When I was in my 20s, I loved the laundromat. I would go on my day off, which was in the middle of the week, so I usually had the place to myself. I would dig under my couch cushions for enough quarters to pay for my one load (two, if I was doing sheets and towels). I’d pack a magazine and a tasty snack and I’d hit the ‘mat. I’d read or use my blackberry to catch up with friends. When everything was dry, I would carefully fold each item, taking advantage of the counter space and the rolling carts. All in all, I had no complaints about being a laundromat person.
Fast forward a …few years. And I’m a laundromat person again. But now, instead of one load (that I usually managed to fit in my rolling suitcase), I have so much laundry that it hardly fits in our huge SUV. And forget about the couch cushions. I have to hit the ATM, to pay for it all. I don’t pack a snack – and worse, I usually forget to eat breakfast, in my rush to get out the door so that I’m back before Tim needs to leave for work. Oh, and my shiny pink blackberry pearl … well, she’s long gone.
But, truth be told, I still don’t mind the laundromat. There are some things that I do differently now. If you’re a laundromat person, either because you don’t have laundry facilities or because your appliances are temporarily out of commission, maybe these tips will make your trips to the laundromat a little easier.
1. Buy your detergent in the smallest bottle you can find, but only once. Save the bottle so that you can refill it from the giant bottles. The giant bottles will save you money, but there’s no reason to lug all that weight back and forth every week.
2. If you use fabric softener, use the dryer sheets. No reason except that they’re lighter and travel easier.
3. Leave your delicates at home. This one isn’t for everyone. But if you’re looking to save a little money and you don’t want to drag a basket of wet, heavy laundry home with you, just leave them home and wash them by hand. I can do an entire post on bathtub laundry, if you want. I’ve mastered it. It’s not that bad. And after one too many experiences, with laundromat dryers getting too hot (even on the low setting) and destroying my clothes, I’d rather just not take the risk.
4. Put your socks in a lingerie bag. This is especially helpful if you have kids. You know those tiny socks that are impossible to keep track of at home? It’s a million times worse once you have to take them out of the house. Save yourself the hassle. Put them in a mesh bag before you even leave the house. Throw the whole thing in the washer, and then the dryer and then into your basket. The matching/folding can wait. Which brings me to the one that took me the longest to figure out and has saved me the most sanity…
5. Stop folding everything. Seriously. When you’re doing 4 or 5 or 6 loads of laundry, the folding can take forever. So just stop. My new policy is: if no one sees it, it doesn’t get folded. The socks are already in the mesh bag. They can travel home the same way they came. Underwear doesn’t need to be folded. Neither do pajamas. Who cares if they’re a little wrinkled. And sheets and towels? Towels don’t wrinkle – and would you really care if they did? If you’re like me, and you’re operating on one set of sheets, you’d be folding those, for the sole purpose of transporting them home, where you would unfold them and put them back on the bed. Just stop. It’s ok. Really. Now, before you start picturing mountains of unfolded laundry, strewn about my home … I DO fold everything. Just not at the laundromat. When I get home, I get X set up, matching socks and I fold the rest. Oh, and bring a stack of hangers for anything that wrinkles easily.
And last, but not least, stop for coffee on the way. If you’ve managed to get to the laundromat, without kids in tow, you’ll actually get to drink it while it’s still hot.
Can you even imagine?
Keep choosing joy, friends!!