Laundry Day: A Guide for Apartment Inhabitants

One of the banes of urban-dwelling is the inconvenience of simple chores: lugging groceries up six flights, taking the dog down six, and especially doing the laundry. Though there’s little to make it fun, you can suds up efficiently less painfully.

For those of you with washer-dryers in unit – congratulations! No one will have to see you in a Yanni concert tee and plaid pants. You are allowed, though not encouraged, to let laundry pile up for a week or two as long as you don’t have to go out in public when you’ve run out of clean clothes.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

To keep clutter at bay, use an ironing board which attaches to the back of a closet door, either a flip-down model or full size with over-the-door hooks. Designate one basket for the iron, spray starch, fabric softener, and detergent. If you use liquid bleach, keep a dishtowel with the bottle in order to wipe any spillage and keep away spot splatter accidents.

You have the luxury of constantly running laundry while you attend other household chores. Just take items from the dryer promptly so they’re less wrinkled, and don’t let wet stuff just sit in the washer. Keep it circulating! It’s much more pleasant to have clothes ready to go when you’re rushing around in the morning, so choose one evening as ironing night. Put in a good movie, pour a beer, and take care of all of the pressing. To save a little cash, use a drugstore home dry cleaning kit. For $2 to $2.50 a load, you can spruce four garments in your own dryer. If you’re feeling particularly generous, invite over a laundromat-dependent friend. In trade for using your utilities, they can provide the laundry day snacks and DVD or takeout dinner.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

If you have a communal laundry room in your complex, you’ll get a workout taking baskets up and down the stairs. Use an egg timer as reminder to change loads. Unless you’re cool with sharing, don’t leave your detergent down there. Pre-sort all of your clothes before you trek, and if there are only a couple of machines, match load cycles. Run two large loads or two small at the same time so that they dry at the same time, and save yourself extra steps. Take some extra cheapie towels with you if you need to flat-dry clothing, or if you need to use the line. If the clothing line isn’t pristine, you can get marks on your newly-clean duds. Don’t forget to keep the quarter jar full to avoid a last-minute scramble.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

If the laundromat is your only option, and you haven’t been able to ingratiate yourself to your W/D endowed friends, don’t let it get you down. Try to find a buddy to at least keep you company at the mat. Take a portable board game, cards, or a good book, plus deli sandwiches and sodas or a not-too-messy lunch. The advantage is being able to wash and dry eight loads at once, the disadvantage is folding eight loads at once. This is where the buddy comes in. Keep track of which machines you’re using so nothing gets left behind. Colorful refrigerator magnets are an easy way to tell your laundry from your neighbors.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

As mom said, “I’m not buying you anything new until you can prove you can take care of what you already have.” That includes treating stains and holes as soon as they appear, treating delicate items delicately, and buying high-quality clothing to ensure longer wear. For fine items, hand wash in baby shampoo. Turn t-shirts inside out before washing. Make sure your pockets are empty before throwing pants in. Some other good tips from mom include:
-Rub a bar of soap over zipper teeth to keep them pulling smoothly.
-Use petroleum jelly or shortening to remove lipstick from fabric.
-Rub your iron with aluminum foil to remove burnt starch.

Buck up and get the laundry done – or fill a bag and take it to good old mom’s.

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