Our clothes go through a lot of wear. By jove, just this very day, during lunch, a fellow co-worker and I participated in crab-walk contest and in my haste to the finish line, ended up dragging my sweater across the dirty blacktop; now, it looks like my sweater has a black eye. And, no way am I calling Mommy about how to heal it. I will, however, have to invest in some Shout stain remover. Club soda also works wonders on coffee and tea stains.

In my time out of the nest, I’ve learned some things. Perhaps the most important is the address of a good dry cleaner for when I screw up, BUT I’ve also begun to learn the black arts of the Washer/Dryer. For starters, it likes to be fed an even amount of items. Like any monster, it will start rumbling when unhappy–and it gets real unhappy when you feed it too little or too much at once. The “too much” portion makes logical sense, but I couldn’t for the life of me understand why it was getting all thunder-storm on me after all I put in was a rug. However, I tried to add a few more items just to see–and it immediately became satiated.

Then there’s the Lights/Darks question. While I’ve realized that you can most certainly separate the colors, washing reds separately the first time, you can also be lazy and not separate colors and wash everything on cold. Nothing fades, my whites are white and if they need a bit more glow, I can just wash them separately with bleach. But, wash new deeply colored clothes separately ALL the time. Lest you don’t and find yourself with a drawer of pink socks.

This is going to sound dumb–but the best thing I’ve discovered living on my own–is that labels aren’t there just to scratch against my neck in heat. They actually are pretty important. I ruined a real nice wool sweater earlier this year by not reading the label and thus not seeing that it was Dry Clean Only. For those on a budget, make sure to read the label before you buy that nice sweater/silk/complex fabric. Otherwise everytime you get all hot and bothered, it’s going to be $4 to get it out.

But, maybe, just maybe, I’m jumping the gun–one has to actually have a washer and dryer before one can have need for such tips. Before you sign that lease, you really should think about your schedule and laundry requirements. Do you have time to sit at a laundrymat if need be? How many people in your building are going to have to share the one vintage machine in the basement? If the W & D set is in your apartment–where is it located? Is it too close to a bedroom? Or, in my case, does it emit a fire-alarm-esq siren as a friendly, HEY, lazypants your laundry needs you??.

And no, if you’re thinking that masking tape might fix my little noise pollution, that’s a definite no. But, it’s still super nice having a washer and dryer in house…

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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