Preparing for Winter

Preparing for WinterIt feels a bit like “Little House on the Prairie” at our house right now.  We seem to do lots of scurrying around this time of year preparing for the winter (not that the winters here in Portland, Oregon are that harsh).  Chopping wood, harvesting vegetables, freezing sauces, putting away summer furniture, fixing gutters, and cleaning the fireplace.

This year, I wanted to wash all of our down comforters.  Usually, in the spring, I just hang the comforters in the sunshine for the day and then store them.  According to my dry cleaner, they don’t really need laundering often but he’ll do it for $35/each.  Over $100 for cleaning comforters?  No thank you.  Free sunshine sounds like a bargain!

Then, our neighborhood laundromat was sold and renovated.  It re-opened up as Belmont Eco Laundry and boasts earth friendly laundry services.  The washers and driers are all high-efficiency and it is the cleanest laundromat I’ve ever been to. 

To the Eco Laundromat I took:

  • 3 down comforters
  • 2 quilts
  • 5 cotton blankets
  • 1 duvet cover

Total cost?  $16 (in quarters, of course) for all of it.  Total time?  Less than 2 hours.  Here’s the added bonus:  I went for a run while the items were in the washer and went to the grocery store, once I put things in the dryer.  Talk about time management – I love efficiency.  Try and go early in the morning during the week.

During the summer, I had cleaned 6 wool blankets and 4 sleeping bags at the laundromat.  Our sleeping bags had never been washed (gasp!) and over the last 14+ years that we’ve owned them, have been used a lot.  Guess what?  I put them all inside 1 washing machine.  The capacity for the machine was 75lbs and then they went into the 75lbs dryer.

Preparing for Winter

Tips about washing and drying:

  • All of my wool blankets were washed in cold water and dried on a low temperature in the dryer.  I’ve always washed my wool blankets and never dry clean them.
  • I purposely don’t let items get completely dry in the dryer.  I hang blankets over dining room chairs to finish the drying process.
  • The down comforters were dried on the lowest temperature setting for about 20 minutes.  Still damp, they went back to hanging on the line outside in the sunshine.
  • Wet wool and wet down comforters don’t smell good at all.  Once completely dried, they’ll be smelling fresh again.
  • Don’t fold and store any items until they are completely dry.
  • To keep moths away from your woolens, always clean before storing.  Add a little cloth bag filled with lavender to your wool blanket stash, too.  Keep your wool smelling fresh and skip the nasty moth-balls.

And now, we’re ready for winter.  Well, not quite.  We’re still enjoying this early fall weather.

What are you doing to prepare for the winter?  Do you ever wash your sleeping bags?

Go Gingham related links:

Using nature to decorate your home – frugal and fancy decorating
Dumpster diving woes: please don’t put a cover on dumpsters!
Green living: once a month garbage collection
Found treasures for decorating your home
A free chair – that was rejected!
Wrapping presents with free maps makes for pretty gifts
Green and frugal living – the sweet spot where green and frugal meet