Friday, February 4, 2011

Dorm Life: Laundry

Coming onto a college campus, I must admit that I had zero to little experience washing clothes. At home, my mom always did it, and the one year I offered to do it some of the time she told me not to worry (a miscommunication about me wanting to learn, but I let it drop). Suddenly, last quarter I was living away from my family, and needing to do laundry. 

Like a lot of students fresh in college, with parents living nearby (aka <3.5 hours drive-time), I went home the first few weekends to see people (and secretly get my laundry taken care of). This only lasted so long, and I eventually wanted to do laundry myself, be independent and my own man--so I had one of my friends supervise the process.

 For those of you unfamiliar with campus washing (or washing in general), you load in your laundry (colors or white load) into a machine, add your detergent, select the type of wash, pay, and wait.

The washing machines are actually quite spacious, and the dryers are larger still, so you can get a lot done in one go. Most people seem to do two washing loads (separate colors), and then pile everything into a single dryer. They're also very efficient--there's even a label saying use 1/4 of the recommended detergent if you aren't using some eco-friendly, super-efficient soap.

On campus here, every student is given a Laundry Card that already has $1.75 loaded on it--enough for one load of washing and drying ($1 and $0.75, respectively). These cards can be reloaded with cash or credit / debit cards at the dining halls, where there are special machines for it. But beware, you can only load them while the dining hall is open--so keep track of your card's balance so you aren't texting your friends at 11 p.m. asking if they have enough on theirs so you can dry your double-load. (Yes, I actually did this. I was only a quarter short, and they only take the cards).
Doing laundry takes time and consideration of those around you:
Learn the ebb and flow of your building's "laundry cycle"--my friends wait until Sunday to do laundry; but so does everyone. It's best to go when no one is also washing, so you know you'll have a dryer ready when you're clothes are all clean. Keep in mind a washing cycle is ~40 minutes, and drying ~60. These are "estimates" as the machine-minutes are faster / slower than real minutes. Sometimes 1 MIN left may actually mean 10 minutes of waiting awkwardly. Basically, do laundry when you don't have anything but free- / study-time for at least an hour and a half.

Other tips:
  • There's a rubber seal around the door that catches everything that falls out from people's pockets--lint, hair, chapstick, and money (I found $7+ last quarter this way).
  • Safety-pin sock pairs together so you don't magically lose just one sock. (Saw someone do this and it blew my mind).
  • Make sure things like socks are not still rolled up going into the dryer, or else you may have to resort to something like this to get them dry.

This may take cooperation with your neighboring floormate.
A quick, clever, and efficient fix--

--that looks kind of artsy from below.

Please comment any other tips / tricks / stories you have about laundry (especially on campus).

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