix things.

Most of these clutter cleanup services don’t provide lasting benefits, especially if you’re unwilling to change some bad organization habits.

Your home will need cleaning within a week or two. It’s going to refill with clutter eventually and need another visit from a junk removal company.

And consider the pointlessness of the time and expense it takes to transport your clutter if you’re moving and hire professional movers.

Instead of spending money on services that don’t deliver substantial long-term benefits, invest in better storage and organization systems that will serve your home well for years to come.

Cut the high cost of clutter in your home

Cleaning up your home’s clutter won’t be a one day project. Focus on organizing one room in your home at a time. You’ll be carried by the momentum that comes with seeing each untidy area of your home become tidy and functional once again.

Why not speed up the process of achieving your goal of a clean, orderly home? Our organization systems aren’t merely “one more thing just taking up space in your home”.

They’re highly functional and will actually improve your living space by making it a lot easier to keep your home tidy and running smoothly.

Book your free in-home consultation with one of our design consultants today to begin taking action to minimize the cost of clutter in your home.

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Murphy Bed Ideas: A Classic That Never Goes Out Of Style

Some things just never go out of style and the Murphy bed is more essential today than ever before.

Today’s Murphy beds are comfortable, reliable, and can be found in upscale condos and houses and beautifully add a stylish, modern touch to your home’s décor.

Murphy bed in down position with pillows on bed, custom built-ins, ladder, telescope and rug.

Murphy bed and custom built-ins finished in Chocolate Pear.

7 things you need to know about Murphy beds

William Murphy’s wall bed design has been around for well over a century. Modern enhancements and improvements have made this traditional concept a must-have for any home.

Let’s look at seven Murphy bed attributes that show why this classic piece of furniture remains so appealing.

1. Murphy beds are a classic brand for a reason

There’s a reason most wall beds are commonly referred to as “Murphy beds”, even if they’re not the Murphy brand. The Murphy name is associated as much with wall beds as Kleenex is with tissues, Band-Aid is for bandages, and Google is for online searches.

All of these brand names are used as shorthand to describe even their competitor’s products because in some cases they invented the product, they perfected the product, and they became market leaders.

All wall beds are not created equal, however. A DIY wall bed kit might save some cost, but DIY wall beds fall well short of a customized authentic Murphy bed in five important areas:

  • ease of use: the spring-based mechanism makes the bed easy to open and close
  • one-finger operation: the patented rotational leg and crossbar is smooth and no-fuss
  • reliability: the lightweight Supreme Steel hardware system carries a 25-year warranty
  • safety: the counterbalanced system means it stays closed
  • peace of mind: custom Murphy beds installed by Organized Interiors’ trained installation team mean a high quality, long-lasting custom bed that you or your guests can confidently use every day

When Organized Interiors talks about Murphy beds, we are describing the genuine article, as we use hardware by Murphy Wall Beds of Canada for every wall bed we make.

2. Murphy beds are ideal for small living spaces

Between consumers being more mindful of reducing their carbon footprint, embracing a more minimalist lifestyle, and responding to high real estate prices, small space living is more popular than ever.

Whether you’re a middle-aged professional who’s downsized to a smaller home, a millennial living in a studio apartment, or a family who hosts guests, a Murphy bed was made just for you.

Their pulldown design means Murphy beds take up very little room and can be put away during the day when not in use.  When space is really at a premium in a small home, a wall bed is virtually a must-have piece of furniture to own.

Small bedroom with Murphy bed in down position, computer, desk, and chair, custom built-ins.

Double side tilt Murphy bed in Sand Beige and Sunset Cruise with ample overhead storage.

Small bedroom with Murphy bed hidden away in the built-in cabinetry. Computer, desk, and chair, custom built-ins.

Double side tilt Murphy bed in Sand Beige and Sunset Cruise with stained wood desktop.

3. Murphy beds are big space savers

Even if your living space isn’t small, Murphy beds are great at saving space in a room.

Freeing up floor space allows for more space to move within the room and even makes vacuuming the room easier. Any other use for a room, such as a craft room, fitness area, kids playroom or home office, can incorporate a Murphy bed design that lets you also use it as a guest room. It’s all about maximizing the functionality of your home!

Murphy beds are ideal when you only need to periodically host guests, but wish to have a room available for more common uses. When it’s needed, simply pull the bed down and you and your guests are ready for a good night’s sleep.

4. Murphy beds are more than just a pulldown bed

Organized Interiors’ customized wall beds are functional, but also stylish and visually appealing. In fact, we’re confident you’ll find that they nicely enhance any room’s appearance with custom finishes and design features that beautifully complement your décor.

Even though a Murphy bed takes up less floor space, it can actually add useful storage space to a room. This integrated piece of furniture can have storage above, behind, and to the sides of the bed unit. Turn a home library into a book lover’s oasis.

Choosing a Murphy bed that you can have customized gives you many more options for sizes, finishes, decorative hardware, and other features.

5. A Murphy bed is the easiest-to-open wall bed

The ease of use with a Murphy bed can depend on what type of wall bed you buy.

Murphy beds are hands-down the easiest wall bed to open and close. From the lightweight steel frame to the spring-balanced mechanism, the high-quality hardware used on proper Murphy beds makes opening and closing them simple and quick.

Interior designer Jane Lockhart demonstrates in the video below how easy-peasy it is to open and close an Organized Interiors Murphy bed:

6. Murphy beds can be your everyday bed

In small spaces such as open-concept condos, the ability to put your bed away every morning is essential. Murphy’s hardware and Organized Interiors’ cabinet construction can withstand everyday use, so you can get the most out of a small space.

Effective design allows you to create a furniture piece that means when your bed is closed, it doesn’t have to feel like you’re in your bedroom. And when the bed is lowered, it doesn’t have to feel like you’re sleeping in your living room or office.

A Murphy bed doesn’t require a boxspring, but the bed door comfortably supports a proper mattress for everyday comfort.

Which brings us to…

7. Murphy beds are super comfortable to sleep on

Murphy beds use real, high-quality coil mattresses that are every bit as comfortable to sleep on as a conventional bed. You may have your own mattress you would like to use already, or Organized Interiors can supply one with your custom Murphy bed purchase.

Foam mattresses are not recommended, including some of the trendy bargain mattresses that are all the rage online. Their construction is not suited to a wall bed application, as they often don’t have the structural integrity for being stored on their sides when the bed is closed.

We use mattresses that are approved for use in a Murphy bed, providing years of comfort for you and your guests. The only drawback is maybe your guests won’t want to leave!

Visit our showroom for inspirational wall bed ideas

If you’re intrigued by the Murphy wall bed attributes listed here, visit our showroom to experience the stylish looks and practicality of our custom wall beds for yourself.

Organized Interiors’ Murphy beds are built to last and come with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty on the bed’s hardware.

You can also schedule a complimentary in-home design consultation with us to plan your Murphy bed project or guest room makeover.

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