The Four Types of Laundry-Doers

A week ago my laundry experience spiraled out of control. Unamused, I wrote the following:

Tonight, laundry was a four-hour endeavor. Sharing eight washers and eight dryers with at least 260 people (closer to 350) means a few things:

  • For introverts, a trip to the laundry room is a veritable nightmare. There’s always a person there.

  • There’s only about a 15 percent chance you’ll get a machine on your first trip up—especially after five p.m.

  • Heavy machine usage dictates that at any given time, at least one of the machines is broken. Sometimes there’s a sign. Sometimes there’s not and you find out it’s broken after you load all your clothes and soap into it.

I spent most of my evening sitting in the laundry room, and observed four very distinct types of laundry doers.

1) The Bold: Because washers and dryers are such a hot commodity, there are signs all over the place asking residents to please remove laundry from machines in a timely manner. If you don’t and your full load is in the only stopped machine, The Bolds will march up, pull everything out, and dump it on the counter. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

2) The Timid: Even if the owner of the clothes in the machine left a note, “Please feel free to take my clothes out, I’m not coming back till tomorrow”, The Timids will stand there hesitantly, read and re-read the message, and discuss it with anyone in the room. Finally they’ll turn to the door, bag of clothes in tow, resigned to the reality of yet another week without clean socks.

3) The Patient: It is true that if you sit in one of the several chairs and wait, before too long you’ll get the chance to claim a washer or dryer. The Patients will camp out with a book or homework or just a suspicious glare whenever anyone else walks into the room, biding their time till there’s an opening.

4) The Angsty: Walking into the laundry room and seeing no empty washing machines may not seem like cause for stress, but for The Angsty it’s a perfectly valid reason to groan, glare, and huff and puff back into the hallway.

You’ll be please to know that I learned my lesson last week, and tonight my laundry strategy was much more successful (I define success here as low human interaction, no wait times, and not having to run the dryer three times in a row).

Kudos to everyone who has lived in an apartment and now owns their own washer and dryer. You deserve every moment of it, and all of us apartment folks would like to come live with you.