If anyone ever asks if you want a floor drain installed below your washing machine, say yes!
Before this week, I'd never given a thought to floor drains, but I can see how useful they are now. If your washer fails, the water will go down the drain instead all over your floor and through the ceiling below.
If you can't afford a floor drain, then pick up a water sensor at a hardware store to put under your washer. Dad thinks these exist and are only $10, but I confess I've yet to see one. Mom and I started to look at Home Labyrinth today but I had a 6'x8' roll of vinyl flooring on my shoulder and soon decided an aimless wander did not seem like a good idea.
Why didn't we get a cart? Initially, we thought we'd just be getting a small piece cut, but they didn't have any available that way. Then after we'd found the rolls they had, Mom went off to get a cart but instead snagged an associate to find where the trim/connector pieces were. By then, I figured what the hell, here's my weight lifting for the day. I'm probably going to be so sore tomorrow.
Run your washer while someone is home. Then if it fails and starts dumping water everywhere (get that water sensor!), you will have a chance to stop it before it gets too bad. Assuming you notice early on that there's a problem.
Know where your water shutoff valves are and make sure they are in working order. The one for the washer was frozen in place and required Liquid Wrench. Know where your main house water shutoff is in case you need it.
If you have buckets, make sure they are easily accessible, not impossibly stacked together in a closet while acting as a platform for stuff you have to move that is next to a shelf that prevents you from pulling them straight out of the closet. Any storage choice that requires you to unstack the buckets before you can lift them over the top of a shelving unit and out of the closet is a bad idea!
Triage! If water is rolling down your hallways, set up barriers in front of your closets because the water will roll right under the doors.
Better yet, head the water off as close to your machine and as fast as you can. Alas, sometimes this is not possible if too much water has poured out. Get your rugs out of the way!
When you buy new towels, keep your old junky ones somewhere handy for emergencies such as this.
Shop-vacs that can suck up water are handy.
It will bum you out, but make sure to check any floors beneath your washer. You may, like I did, discover water streaming through the ceiling into your garage or basement, or both.
Most importantly, with all the hassle, expense and water damaged items, remember this is a very first world problem to have. You have a machine that washes your clothes for you in your house (or had one anyway): life is good.