A Lesson in Laundry Room Etiquette
Okay, it’s confession time.
When I came to college, I had no idea how to do laundry.
You are probably asking yourself, “How does a responsible, independent, 18-year-old woman manage to make it to college without knowing how to do laundry?” And honestly, I have no answer for you, other than pointing at all the other new freshmen who are in the same boat as me.
During my first semester here at Angelo State University, I learned about ecosystems, annotated bibliographies, and Tide Pods. My newfound laundry skills grew basically overnight thanks to my desire to dress and smell nice. I educated myself about laundry mainly by observing others around me and calling my mother and grandmother every time I picked up any item of clothing other than a T-shirt.
Now I consider myself a laundry expert. I can sort lights and darks and check my jean pockets in less than 2 minutes, and, yes, I have timed myself. Folding is still an issue to be worked on another day.
In most residence halls on college campuses, there are all-expense paid laundry rooms located in general areas for residents to wash their clothes. These areas are the location where many freshmen, like me, learn how to do laundry for the first time. These laundry rooms also have their own set of rules or etiquette, that newcomers learn from experience and from following the lead of upperclassmen.
Here’s a list of rules that you should know about laundry room etiquette before you start separating those socks.
- Try to do laundry during an “off” time so that you can guarantee that there will be washers and dryers available. I used to do laundry every Monday at 10:00 when I knew my peers would be in class. My friend used to do laundry every Wednesday at 2:00 because a cute guy was always in the lobby at that time. Sundays in the afternoon are the worst time to do laundry thanks to procrastinating neighbors who don’t do laundry until they realize they have one last pair of clean underwear.
- Sort out your clothes in your room before heading down to the laundry room to ensure that you do not accidentally drop all your underwear onto the laundry room floor right in front of your cute neighbor — or worse, in front of your RA.
- If someone hasn’t come to claim their clothes out of a washer, give them a 5-minute grace period. Maybe they are watching Supernatural and just can’t come get their laundry until the episode ends, which is completely excusable. After the 5-minute grace period, you have two options: either A) Place their clothes neatly on top of their washer, or B) move their clothes into a dryer and start the dryer for them. If you move someone’s clothes, you should always place a note on the washer telling them that you moved their clothes so that they do not panic when they return after they finish their episode of Supernatural. Posting on YikYak is also acceptable.
- Set a timer on your phone when you start a load of laundry so that you do not become engrossed in your own episode of Supernatural and fail to retrieve your clothes in a timely manner.
- Tide Pods are like babies: expensive, tiny, and completely worth it in the end. They make good graduation gifts, so be sure to ask for them when you graduate from high school.
- Do not underestimate the power of dryer sheets. You can use them in the dryer, in stinky tennis shoes, and basically anywhere that you want to smell like lavender or a spring meadow.
- Fold your clothes as soon as you get them out of the dryer. Don’t kid yourself by telling yourself that you will fold them later. I like to fold my clothes while I watch Supernatural so that I do not feel so much like a bum.
Pearl of Wisdom: Laundry is a necessary life skill. Don’t skip out on this opportunity to become an independent adult.