flotsam, peeves

Laundry room rant

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Hi. How are you, neighbor? Nice to see you. Having a good day? Great.

I almost hate to mention it, but can I call your attention to this room? Right, it’s the laundry room for this section of the complex. You see these 6 washers (only 5 of which are presently working, as usual) and 6 dryers? They have to serve a whole group of us. If you count up how many apartments this room is supposed to serve, that’s a lot of people and not a lot of washers. Which means that on the weekends, it’s a madhouse in here.

There are a couple of tricks to surviving this without all killing each other that I would love to share with you. Ready?

  1. If you have three months of laundry to do, you are going to have to come up with a creative solution.  Like, do it in stages, or do your wash at off-hours, or go over to the public laundromat that has 50 sets of machines. If you come into this little facility with 10 loads of laundry and start all the washers at once during the height of the weekend rush – and by the way please don’t try to shove 10 loads into 5 machines, because they will break and then we’ll have no machines – then you are going to back up everyone else for the rest of the day.And you know what? Just like you, they just wanted to get their clothes washed and go on to something else. They almost certainly had better plans than to wait around for you to do your laundry. Which means that if they don’t have the luxury to be able to scrap doing their laundry for another day because of you, they pretty much want to kill you. They probably won’t because that’s not socially acceptable. But in their hearts? You’re dead 100 times over.

    If there are other people around to do laundry, then no more than two machines per person. If no one else is around, try to leave at least one working machine free for someone else, if at all possible, because it’s almost certain that someone else will have laundry to do. I hope that doesn’t seem too terribly unfair, keeping in mind that if you lived in a house with your own washer/dryer, you would have to do one load at a time, and it would take you all dang day. But at least it would only be your day.

  2. After the washer and dryer starts, a series of numbers appears on the machine. Maybe you’ve been curious about the mysterious nature of these numbers, so let me clear this up for you. That’s a timer.Those numbers are telling you how much time will pass before your laundry is done. If you were planning to leave the laundry room and come back later for your clothes, you might want to make a note of how much time will elapse, and try to be back around the same time.I know how it is; we walk away, we get busy with something, we forget. You know what works for me? I set a timer for whatever time I need to leave to get back in time. Personally I tend to come back 10 minutes before the dryer should stop (I don’t like rumpled clothes & hate ironing, so I pull them out just before the machine goes into cool-down mode) or within 1 minute of the washer stopping. What I never do is show up 30-60 minutes after the machines stop, when everyone else wants to solve their time problem by throwing my clothes away.
  3. When you do stroll back in 30+ minutes late to free up the multiple machines you’ve tied up and abandoned, appreciate that the people waiting for your machine had other things they wanted to do today too. You don’t necessarily have to apologize (though it wouldn’t hurt) but you don’t get to give them a lecture on how “we all just have to be patient.”Why, yes, we do have to be patient. We also have to be considerate. The fact that the nice gentleman who has been waiting for 45+ minutes (15 while your machine was running, 30+ since) to even start his wash because you were late has been a wellspring of patience. As you finally arrived, he was relieved to see you, and simply said — very politely and very gently I might add — that it’s been half an hour and you might want to check on your clothes more regularly on busy days. He didn’t rant at you. He didn’t crowd you or get up in your face. He didn’t move your clothes into a heap, even though he could have washed his clothes and had them in the dryer before you even showed up to realize it. He’s not shooting you dirty looks, or rushing into your machines before you’re ready. And he’s not saying anything more about the fact that you’re still holding things up because I have never seen anyone move clothes from a washer to a dryer so slowly in all my life. If anything, he’s expressing some concern that a less patient person, left to wait, might have harmed your clothes (apparently that happened to a friend of his), and none of us wants that, right?

    Your lecture on patience is misplaced, and your little story about how patience is needed because YOU had to wait nearly 1/2 hour to get YOUR clothes into the washer because the LAST person didn’t show up on time either is not really winning anyone over. It just underscores the way the problem snowballs with each one of us who refuses to consider anyone else.  I am not seeing how the fact that someone else was rude gives you license to do the same, or how that helps anything.

I hope these tips help you. That’s all the time I have right now, though. My timer just went off… I have to go move my laundry around.

3 thoughts on “Laundry room rant”

  1. I was very fortunate to have always had a washer and dryer in every apartment/house I rented over the years. Those trips to the communal laundry room would have driven me quite mad, I’m sure.


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