Sunday, August 14, 2011

Garage Saling, or How To Clean Legos

One of my favorite hobbies is garage saling (Google said to spell it that way), because I am able to find so many goodies for my family at a fraction of the price that I could buy them -if I could buy them at all. We live in a military area that happens to be wonderful for garage saling, so I am lucky for that. I estimate that it saves us close to $2000 a year on clothes, toys, and household goods.
Every other Saturday at 6am I drag my poor friend out of bed (she really does have a good time after I feed her a little coffee.), and we head out on our treasure/scavenger hunt. I even have a "shopping" list of things to look for, and we usually find them. The only catch is that most of the time I get the goodies home and they need a thorough cleaning before I will let my little ones touch them. With clothes it's pretty easy, and Clorox wipes are awesome for the big stuff and books, but sometimes I have to get creative to clean things like, say, Legos.
 So here is my solution for cleaning a big box full of ridiculously-little plastic toys: 
  • First, get a laundry bag like the one pictured below, that has a very small netting, no holes, and a tight closure at the top. 
  • Next pour all the little pieces in the bag, close it tight, and put it in the washing machine. 
  • Set the washer to the quick-wash with hot water, detergent, and bleach; and let the Legos wash as if they were an old towel. Speaking of, if you want to cut back some of the noise you can add a few towels to the wash -it is very loud and you would probably not want to do this while the baby is sleeping, husband is home, pope is visiting, etc. 
  • When the wash is finished put the bag of Legos in the dryer and set it to a quick-dry on medium heat. Let it run for as long as you can stand it -it is very noisy, see above for tips on that. 
  • When the dryer is done the Legos can be poured out onto a towel to dry further; and if you got these from a garage sale, this is also a good time to pick out all the non-Lego pieces that you really didn't want to pick out before they were cleaned.
  • Done! Now you can give them to your kids and not be completely grossed out later when you find them in your baby's mouth.
Laundry bag with draw-string closure; zipper would be even better.

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