I came across a blog entry a few weeks ago that made an argument for having less clothes because you’d do less laundry. I nodded in approval. That makes sense, right? But I also considered that having less clothes also meant you’d have to do laundry more frequently.
So which is better? I soon found out.
The dryers in my apartment building have gone rogue and management can’t keep up with fixing them, so I decided it was time for my first coin laundry experience. I went in with my bag and…major shocker for simple-minded me!
- People were using two, three, even four jumbo sized dryers that could each fit three people inside.
- I saw a handful of people that were folding their clothes out of the dyer from the time I came in, and an hour later when I left they were still folding.
- I counted one lady putting eleven large garbage bags of clothes into the washers.
- One woman folded what seemed like enough towels to restock Bed Bath & Beyond in every color.
- I helped one poor woman carrying a baby get the clothes back into her car because the bins were too heavy for her to lift.
- One woman was folding jeans for half an hour. I’ll leave the number of jeans to your imagination.
I went in there to wash a week (maybe even two weeks) of clothes from Josh and me and our bed sheet set. I took up two of the smallest washers — one for whites and one for darks. I threw everything in a jumbo dryer, which didn’t even fill up a third of the way, and then folded to leave. I was in there for about an hour total and spent under $5. The bigger, high efficiency washers are four times more expensive than the smallest washers, by the way, and since I was able to dry all of my clothes in one jumbo dryer I actually saved a ton of money compared to doing it in my laundry room back at the apartment.
The other people there were, I think, monthly washers. I can only speculate that they leave all those clothes on the floor (there’s no hamper that fits five to ten garbage bags of clothes) and then once a month pack it up in the car and spend a lot of money to clean it all.
If you have a ton of clothes it’s easy to put off doing laundry. But wouldn’t you rather have to do laundry once a week and only spend an hour doing it, rather than spend an entire day and tons of money at once to get it done? It just seems so much simpler to me to have less and wash less!
More Laundry Stress-Saving Tips
- You’re probably using too much detergent. Especially Americans. I saw one lady pour about two whole cups of bleach into her white load of laundry. Unless you’re hiking in your clothes every day or work construction, a gentle wash with a little bit of detergent is all it takes to get them fresh.
- Wash gently, unless otherwise indicated. Read your labels and you may be surprised. Most clothes are supposed to go through the gentle cycle both in the washer and dryer. The only whites I have that recommend hot water are my bedsheets, but I do them in a cold gentle cycle as well. This saves energy, time, and also saves a lot of premature wear on your clothes.
- Re-wear clothes. Those jeans you wore to class for three hours aren’t dirty, and neither is that dress you wore to dinner. Washing clothes when they aren’t even soiled is totally overrated. I re-wear my clothes until they’re dirty and it saves me tons of time and money. If you’re super stingy you can refresh clothes with the iron’s steam setting.
- Buy clear detergent. I don’t understand why companies put dye into a cleaner. Buying a clear and gentle detergent is safer for the environment, your clothes, and your skin. So why not? Some people are addicted to scents but there are some that are wonderfully lightly scented. Or mist your clothes with Febreeze after washing!
- Fold your clothes. If you throw clean clothes around they wrinkle to the point of being unwearable and you either don’t wear it or toss it right back into the laundry basket. How many of us break out the ironing board? Just avoid the headache by folding directly after it comes out of the dryer!