When I moved into a new house near campus this year with my two roommates, I thought it had everything I needed and more. A real brick fireplace, a front stoop perfect for socializing, and a backyard stuffed with trees. But as I excitedly unpacked my cardboard boxes brimming with clothes, I realized I had failed to notice the missing washer and dryer. After a moment of panic, I decided to hold off on the laundry for a few weeks until my room overflowed with shirts and pants strewn on the floor. I finally had to go to the Laundromat.
Going to the Laundromat is no easy task for those who don’t know what they’re doing. It’s an awkward jumble of heavy baskets, forgotten detergent, and lack of quarters for the machines, and rest assured that the Laundromat regulars will be able to spot a laundry newcomer from a mile away.
After a few visits of this stressful routine, I started to look forward to my next session at the Laundromat. I noticed a cultural cluster of regulars and by observation I made a mental list of how to make the Laundromat a pleasurable experience. For those attempting to live life to the fullest, dedicate a few hours of your day to your local Laundromat, even if you are the lucky owner of a washing machine. Here are my tips for Laundromat success:
1. Always remember to bring a handful of quarters. Each washer load costs about $1.75 and forty-five minutes in the dryer costs close to $2.00.
2. Bring your own detergent. It smells better and costs less.
3. Learn from my mistakes. Don’t try to make small talk with 80-year-old motorcycle men or agitated mothers. They’ll realize you’re a newbie instantly and will ignore you.
4. Always bring food. You might be there for two or three hours and jealousy will ensue when the man next to you has a whole bag of sunflower seeds all to himself.
5. Don’t leave your clothes, however tempting it may be. Someone might steal your favorite jeans and the point is to appreciate the experience anyway.
6. Bring your books if you have studying to do. It’s almost distraction-free and why not kill two birds with one stone?
7. If you’re not a student, bring nail polish, magazines, your music player, a deck of cards, knitting materials, your harmonica, or a journal.
8. Brag to your friends about how much fun you have at the Laundromat so they will come with you.
Maybe it’s just me, but the Laundromat seems to be an undiscovered pocket of daytime entertainment that more people should take advantage of. Hopefully next time your laundry basket has reached its limit and your parents refuse to lend their equipment, you’ll feel confident in your decision to pack up, head out, and enjoy a few hours at the Laundromat.