Thursday, April 25, 2013

Front Loaders

The last time I talked about our tiny laundry room, we added some wicker baskets from the thrift store for organization and it looked a little something like this:

About a month ago, our dryer went on the fritz. You might remember this Instagram picture of us drying our clothes in the master bathroom…

Well, that was only the beginning. Let me begin by saying that our dryer is OLD. The only good part about it? It was free - a wedding gift from my uncle - so we can’t really complain. But, after using it for over a year, it was starting to fall apart. It was getting louder and louder. I’d try scooting it on the floor thinking it was unlevel. Sometimes that would work, but most often it didn't.

Then, one night, the noise was so loud I swear all of our neighbors could hear it. It was this weird grinding noise, eerily similar to nails on a chalkboard. Well, at least the noise made me cringe like nails on a chalkboard do. I’m cringing now, just thinking about it… So, we stopped using the dryer. Instead, we’d wash our clothes in our apartment, then lug the wet clothes downstairs and to the complex clubhouse and use their dryers. Only their dryers were expensive! $1.50 for one load! And that one cycle didn't even dry our clothes out all the way. Luckily our roommate found a Laundromat in town that was much, much cheaper.

We really struggled with how we wanted to fix the situation. Try to fix it? Hire someone to come out and fix it? Buy another second-hand dryer on Craigslist? Or bite the bullet, upgrade, and buy new?
Being that our dryer was old and was second-hand, we didn't have the manual to it. Dan tried googling for the manual – and all he could come up with was a similar model. The prognosis? It was either one of two things. It could be the drum pads (I forget the technical term for these now…) were worn down and the drum was rubbing against metal as it rotated. Or it could be the ball bearing. We assumed it was the drum pads. So, Dan googled around some more to figure out how to get to the drum pads. After dinner one night, I walked over and saw this:

I don’t know why I was surprised that there was so little going on underneath, but it seemed pretty simple. Dan found the drum pads, discovered they were worn, then realized that the underside wasn't all that bad. So, all he did was flip them over. Ta da! He put everything back together and loaded up the dryer for a test spin. No noise! For about 10 minutes anyways….
So fixing it was out. We didn't feel like hiring someone to fix it – too much hassle. Next up: Craigslist. We searched all over Central Florida. Maybe we’re too picky, but we didn't see anything that we liked. And most people were asking $300+ for the set. All we wanted was the dryer. And paying even $100 for a used, beat up looking dryer just didn't sit right with us. Seemed like Craigslist wasn't going to be the right route for us either.
That weekend, we decided to shop around and price new washers and dryers. We figured if we were going to upgrade our dryer, we might as well upgrade the washer too so that they were the same models. Besides, we've been talking about upgrading them anyways once we move out of the apartment, so why not just go ahead and do it a few months early?

To say we experienced some sticker shock is an understatement. Who knew washers and dryers were so darn expensive?? It didn't help that we were drawn to the front loaders. And we preferred grey over white, red, or blue. I still can’t figure out why grey (not stainless steel, like in the picture above) cost so much more than any other color.
After having our bubbles burst, we revisited the idea of buying used. We stopped in the middle of our shopping trip to have some lunch and made a pros/cons list of buying new versus buying used. In the end we decided that buying new was the right route for us. There was only one more problem lying ahead of us: money.

Since going through Financial Peace University, Dan and I have always maintained a minimum $1,000 emergency fund in our savings. But we realized that a thousand dollars wasn't going to cover this appliance purchase. We didn't feel comfortable completely depleting it either. So that meant we needed to save up for them. That meant more nights spent at the Laundromat. No more eating out. No snowball payment on Dan’s car. Every penny we could pinch from our budget went towards our washer and dryer.
It took a month, but we did it! Two weekends ago we went out and bought our new washer and dryer. We bought white, LG front loaders (you can see them here and here - funny thing is, they're now priced $75 lower per model than they were when we purchased them!) from HHGregg. Why HHGregg? Well, they came recommended from some friends of ours. Plus, they shopped around online, found the cheapest price, and matched that price for us. We thought they had free haul away and delivery, but later found out that you had to pay for it up front and got a gift card later in the mail once you filled out the rebate paperwork. We hadn't budgeted for delivery…. which put us $50 over our max budget. We told the sales guy that it just wasn't going to work and that we’d be back in 2 weeks when we had more money in our account. He asked us to wait and talked to his manager. Not only did they chop off the $50 for us, but they took it down another $40 beyond that – and we still got the delivery rebates. Plus, when they were delivered, there was a scratch on the washer door, so we're suppose to get a $75 refund. At the end of it all, our final cost will be $1,610.21.
We had to wait a week for delivery, but they are here!

It’s honestly sad how excited we are about two large chunks of metal. I think what feels the best though was being able to save up for them and tell the sales guy he could keep his store credit card.

They both stick out past the door frame slightly, but it doesn't really bother us. The curtain that is normally hanging up in that doorway covers it all up. Unfortunately, the washer door opens in the wrong direction. But we're hoping that when we get our own place, it won't be a big deal. The only other change we had to make to the laundry room was to move the cats' litter box to another room. 

Oh, and I bought a yard of fabric from JoAnn's to cover the washer. Why? Well, we wanted to set all of our stuff on top of it (dryer sheets, loose change jar, etc.), but didn't want to risk scratching it up. My mom gave us a scrap piece of shelving liner to place underneath the fabric to keep it from sliding around. We talked about doing the same thing to the dryer, but we decided that we liked the dryer bare so that we can use it as a place to fold all of our clothes.

I went for something that had blues and greens in it. The fact that there was a brown stripe to match the curtain was pure coincidence! And for around $5, it's the perfect way to add a little bit of color and pattern to such a tiny room.

So there you have it, our new washer and dryer. We seriously couldn't be happier with the pair. It makes doing laundry seem less like a chore.

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