How to do Laundry Without Hookups Using a Portable Washing Machine

how to do laundry in an apartment without hookups, laundry no hookups, apartment laundry

This is the blog post I was hoping to find four years ago. This is the blog post where I share with you how to do your laundry in an apartment when you don’t have hookups.

Once upon a time, we lived in an apartment without laundry hookups and were determined to use cloth diapers. Since we didn’t want to lug around a basket of stinky diapers around to the laundromat, or sit there with an infant for hours on end, we got creative.

First, we got a laundry pod. This thing looks like a giant salad spinner, fits about 3 diapers at a time, but it does work pretty well. Of course, this process takes pretty much all day if you have more than 3 things to wash. We hung them to dry on folding dryer racks. I usually did laundry every night to keep up with the cloth diaper demand. I did get a pretty good arm workout in, though.

After a few months of hand cranking my child’s cloth diapers, I decided we needed a different option. I did hours of research. Surely, someone had to have come up with a solution, right?

YES!

Portable Washing Machine

This portable washing machine became my new favorite appliance. At 2.5 cubit feet of space, it was big enough to fit our queen comforter, but small enough that I was able to maneuver it around with ease. It also had standard hookup capability, so we were able to use the same machine when we moved to a place with actual washer hookups. We did diapers in what felt like a flash, and hung them to dry. We bought more dryer racks because we could now do all our own laundry in our home. It was so exciting!

Most dryers require a special plug to run, requiring specific wiring (aka, “dryer hookups”). When we arrived in Iowa, our house had washer hookups and a dryer hose vent, but only the standard 110/120V plugs. It was then I found this dryer that can plug in to any standard 3-prong outlet. We were able to donate the drying racks and do all our laundry on our own, in only a matter of hours! We had a vent hookup in the Iowa house, but if you don’t, you can purchase this nifty little lint trap and keep it vented inside.

The biggest difference with apartment-capable washers and dryers is obviously the capacity. The washer we had did not have an agitator in the center, which meant that we were able to fit more in. Everything we washed came out clean, so we didn’t even miss the agitator. The dryer took a little longer than your standard 220V dryer did to dry a load, but that was fine with us since we were finally able to do laundry on our own terms, and multiple loads in the same day.

When we moved into the RV, we sold our washer and dryer, since the RV came with a combo unit. We now live in a townhouse with our own laundry room, and we purchased a standard washer and dryer set. Aside from the size difference in capacity, I haven’t really noticed any difference between clothes cleaned in our apartment washer vs. our new traditional one.

As you might imagine, it is less expensive to purchase a portable washing machine and portable dryer than a standard set. The savings are especially high when you consider the time, effort, and money spent per load doing laundry at a laundromat. I love that our portable washing machine and dryer allowed us to do laundry and continue on with our lives, without the need to go back and forth to a laundromat/apartment laundry center or try to entertain little people for hours on end while doing laundry.

If money is tight, check out my list of 25 ways to save money in 2018. This isn’t your standard “use coupons at the grocery store” list. These are tough love, actionable ways you can save big money this year. Implement an idea or two and put those savings towards your new system. It will pay for itself very quickly.

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The Basics of Cloth Diapers

cloth diaper basics, how to use cloth diapers, cloth diapering tips, cloth diaper pros and cons

We were graciously given a two-week supply of disposable diapers from some very generous friends, and so for the past week we have been using them. After months and months of cloth diaper laundry, it’s been very eye-opening for us to take a break and use disposables!

As a self-proclaimed hippie, it is to be expected that I am all about cloth diapering. As a new mom who is still sometimes having difficulty believing that this little person is truly mine and I’m not just babysitting for a really long time, I wanted to talk some brutal honesty about the differences in diapers.

First, the pros:

  1. The cost. I LOVE that I can use these diapers for any future children we might have. You definitely can’t say that about a disposable!
  2. The cute. Guys, cloth diapers are absolutely adorable. And on Etsy, they are even cuter. Like all the Harry Potter ones. I can’t help myself. I need them all.
  3. You always have them. You don’t have to run out in the middle of the night after realizing that you just used the last diaper.

Now the cons:

  1. It’s a lot of laundry. We do laundry 2-3 times a week, and you have to do a short cycle  first to clean off all the gross before adding in the other clothes (unless you have enough cloth diapers to fill an entire full load, we have about a half load’s worth).
  2. Sometimes it takes awhile to find a brand that fits your child’s specific build properly, and the process can be frustrating. When we first started cloth diapering, we were lent a bunch of cloth diapers by some friends, but they didn’t fit Tristan’s long skinny  legs very well. He was always leaking and we almost gave up on cloth diapering altogether until we tried a different style that was more customizable to thinner babies.
  3. If you’re easily grossed out, cloth diapers probably aren’t for you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to scoop mess out of diapers before I could put them in the wash. The pro for the disposable diapers is definitely that you only see that once.

Every once in awhile, it is very nice to have a break from tons of laundry. In general for our family, the pros of cloth diapering outweigh the cons. Though the investment seems like a lot, once you do the math and realize how much money you save by not having to purchase diapers regularly (especially if you have more than one in diapers at once!), the cost per diaper goes down drastically. Even for the Harry Potter diapers.

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How we are Saving $312 a Year on Laundry

How to save $312 a year on laundry

Laundry. An unfortunate reality of apartment-dwellers, “laundry day” often means walking around outside with a basket full of your delicates, no matter what the weather. It also means a never-ending search for quarters. Every time you need quarters, you have to go to an ATM or write a check to have something to trade at customer service at the grocery store  for a roll of quarters.

Peter and I recently  started doing laundry at our apartment complex.  After a few all-day laundry affairs where we felt tied to the apartment and scouring the car for extra quarters because the jeans didn’t finish drying in one round, we started hanging our laundry to dry over the shower.

This idea may seem really simple to you, and perhaps a little inconvenient, but Peter calculated that it costs about $1.50-2 to dry each load.  We typically do a few loads twice a week, so now we only dry one load with the smaller items. We also bought a few drying racks for the laundry that needs to lat flat (like sweaters). We are also looking into possibly installing a couple retractable clothes lines.

Peter estimates that this one small adjustment saves us around $6 a week, which adds up to $312 a year!  With all of our other budget cuts, this helps that much more. It’s exciting to be able to see so much difference with our budget!

For more money-saving tips, download a free copy of my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition!

4/2016 UPDATE: We are now able to do laundry completely at home, without hookups! We bought a portable washing machine that hooks up to the kitchen sink, and a dryer with a 120V plug, so it hooks into any outlet! Vent it inside using this nifty lint trap.

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