Loathing Laundry… 5 Tips For Shared Laundry Users.

I often see gorgeous, organized and spacious laundry rooms popping up on Pinterest. Pretty to look at, but clearly not practical for a girl without in suite laundry. Laundry is a dreaded a chore, and is that much worse when you don’t have your own facilities.

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Having used shared laundry for the majority of the past seven years, I’ve developed a system or two.

5 Tips for Shared Laundry

1. Keep laundry supplies together by the front door.

A little while ago, I wrote about my landing strip. Here I have a spot for my keys, purses, jackets, mail etc.

Inside my dresser and closet, I also keep everything I need together to do a quick load of laundry.

Keep Laundry supplies together

Keeping it all in a bin saves me from rummaging around in our closet trying to find the right product. The bottle I need is easily tossed into the laundry basket on the way out, and it reminds me to take extras like oxiclean or fabric softener.

Laundry bin contents:

Laundry Supplies

2. Get a supply of laundry money ahead of time.

I can’t believe I only thought of this a few months ago! Go to the bank, and get a roll full of the coins you need for your building or laundromat machine. In our case, it’s 2 dollars a load:

Laundry coins

(I keep ours in the top drawer of my landing strip dresser.)

How did it take me so long to think of this?? No more rummaging around the house looking for loose change, last minute trips to the grocery store to break a ten… It’s a no-brainer.

3. Do laundry during “off-peak” laundry hours.

You’ve finally decided to conquer your pile of laundry. You’ve sorted it all, found some spare change, hauled it to the basement, only to find out your neighbours had the same idea. Sound familiar?

I think this is my biggest pet peeve about sharing laundry. To skirt the problem, get to know your own building’s peak laundry times, and avoid them at all costs.

For example, early Sunday morning used to be a great time for me to do laundry in my last apartment. It was full of young couples, and it seemed they were more likely to sleep in on a Sunday morning. This building, being home to couples, families and singles, is different. Someone is always downstairs washing their clothes on a weekend at 9am. I’ve realized I have much better luck when I come home from teaching on a weekday at 3 in the afternoon.

4. Presort your loads.

Sort laundry I used to have a huge heap of laundry to sort through, but have since learned it’s impractical. Instead, use different hampers and sort laundry as you go. It may be a bit of an investment, but it’s worth it. Sorting daily leaves less work on laundry day, less to haul to the laundry room, and hampers like these make use of precious vertical space!

5. Go on wheels.

Laundry wheels

I’m all about making my chores as painless as possible. I have lugged carts full of laundry up and down stairs, through the halls, across streets… If you have in building laundry, especially if you have an elevator, use castors on your hamper.

So. much. easier.

These hampers are from Ikea for about 25 Canadian dollars.

Hope that helps you fellow renters out there feel just as organized as those with a lovely laundry room! What drives you crazy about shared laundry? Have any systems that work well for you?

A Couple New Blog Pages

Quick little post tonight to introduce a new feature! I’ve been working “behind the scenes” on L’amour chez nous to make it simpler to find previous posts.

In addition to the About Me section above, you’ll also find a Projects and Organize page. There you’ll find a gallery of links related to each topic. As my blog grows, I’ll make sure to update them! In the next couple weeks I’ll also be adding another page to feature our home tour (eek… very much in progress!) as well as a layout to give you a better feel for our place.

Feel free to come by tomorrow to read about what to expect from a landlord “type”! Ahh the life of a renter…

Organize Your Baking Cupboard… For Less Than Five Bucks!

First post at our new place! The move went surprisingly smoothly (other than the considerable goose egg I managed to give myself while cleaning) and our lovely friends got us moved in in half a day! We’re still unpacking the last few things, but it’s coming together.

One of the most common challenges renters face in an apartment is storage space, especially in the kitchen. We have a mini kitchen (6 by 7 feet), with a mini fridge, a mini stove, and happily, a mini dishwasher. Like many rental buildings, our unit also has the cheapest building options, like basic cabinets instead of functional drawers, which makes storing my ever increasing pile of stuff even trickier.

I needed to make the most of the cupboards I have, but I wanted it to be transportable, quick to set up, and budget-friendly, so fancy installed organizers and attractive uniform jars were out. I’ll be honest and say that my solution for my baking supplies may not be all that pretty, but is hardly dents my (much more important) decorating budget!

I started out with a small, basic, one shelf cupboard.

Baking Cupboard

I can just see chocolate chips and baking powder getting stale in the black hole that is this cupboard, not to mention piles of sugar piled into heaps, ready to spill at any moment…

To make it more functional, I used two basic containers from Walmart (they came in a pack of five for five dollars, so super cheap!) as well as a few extra ziplock containers I had lying around. (Literally. I was unpacking and stuff was surrounding me on the floor…)

baking cupboard

Other than my measuring cups, everything is corralled on either a lid or in a container. I have a tray for baking chocolate (I realized I have quite the collection once it was all organized!), a tray for my bulk food, a tray for my oats, bran and cake mix as well as two large containers with sugars and frequently used ingredients. Instead of digging around trying to reach for something specific, I can simply pull out a tray or container like a drawer.

baking cupboard

baking cupboard

Not only is it temporary, I can also move trays around like a rubik’s cube to easily reach the food in the back.

baking cupboard

Baking cupboard

I put all my bulk ingredients in clear ziplock containers so I could easily see how much I have left of each. Now they’re also sealed, (as opposed to loosely held in plastic bags like they were before) and make much better use of the vertical space.

baking cupboard

I know it would be nicer to have my oatmeal and bran in Tupperware too… which I may someday do. But this is all about keeping things as cheap as possible! Since they’re on a tray, (ie lid) hey’re still easily accessible, so the Tupperware wasn’t really all that necessary.

As for the large containers, extra white sugar (you can see my pretty jars of flour and sugar on display here), powdered sugar and so on is at the bottom. The top one holds all my most used baking supplies: vanilla, brown sugar, baking powder and so on.

Baking tray

I just pull out the box, bake, and quickly put it all back! Having a quick clean up and easy to find ingredients makes baking a lot less daunting and much more enjoyable. I’ve been using this system for a while now and I’m still happy with it.

This whole cupboard suits me because it was easily customizable to my needs, I can reuse the Tupperware somewhere else (transportable and sustainable) and cheap! What little systems have created that work well for you? How do you make the best of small space storage?

Pin Baking

I’m linking up with:


Weekend Bloggy Reading

Glass Decal Labels

Hours spent reading I Heart Organizing has made me (embarrassingly) obsessed over pretty labels. I just don’t want to buy, or have to store, any of the fancy equipment to make them. When I saw this pin on from the Painted Hive a while ago (nothing special needed!), I was inspired!

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As geeky as it might be, I love the look of uniform jars on display, especially with personalized labels. I’ve been thinking about trying it for a while, but it was my new shelves that motivated me to actually do it!

This project would be perfect for a few storage items in my kitchen. First off, I wanted to create storage for my sugar and flour. Currently, my enormous bad of flour from Costco is sitting in our corner cabinet behind some small appliances and is impossibly heavy to lift. So instead of taking it out, I reach in with a measuring cup, grab as much as I can, and spill some on the way out. Not ideal.

I plan on using a couple Ikea Burken jars I own that currently house our puppy treats:

Before 3

Ok, but I think they have more potential.

I also wanted to update our spice rack. At the moment I have them labelled with a dry erase marker. I used this just in case I ever decide to switch out the spice, but the writing just ends up rubbing off whenever I pick one up.

Before 1

Before 2

I’ve been slowly building up my spice stash. After using them for the last year, I have a much better idea of what spices need to be within easy reach, and so I feel more confident creating more permanent labels.

Instructions:

Note: Unlike the Painted Hive, I only used the decals, not the magic paper, to make it permanent. I would certainly advise using magic paper as well if you plan on doing this to any often-washed dish. Since I’ll always have the same spice/sugar in the jar, I don’t foresee having to wash them all that frequently. Plus, if ever I do feel the need to switch it up, by using decals without the magic paper, I still have the freedom to do so.

1. I bought Avery Clear Decals, made specifically for glass or other smooth surfaces, from Staples for around $12.

2. Because it requires an ink jet printer, finding a printer was the most difficult part of this project! After a lot of hassle, I gave up and used my laser printer. It was ok for now, but I can foresee the decal rubbing off fairly quickly. For a more permanent finish, I would certainly advise using the correct printer. I chose the image I wanted, and printed it out. You’re welcome to contact me in the comment section if you’d like a copy!

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3. I thoroughly cleaned and dried each jar.

3. Then, I cut them up and pasted them on! That easy. It was a little tricky peeling the paper, but that was it honestly.

Although I was annoyed trying to find a printer, the end result was worth it.

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I often read that your space should be unique and truly reflect you. French has always been such a love of mine (my grandmother was French Canadian, I’ve spoken it my whole life, I did my degree in it, and now I teach it!) so I thought it would be fun to incorporate it into my baking containers:

Farine 5

(I didn’t do this for my spices just in case, on the off chance, Shaun decides he’d like to cook with them. This is a very rare occurrence, but you never know! I know he’ll never bake though, and flour versus sugar is pretty self-explanatory.)

Farine 2Farine 1

As a side note, for this project I tried different props, lighting, angles… I’m pretty sure Shaun thinks I’m completely crazy for spending so much time taking pictures of flour.

I can’t wait to see our updated Ikea baking jars on our new shelves. What about you? Any projects you’ve been dying to try? Anything you’ve found especially helpful or inspiring? I’m always happy to hear from you!

Pinterest decals

I’m linking up with:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Clean Out the Paper Clutter: Receipts

I can’t stand paper clutter. It’s the one mess that always seems to get the best of me. Dishes, clothes, food… All these things have an obvious home, but for me, paper does not. A few years ago, it was school clutter. Old assignments, essays, drafts, extra notes… I always seemed to have piles to go through. Now, it’s mail. Bills to pay, opened envelopes, flyers, pay stubs.. Ugh. All on my coffee table. It’s a constant irritation.

I need to do something about it. This is the first post of a series that I’ll focus on organizing the random bits of paper that pile up around my house. There, I’ve said it, online for all to see! Now I have no choice but to keep up with it.

Eventually, I would love something like Jen has from I Heart Organizing:

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Somewhere to put our keys, sort our mail, keep temporary notes etc. I’d love it, but I don’t want to invest in anything like that right now, and don’t have any available wall space for it, since our front entrance comes right into our kitchen.

Instead, I’ve decided to make use of the vertical space in our cupboards, and tackle an easy one first: receipts. These seem to end up at the bottom of my purse, in my wallet, stuffed up in a heap. I used to try to keep the important ones in a small underneath my jewelry (which you’ll see in my before shot of my plastic “jewelry box“) but I was never able to keep on top of it, and receipts ended up bursting out of place.

I took one of my leftover squares from a memo board I made recently, and came up with this:

Receipts 2

It’s a simple cork board, and I’ve designated sides for myself and for Shaun.Receipts 1

Why it works for us:

1. I keep it in the cupboard beside the front door, and right beside my purse. That way, I can easily take out the receipts I need to keep from my outing, and put them up immediately when I get home.

2. Also, because it’s beside my purse, I can quickly pick out the receipt I need to return something before heading out.

3. Since there isn’t a lot of space and the pins can only hold so many receipts at a time without falling off, I’m forced to go through my receipts periodically (instead of having them hidden away and pilling up in a drawer).

4. I attached it using these 3M refill strips:

I ADORE their products. Super easy hanging and I can easily take it down when we move (soon, fingers crossed…).

5. If ever this system doesn’t work for us in the new place, I can easily reuse the board for something different. Win-win!