Tips for Community Laundry
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Moving to Los Angeles, we sacrificed some of the things we were used to for a pretty place to live, less than 15 minutes from the beach. We downsized from 1500 square feet to 800, air conditioner to no central AC, 2 parking spaces down to 1, 2 bathrooms don to 1, anddddd in-unit laundry to community laundry… just to name a few ;) Totally not complaining, just stating the facts! (Un)fortunately, this is not my first go with sharing a laundry room. My freshman year of college, I had community laundry and every year after that I had at least 1 roommate, so technically I was sharing then too. What’s the difference now? Besides the fact that at Baylor the machines were bigger and cost less ($1.25 for a wash and $0.75 for a dry - now they cost use $2 for a wash and $1.25 for a dry), I also have to open 4 doors to even get to the said laundry room. Do you know how hard it is to unlock doors when your arms are full?! I digress. After almost 7 months of living here and doing the community laundry thing, I thought I’d offer some tips and tricks. Who knows - these could help you around situations with your roommates too!
TIPS FOR COMMUNITY LAUNDRY
Wipe down the area. When we moved, I asked Branch Basics if they had any tips for community laundry, as most people use toxic / heavily fragranced laundry detergent. Something they suggested was wiping down the inside of the machine and such before using. Obviously this is kind of an annoying step; however, it’s a great habit to get into if your roommates / laundry mates use traditional detergent. It won’t get all the gunk out, but it is better than nothing! Don’t forget to clean the basket you use to transport the dirty / clean laundry. Whether you set it on the floor or atop the machines, it should probably be wiped down. Side note - this is a great thing to be doing during COVID-19 too.
Wait for a full load. Not only is this more economical, but it is also better for the earth as you are making the most of each cycle. I’ve found it can be hard, as the machines we have hold a lot less than the machines I am used to. It is what I aim for though! I would NOT recommend stuffing in as much as you can, as it doesn’t end up washing very well and then you have to do it again, in turn wasting money. It can actually rip clothing if the machine is too full as well. If I have something that urgently needs to be cleaned, I try to hand wash it. I’ve seen some people hand wash and use a salad spinner to wring out the clothes. Obviously it would be really hard to do that for larger items, but it’s a great thought nonetheless. Oh and they purchased a salad spinner specifically for this reason / don’t use the same one for actual salad. LOL
Sort smartly. I mean duh, but really. If I have big enough loads, I like to sort my darks pile into a “needs to be dried” section and a “hang dry” section. It makes the whole walk to the laundry room process so much easier! That being said, I don’t dry a lot of things and I know some people just stick everything in the dryer, so this tip may not be for everyone. Just know that machine drying can often lead to a shorter life for clothing, so use your best judgement! Also, I sometimes wash my lights pile with the darks, if I don’t have a ton in my lights pile and I know they won’t be affected by the clothes I’m washing them with.
Wash smartly. Some things you don’t need to wash every single time, like jeans! This keeps your laundry pile down and saves you money. If there is a worldwide pandemic and you wear the item to a grocery store, I’d wash them after that use though. Use common sense!
If you’re looking for community laundry pandemic tips, I would for sure wipe down the area, in addition to washing your hands as soon as you’re back. Also make sure you do that BEFORE unloading the laundry. If you can, wash your clothing with the hottest water, as this is what will help kill germs. I know the CDC also recommends keeping the clothes you wear outside separate from your inside clothes. Same recommendation for shoes! We try to keep our shoes in the foyer and immediately put on house shoes.
COMMUNITY LAUNDRY ETIQUETTE
If clothes are in the washer or dryer and are complete, it is okay to move them out so you can use it. I’ve had some people get mad, but it literally says that you should move them immediately in our laundry rules. Plus, it is community property! I move the items to the top of the machine, as they may not dry everything. Obviously be super careful and don’t let any fall on the floor, but yeah. Our laundry floor is pretty much dirt, so it is super important to keep the clean things CLEAN.
Empty the lint trap after drying. It is just the courteous thing to do.
Don’t bleach or use harsh chemicals. Again, it is community property. You could very well ruin other peoples things.
Be mindful of the machines. I’m not saying not to load up all the machines if they are available, but just be courteous. How long will you actually be using them? If it it going to be a while, I recommend not doing that during a high traffic time like on the weekend. I’ve experienced one aggressive laundry lady during a high traffic time and she is kind of the worst. (lol) We have 2 washing machines and 2 dryers to serve 10 units, so it isn’t an amazing ratio. She likes to hog both of them and then guard them so no one else can use them. It’s kind of funny, kind of not. Let’s just say, don’t be like her and leave it at that.
FAVORITE LAUNDRY ITEMS
Branch Basics. I use Branch Basics for laundry detergent, in addition to sprays around the house. It is unscented, plant based detergent that actually works.
Wool Dryer Balls. I love drying with these! They help items dry faster and wrinkle less.
Essential Oils. I put EO’s on my dryer balls to get a light scent on my items. My favorite combo right now is lavender and clove!
Baskets. I love my cute laundry baskets! We keep them at the foot of the bed to make sorting easier. The larger one is for darks and the smaller one is for lights. I also have a hard plastic laundry basket (I think it is from college lol) that I prefer to carry to the laundry room, but I have taken the woven baskets in if I needed to.
Hangers. These are the hangers Nick and I use in our closet! They are thin and make the closet more manageable, as clothes don’t fall off of them easily.
I used to cram in all the laundry on the weekend, which made it super exhausting. It doesn’t necessarily make it better, but it does make it easier for me to space the loads out! I currently wash towels on Monday, clothes on a midweek day, and bed sheets / coverings every other Friday. Trust me, I’d prefer to wash the bedding every week; however, it typically costs me at least $5 each time, which adds up to $260 a year!! I know $130 doesn’t sound much better, but at least it is half. Hah!
With the current state of the world / the pandemic, some days laundry is my only outing, besides taking Dino out. It’s funny what you find yourself being thankful for and how mundane tasks can turn into new found appreciations. Stay safe and stay clean, y’all! XOXO
P.S. I’ve said this before, but if you go stay with a friend who has community laundry as their only option, gift them a roll of quarters! They have to wash your bedsheets, towels, etc and not only is it a lot of work, but it also adds up really quickly!
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