There are a few things that can truly upset the working order of our house and bring things to a standstill – when the water has to be shut off (no showers! no flushing!), when the laundry isn’t working and when we are out of milk. It’s this middle dilemma that I was recently faced with – a 10+ year old washing machine that went from being semi-effective albeit noisily to quiet and smoking. Yes, literally smoking.

Once we discovered it was no easy fix our washer needed, I did what everyone does these days when they need information – I went online. The searching was endless, the option mind-boggling – what did I really need in a washer? What did I really want? Did I have time to worry about features when my laundry pile was starting to look like Mt Everest?!? And then I ended up in an unlikely place (for me anyways) – the Lowe’s website. I’m familiar with Lowe’s – we have one less than a mile away from us and I know that my husband frequents there often. But me? Not so much.

Lowe’s however had something called an Appliance Selector Tool which drew me in. You select your appliance (washer) and it asks you a handful of questions about your specifications, needs and desires (in my case, load size, energy efficiency, features like steam, pretreating, allergy cycles, etc.) Then, as you answer, it narrows down the appliance options to only show those that meet your criteria. When I was done answering all of the questions, the Appliance Selector Tool narrowed down Lowe’s 140 washing machines to just one – this Whirpool front-loader. It really did have everything I needed – a large capacity (4.3 cu. ft. for my family of 5), quiet (the washer is practically in our kitchen) and energy efficient, both Energy Star certified and CEE Tier III (the most efficient at saving water and energy). I was so impressed I got a bit ahead of myself and even used the Appliance Selector Tool to pick out a new refrigerator (for my dreams).

But the more I spent time on the Lowe’s website, the more I realized that Lowe’s can indeed be a place for the the whole family. From outdoor fall projects like fire pits, winter garden and homemade backyard games to kid-sized garden tools and kid’s Build And Grow building sets, Lowe’s offers much more than lumber and tools.

I even ventured down to our local Lowe’s on my own one afternoon to check out the Whirpool washing machine in person and was inspired to start pondering half a dozen different redecorating/DIY/organizing projects from the things I saw there. Plus I learned that Lowe’s offers Saturday morning Build and Grow clinics where I can take my three boys and help them construct all sorts of cool wood crafts like monster trucks, airplanes and pirate ships. Yep, put a tally mark in the cool mom category.

The next time the hubs needs to run down to Lowe’s for “just a few things” I think I might just tag along. And get my own cart.

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Mommies With Style was not paid for this review. I am working with Lowe’s to provide information about their site and services in exchange for product. The reviews expressed here are my own.

Kate Bayless is a writer, editor and after her recent visit to Lowe’s, is now considering remodeling nearly ever room in her house. Send help. Her work has appeared in Parents, American Baby, Fit Pregnancy, iVillage and other publications. Visit her at www.katebayless.com or @katebayless.

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