Making the Best of Your Community Laundry

One chore that is pretty much impossible to escape? Laundry! At one point or another, you’ll run out of clothes and will be forced to face the task. Having to use a shared laundry facility adds difficulty to a chore that many aren’t interested in in the first place. Whether your laundry room is within your apartment building or at a laundromat down the street, check out these quick tips for making the most of your community laundry space.

Prepay when possible

In my last couple apartments, our building provided a prepaid laundry card that worked a bit like a debit card in each laundry machine. I would add funds to the card at a machine in the apartment building’s office then use it to pay for washers and dryers in their community laundry space. Whether you have that experience or need to bring cash and change to do your laundry, get your money together ahead of time!

Add funds to your prepaid card on your way home or while you’re already passing by the apartment office. Keep a cup full of quarters and loose cash easily accessible for when you need it. Be sure you don’t wait until the last minute to get your laundry money together – I promise, searching for quarters in the couch cushions is not fun!

Understand your laundry room rules

Check with your landlord or stop by the community laundry room to check on policies. Things to consider include:

  • What laundry detergent / softener are accepted? Which should not be used?
  • Can you leave clothes while they are washing, or must you stay in the laundry room?
  • What’s your apartment’s policy on clothes that are left behind?
  • How much does it cost to wash clothes? To dry them?
  • What facilities are available for folding or ironing clothing?

You don’t want to come in blind, especially during your first couple times of doing laundry in this new space.

Give yourself a schedule

Few things are worse than schlepping an overflowing laundry bin to your community laundry space – plus that adds risk of not having enough money available to complete multiple loads! Instead of waiting until you’re out of clean socks, set a laundry schedule for yourself.

Perhaps you plan to do laundry each Sunday morning, or Wednesday night after work. Pick a day and time that generally works with you and get that laundry done consistently! Bonus points if you find a time when the laundry room is used less and there is no wait for the machines!

Come prepared

Now, you’re ready to tackle community laundry with ease. Be sure to come prepared with your money (coins or otherwise) and a sturdy laundry basket that can withstand coming and going from your apartment.

You may also want to invest in a bag for your detergent, softener, or dryer sheets so you don’t have to juggle multiple items on your way in and out. To reduce weight, measure our the detergent into a ziploc bag before you leave and just bring that along!

Pro tip: Commercial front-loading washers require surprisingly small amounts of detergent. Make sure to measure carefully or you’ll be wasting money to run extra rinses to get the suds out.

Before loading your clothes in the washer and dryer, check to ensure it’s working by starting the cycle. Then, quickly add clothes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve loaded all of my clothes in the washer only to find that it was out of order! Also check that the machine is empty. You don’t want to discover that someone’s black sock ended up in your whites load.

Once you hit “start,” set a timer on your phone to remind you to come back and flip the laundry! Set it for a few minutes early to give you time to get back to the laundry room.

Make it fun

If you’re sticking around with your clothes, bring your favorite book, laptop to get some work done, or headphones to listen to music, podcasts or favorite book. Wear workout clothes and walk laps around the room or building. Plan to do laundry at the same time as your neighbor-friend and spend the time catching up. Laundry doesn’t have to be boring! Okay, that may be a stretch. But it doesn’t have to be a chore you dread.

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Author My First Apartment

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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Comments (2)

  1. Sarah Sarah

    Hey Carly – Congratulations on your move! The laundromat really isn’t bad – but I can’t count the times I had to gather up soapy laundry and move it to a new machine. Fingers crossed yours are newer than mine was! :) Good luck!

  2. Avatar Carly Mckeen

    Thank you for stating that before loading your clothes in the washer and dryer, you should check to ensure it’s working by starting the cycle. My husband and I just moved into an apartment that doesn’t have a washer and dryer, so we have to sue the building’s coin-operated laundromat, but I’ve never used one before and don’t know how to go about it. I will definitely keep all of your great tips and information in mind when using my apartment’s coin-operated laundromat.