Clothes, that is. Laundry is one of the many joys (challenges) of living in an apartment. I’m fortunate enough right now to have a washer and dryer where I live, but I have not always been so lucky. I can tell you right now, carting my laundry up and down the stairs in my apartment building was not one of my favorite activities…nor was spending $3 a load to wash it…and neither was waiting an hour for each load to wash. So if you live in a tiny apartment without a laundry facility, what do you do?
Sometimes you’re stuck using the laundromat, in which case the way you utilize your wardrobe becomes a delicate balancing act- “Wait! Don’t wear that shirt! You’ll need it in three days for a specific occasion and it won’t be clean for another two weeks!” or something like that runs through your head when you go for an article of clothing. When it comes to the laundromat, I suggest keeping a change jar to collect stray quarters and dollar bills unless your laundromat accepts credit cards. I also recommend buying a drying rack to keep in your apartment and air drying as much clothing as possible, which will cut down on the cost of using the dryer. You can also wash things like delicates and underwear in a bucket or in a clean sink by hand in a pinch. I know this is the 21st century, but sometimes it’s not so bad to do things the old fashioned way.
When I lived in a larger city, many people had their clothes laundered for them. In this case, you just drop off your bag of dirty laundry and for a couple dollars extra you can have everything washed, dried, and pressed. Keep in mind you’ll have to get over the notion of someone else going through your dirty laundry. But if you don’t have a laundry facility in your apartment complex and you work long hours, this really makes life easier.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Even if your apartment doesn’t have a washer, there are methods of laundry survival. However, I definitely recommend the laundry facility to be at the top of your checklist when searching for a new apartment! You can even do this on the Gainesville-Rent website by searching here and narrowing your search by selecting “laundry facility”!
Chances are the answer is yes! Or at least somewhat. Do you ever wear something for a few hours during the day and then toss it on the floor with the other dirty clothes, throw it into the hamper, then wash it unnecessarily? We all do at least some of the time. Washing things when they don’t really need it is not such a great thing for several reasons: it wastes water, detergent, and energy, and it breaks down your clothing at an expedited rate. This is especially true if you also use the dryer- each time you dry your tshirts or jeans, the heat wears down the fabrics.
Another point to consider is how dirty are your clothes, really? It’s not mandatory to wash things like jeans, made of heavy denim, every time you wear them. It’s highly unlikely they are significantly dirty or smell bad. Of course if they are smelly, throw them in the wash, but jeans can usually be worn 3-5 times before they really require washing attention. I’m not sure I’d go so far as the freezer jeans people, but you may be able to lengthen the amount of time between washes. You may be able to simply spot treat clothing items that are mostly clean, but have a tiny speck here and there that needs to be taken care of. Airing clothing out between wears also will help eliminate small amounts of odors and help dewrinkle.
One method to help sort out the slightly dirty from the really dirty and really clean is to have what one Apartment Therapy writer deems a “clothes purgatory” – a place in your closet or on a rack elsewhere where you can hang up the only-a-little-dirty pieces which aren’t quite ready for the washer.
Do you live in an apartment without a washer and dryer? If you don’t, would you? Before June I lived in an older apartment building with a shared washer and dryer. There were only 6 units in the building so it was not difficult to split the appliances between us all. Unfortunately the building was sold and I had to relocate. Then I was lucky enough to find a great place in the same neighborhood, with even lower rent. What a deal, right? So far, the only catch has been: there is no washer or dryer. There are no washer or dryer hookups. There IS a laundromat a couple buildings away.
Thus began my journey living without a washer and dryer at my disposal for the first time, ever. My rent is $25 cheaper a month than at the previous apartment (and all the same utilities are included). Logically, I can say that as long as I spend less than $25 on laundry a month, I’m saving money. This may be true, but I have to admit I feel like I’m pouring money down the drain every time I pay $2.50 to wash a small load of clothes in a machine with an agitator (I was spoiled with a front loader before) and then pay $0.25 for every 5 minutes in the dryer. The dryers don’t really seem to work, by the way – I always end up line drying my clothes afterwards or putting them on a little damp. I’ve started doing laundry as infrequently as possible, hoarding huge heaping piles of clothes until I visit my parents for a weekend and can freely use the laundry facilities. I heavily prioritize what gets washed in the abominable laundromat washers – serious necessities only! It’s quite frankly gotten a little ridiculous.
Ok, I do realize there are many people who have never had a washing machine at their disposal and have always done things the laundromat way. I know there are pros to it, too: the laundromat is a great place to read, sometimes a place to meet people. But is it worth the trek out of the apartment, arms full of clothes which usually end up spilling all over the sidewalk? Is it worth the quarter collecting all month long?
With all this being said, I think I can still confidently say that I would rather pay the $25 extra a month to have a washer and dryer I can use whenever I want, even if it’s technically more than what I spend on the laundromat currently. What I’ve learned from this is that some conveniences are worth the premium and for me I’ll gladly pay for the freedom to launder.
(photo credit: http://www.vintag.es/)