I prefer powders. I don't like dealing with heavy jugs and endless drips. I have front loading machines and this just really comes down to preference. For a lively dialogue about powder vs. liquid check out iVillage's Garden Web home forum on this subject. I also prefer my storage to be open. Meaning no tops or lids. Nothing to unscrew or lift off. Did you know the average person spends 5-7 hours per week in their laundry room?
Another reason to make things attractive and convenient! A quick scoop out of these crocks and I'm ready to push the start button. Also, if you don't have a counter across your machines, (one of the 2 things still incomplete in this room!) cover them with a large white towel. It will keep the surfaces from getting scratched as well as act as a little noise buffer. Plus, it just looks fresh!
images coursety of CountryHome, Southern Accents, flicr and A&A