25th Hour Organizing

"Because 24 Just Isn't Enough"

The Organized Home – Protect Yourself from Fire by Maintaining Your Dryer December 26, 2010

Filed under: General Organizing — Christine @ 6:47 pm

I’ve been a bit lax in recent years – but after a recent house fire, just a few doors down from my house, my three-year neglected annual dryer maintenance suddenly took high priority.

It was a quiet Friday evening, the day after Thanksgiving at about 7pm when I heard the sirens. Our street is peaceable, not much happens on it, so when I peeked out of the window and saw the red and blue emergency lights I pulled on a coat and shoes and went to investigate. Across the street and down at the corner, the firefighters were hard at work. Pretty soon they had the culprit out on the front lawn. It was a dryer, blackened with soot, still slightly smoking.

A month later, my neighbors still haven’t been able to return to their home. The smoke, fire and water damage from the hoses was extensive and their front door remains boarded up while professionals clean and restore the guts of the house to make it livable again.

According to the National Fire Protection Association…

In 2006, an estimated 17,700 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home*
structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines (including
combination washer/dryers) resulted in an estimated:
• 15 civilian deaths
• 360 civilian injuries
• $194 million in direct property damage

That’s some serious statistics folks!

So I took a good hard look at my own dryer. We bought the front-loading washer and dryer set when my daughter Emily was a baby. She’s four now, and I realized we had never done an annual check on the dryer. I put it at the top of my “Honey Do” list and this is what we found…

Pile of lint from the back of the dryer and the flexible dryer hose

I’d say we managed to haul out a good pound of lint. As you can see, I placed a paintbrush by it so that you could get a good idea of how much lint there was.

It’s easy to be fooled…you might think, “I clean out my lint trap with every load!” And well you should, but it still manages to get down into the machine, and catch on the flexible hosing that vents from your house. Dryers are hot, they have to be to dry our clothes quickly. So imagine what could happen with all of that heat and something as flammable as lint. And yes, lint is flammable. Keep in mind that survivalists often carry it as a handy, lightweight firestarter!

No dryer is assembled the same, so when you perform your annual maintenance remember to…

#1 – UNPLUG your dryer and pull it away from the wall so you can access the back of it.

#2 – Take a photograph of the back ( you may have to remove screws and plates, so keep track of where everything goes) or make a sketch.

#3 – Remove lint and wipe down with a dry, clean cloth

#4 – Make a note in Outlook or your Google calendar to do this again next year!

Regular dryer maintenance will not only protect/prevent a dryer fire that could destroy your home and endanger your life, but it will also ensure that your dryer is performing at the most optimum level. Which means less drying time and less energy costs!

Get to that dryer maintenance today!


Make Every Step Count January 29, 2010

Filed under: General Organizing — Christine @ 7:09 am

I talk about Economy of Movement in my organizing classes. In a nutshell, EoM is about making every step count.

I was reminded of this over the past two days. I have owned a housecleaning business for the past five years. My next-door neighbor just started her own housecleaning business with her sister-in-law and she’s been calling for advice. “How long should a cleaning take? What should I charge? Should I bill it out by the hour or as a set fee? How can we be more efficient?”

Cleaning a house, especially if you are doing it for a living, is a fine example of wanting to make every step count.

But honestly, if you could add an extra hour to your day by employing the use of EoM, what more could you get done or accomplish in your day? Imagine what you could do with an extra hour or two!

Economy of Movement is simple and complicated at the same time. To be successful at it, you simply need to be more aware as you move through your day. Let me give you an example:

Example: As you drive in your car, you look over and see a fast food bag on the floor, some dirty napkins strewn around, and other items that need to be thrown away along with some little figurines that belong in your daughter’s room. At the next red light, lean over and grab the bag and fill it full of trash. Pick up the little figurines and place them in your purse. (obviously, keep an eye on the light so that it doesn’t change while you are oblivious to it!) When you arrive home, grab the bag full of trash, your purse, and run past the mailbox. When you enter your house, drop the mail and any receipts from your purse (maybe the fast food receipt) into the Mail/Receipts bucket, hang up your coat, put away your purse after handing the figurines to your child, and toss the trash into the kitchen wastebasket.

Results: You have managed to keep all of your mail and financial records in one place (the Mail/Receipts bucket). Your coat and purse are put away. Your car is tidy and well-organized and it no longer has little figurines rolling around in it. Tomorrow, when you get back into it and are rushing to drop your child off at daycare/school, she’ll have a place to put her feet and you will feel less stressed without the clutter and garbage.

Economy of Movement can be as simple as taking that used or dirty dish from a snack in bed the night before with you as you walk towards the kitchen to make yourself coffee. Coffee takes a moment to brew and since you are right there, why not tidy the kitchen up? Load or unload the dishwasher. As you run the water it heats and you can use it to wet a dishrag and wipe down the counters or one of the shelves in the refrigerator. Just as the coffee finish burbling into the carafe you have a reasonably clean kitchen. It isn’t perfect, but then, not many kitchens are.

These are just a few examples of making every step count. Think about your life, become aware of your patterns, and come up with ways in which you can reduce your clutter in a few less steps. Make every step count!!!!