awareness, calculations, small potatoes

The Great Laundry Calculation

The Great Laundry Calculation-3

Haha, I crack myself up. Of course clean clothes are worth it. But cleaning them is not free, that’s for sure. As you are probably aware, the formula determining how much it will cost you to do laundry this month is:

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 1.51.22 PM

where Q = the number of quarters a load costs, L = how many loads you have, S = how much you think you can stuff into one load, C = how much an average item of clothing costs, W = how many times you can wear an average item of clothing before you need to wash it again, T = the temperature of the water, H = how many washes an item of clothing can withstand before it is completely worn out and has to be replaced, F = how frequently you are willing to do laundry, and G = I give up.

Seriously, I give up. Trying to optimize the frequency of laundry outings in such a way that I save a noticeable amount of money without sacrificing hygiene is, as it turns out, too complicated for me. One option would be to just tell you that I’ve spent $230.50 in laundry quarters so far this year and end the post now.

However.

Here’s the thing about doing laundry: it’s no fun. And it’s very, very time-consuming. And these points sometimes lead me to consider paying good money for services that I arguably cannot afford. So my question is, are those services possibly worth it?

Let’s consider the options.

Laundry Option #1: Do laundry at home.

  • PROS: This would theoretically be great.
  • CONS: It’s not actually an option. My landlord says there is “no laundry hookup” in our apartment, whatever that means, so unfortunately getting a washer/dryer unit is not possible for me right now. If you want to read a cool post debating whether or not it’s worth it to buy a washer/dryer, check out Two Cup House’s thoughts here.

Laundry Option #2: Walk to the laundromat, which is about ten minutes away. (I have no car and aim to keep it that way.) Facts about this laundromat:

  • The fire department has been summoned to this laundromat twice this year that I know of. The first time, I was the one who decided to make the call, and the reason was that a huge ceiling panel had just collapsed four inches from my head and water was pouring out of the ceiling and onto some electrical equipment. The second time was three weeks ago when a washing machine apparently started smoking and exploded. I missed that one because I ran home for twenty minutes while my clothes were drying, but I heard about it from my fellow laundromattians when I got back, let me tell you.
  • Last winter a homeless woman and her cat were living in the laundromat for about four months. I don’t blame her—if I were homeless in the winter I’d try to find an indoor place to sleep too. I point this fact out mainly to highlight the perpetual and mystifying absence of the owner of the laundromat.
  • More than half of the machines have been broken for at least two years. Although, miracle of miracles, when I went there earlier this week with the intention of counting the number of broken machines so I could make an accurate report in this post, I found that ALL the machines had been replaced by shiny new clean ones! You could’ve knocked me over with a dryer sheet.

    IMG_0878

    The laundry elves delivered these overnight!

  • Cost per load: it was $2.25, but it’s $3.75 with the new machines, which is fine because they’re extra-big. Dryer cost per 7 minutes: $0.25
  • Time per visit: ~2 hours total, counting walking.
  • PROS: The cost.
  • CONS: Everything except the cost.

Laundry Option #3: Drive the laundry to my dad’s house in New Hampshire, two hours away. Facts about this option:

  • I have actually done this. A couple of times. Laundry has never been the sole reason for the trip, but it’s been a nice bonus. My dad is very generous about letting me take over his laundry room.
  • Again, I do not have a car, so this involves renting a car.
  • Cost: Well, if you don’t include the car rental, $0. If you include the rental car, we’re talking upwards of $100.
  • Time per visit: 1-2 days. Except obviously I’m not doing laundry the whole time.
  • PROS: I get to see my dad, plus I get to use a clean, non-communal machine.
  • CONS: Definitely can’t rent a car and drive to New Hampshire every weekend.

Laundry Option #4: Washio. This is an amazing laundry service that is willing to come to my door, pick up my clothes, wash them, dry them, fold them, and bring them back. For a fee. Facts about Washio:

  • They are awesome. I’ve only used them once, and only because I had a discount code, but it was so, so amazing. This was at the end of last winter (aka, the worst winter Boston has ever experienced), and the sidewalks were a bit…altered, which made walking with a huge laundry bag slung over my shoulder virtually impossible.

    IMG_0130

    I think this speaks for itself.

  • Cost: $1.85/lb, which adds up quickly. The bill for that one time was $44.20 (minus a one-time $20 discount).
  • Time per visit: I don’t know, like 3 minutes to put my clothes into a bag and walk to the front door?
  • PROS: Everything except the cost.
  • CONS: The cost.

Do you see my dilemma here? A little splurge every week or two, and my evenings of trudging to the laundromat in the cold and the dark and the snow, wondering if I’ll have to call the fire department, would be a thing of the past. And not only that, but I’d have two extra hours each week to do whatever I pleased. Is it worth it?

The answer is: no. It’s not. If I give Washio my laundry every two weeks, then $44.20 in Washio fees each time would add up to $1149.20 per year, whereas the laundromat total is closer to $250 per year. As it turns out, basic math skills are key in not going broke.

I would SO LOVE to give you guys my Washio referral code so we could all get $15 off, but the code has my last name embedded in it, so I think I’ll wait on that.

IMG_0869

Thanks again, Jill!

I would, however, like to take a moment to get really excited about my new wheely cart. If you thought that these carts were only for old ladies, you were wrong because I am using one and loving it. I actually didn’t buy mine – a good friend gave me hers when she moved – but you can find them on Amazon. I used to get bruises on my shoulders from the straps on my Ikea laundry bag that everyone and their brother seems to also own (not an affiliate link, and I definitely don’t recommend that product), but the wheely cart has solved that problem!

If you enjoyed the Great Laundry Calculation and are interested in more Great Calculations posts, check out The Great Yoga Calculation and The Great Phone Bill Calculation, as well as Small Potatoes.

Have any laundry conundrums, laundry stories, or laundry tips you’d like to share? Want to give out YOUR Washio code?
Feel free to comment below!

 

 

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50 Comments

  • Reply Thias @It Pays Dividends November 20, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    I have luckily never had to do laundry at a laundry mat. I’ve had numerous shared washers and dryers at the different apartments (and dorms) that I’ve lived in but at least they were on site. After we bought out house, one of the best things in my opinion was not having to drag my clothes anywhere and have to wait for a machine.

    That wheely cart does seem like the greatest invention for this circumstance, however!

    • Reply Sarah November 20, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      Oh wow, that is indeed very fortunate! Though, having to drag your clothes downstairs to the communal washer is never ideal either. I’m glad you now have laundry in your house! I’ve had that a couple of times as an adult, and it just saves so much time.

  • Reply Meghan November 20, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    I just bought a wheely bag a couple weeks ago and could not be more excited about it! I’ve been using it for weekly groceries, and it is a total game changer.

    Also, I’ve been told that using a dryer is “so american.” I am currently in a situation where I am not paying to use the dryer, so I will happily keep using it. However, you could consider buying a clothes drying rack and skipping the cost of the dryer entirely.

    Have you considered portable washing machines? It could be interesting to see how those compare.

    • Reply Sarah November 20, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      Oh, I’m so excited for you that you also got a wheely cart! Aren’t they fantastic? People were suggesting wheely carts to me for years whenever I would complain about carrying laundry, but I think I just had a mental block about it. Until now.

      I have heard of these portable washing machines…I haven’t really priced them out though. I should probably check into that. And yeah, I too have heard that dryers are basically an American thing. In China I didn’t have a dryer, and also it was SUPER humid — I’d hang my wet clothes from every hook and doorknob in my apartment and it would take several days (!) for them to dry out completely.

  • Reply Des @ Half Banked November 20, 2015 at 9:03 AM

    What an awesome breakdown!

    When I was renting downtown, we had coin operated laundry in our building – which honestly, now that I think about it in the context of this post, is pretty fantastic – but I managed to avoid ever using them by playing on my mom’s love of bringing me home for dinner. She lives in the suburbs of the city I’m in, so it wasn’t a huge trek, and thinking back on it, she saved me a ton of money doing this! At the time I found it really stressful because I’d have to push through 3+ loads of laundry in a few hours, using “only” a single washer and dryer, but in retrospect, I was living the no-laundry-in-my-apartment dream.

    Don’t tell my boyfriend, but one of the biggest perks of living with him is his in-house laundry. One of the biggest perks of living *without* in-house laundry now is that someday, when you do have in-house laundry, it will not get old. Every time you just pop in a load of laundry, in your PJs, and then make a snack, you’ll remember these times and be the most grateful!

    • Reply Sarah November 20, 2015 at 9:37 AM

      You’re so right: when I have laundry in my house again someday, I will NEVER take it for granted! I will just be grinning ear to ear the entire time the machine is running. These days I’m usually able to multitask a little by catching up on phone calls while I’m at the laundromat, or trying to combine it with a supermarket run, but the PJs and snack option sounds even better. 🙂 And being able to do laundry on rainy days without having to actually go out into the rain — magical!

  • Reply Emily @ JohnJaneDoe November 20, 2015 at 9:48 AM

    I feel for you.
    I used to have an apartment that was perfect, except that it had no laundry hookups. I spent a lot of time in the laundromat, wasting a morning off in the name of clean clothes.

    Then I worked out a deal with some friends-tutoring their second grader in reading in exchange for laundry privileges at their place. That worked pretty well until he mastered what he needed to know.

    After that, I moved to a place where I could have a washer and dryer.

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 20, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      Hey Emily! Wow, that sounds like an amazing arrangement, to tutor in exchange for laundry privileges. I would totally do that. Although of course having laundry at home would be even better. 🙂
      I’m totally in that situation now that you were in before — my apartment is fantastic in every way except for the laundry problem. The lack of a washer/dryer is literally the only reason I would consider moving, and somehow I just can’t seem to justify that to myself at this point. But when I do have laundry again at some point in my life, I will never take it for granted!

  • Reply Maggie @ Northern Expenditure November 20, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    Ugh. Laundry is one reason I’m totally glad I’m done with my renting days. Having laundry at home is one thing I will not give up. Especially with three kids. Do you know how fast that laundry builds up? It’s fast. But I don’t have to make unscheduled trips to anywhere… I can just run downstairs, pop in a load, and go about my day. I’m sorry to brag… hang in there saving money on that scary laundromat. One day you’ll have one in your home and think “it was totally worth it getting here.”

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 20, 2015 at 10:51 PM

      Oh my gosh, Maggie, I cannot imagine how much laundry people with kids must have to do. I literally can’t even fathom it. I’m so glad you have laundry in your house. I do occasionally see people with kids (well, usually teenagers) at the laundromat, and they usually have a ton of stuff, and it looks like no fun at all.

      Thanks for the encouragement, I will definitely hang in there! 🙂 And yes, one day when I have laundry at home it is going to be SO GREAT.

      • Reply Maggie @ Northern Expenditure November 21, 2015 at 3:45 PM

        We lived in an apartment when we had Penny and had to do laundry at the laundromat. One baby wasn’t fun either (spit up! poop!) but THREE… never going back! 🙂

        • Reply Sarah Noelle November 21, 2015 at 5:11 PM

          Totally understandable! 🙂

  • Reply Alyssa @ Generation YRA November 20, 2015 at 12:33 PM

    Ah man, what a breakdown! Thankfully (& gratefully) all of the places I have rented so far have included a washer & dryer and/or hook-ups (which, my fiancé & I invested in the base model of washer & dryers 2 years ago when we moved into our rental unit – only to have our landlord sell his property…for now, those units are being stored so graciously at my fiancé’s parents’ house). Washio sounds amazing & I have never heard of that service before! I know that simple math points to doing your laundry at the local Laundromat, but maybe you could alternate? Say every 3 months you use Washio’s service, then on the off-months you visit the Laundromat? It will be a little more expensive, but it will also give you time, quality of life (& safety!) back to you. 🙂 Just a thought!

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 20, 2015 at 10:54 PM

      Thanks for the thought, Alyssa! It’s a good one. I think what I’ve resolved to do is to use Washio as a last resort this winter — like if we get the types of blizzards that we got last year, and I have a week where I’m just crazy busy or exhausted, and almost out of clean clothes, I am just going to give in and use it. But I will have to be careful to remember that it’s a splurge, and not something to get accustomed to! 🙂
      That sounds really smart to invest in a washer/dryer, and that’s great that you have a place to keep it until you need it again. Laundry is never simple, is it? 🙂

  • Reply Michelle November 20, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    We are currently living in an RV so that means we no longer have a washer or dryer. Since July, I have mostly been washing our clothes in laundry mats, which is a first for me. It’s a change for sure!

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 20, 2015 at 10:58 PM

      Hey Michelle, thanks for stopping by. 🙂 I can definitely see that trying to stuff a washer and dryer into an RV would be a bit of a tight fit (by which I mean an impossible fit)! I hope you are usually able to drive the RV right up to the laundromat so you don’t have to carry your stuff too far.
      Oh, and I will also say that the one silver lining for me about doing laundry is that there are usually some pretty interesting people-watching opportunities; maybe you can relate to that. 🙂

  • Reply Claudia @ Two Cup House November 20, 2015 at 2:05 PM

    Your mathematical equation is awesome. I will share with Garrett and have him run the numbers. We’re opting for the laundromat now, but we’ll see what happens when winter comes. Have you looked into the small, ventless units? There are some that are the size of a dishwasher and hook up to a faucet.

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 20, 2015 at 11:03 PM

      Haha, thank you! Yes, it’s a totally valid equation so I’m hoping it will be helpful for you. Let me know what Garrett comes up with. 😉
      I haven’t done as much research on these small units as I should. We don’t pay our water bill (the landlord pays it), so it could be a good way to save money…unless it used a ton of water and the landlord started wondering what was going on. In any case, I should look into it. Thanks! 🙂

  • Reply Tawcan November 20, 2015 at 3:19 PM

    Being a secret math nerd, I got excited seeing a formula like that haha!

    I feel for you, having to do laundry somewhere else than where you live is tough. During university I had to do laundry in a separate building about 5 minutes walk from my room. That was a little painful at times. Washing at the laundry mat seems like the best bet. What about wearing some clothes multiple times so you can stretch out your clothes and reduce amount of laundry needed?

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 20, 2015 at 11:17 PM

      Hey Tawcan! So, you can relate to my laundry woes. 😛 Yeah, I’ve definitely thought about trying to wear my clothes more times. I definitely feel like there are some types of clothing you can do that with, and some where it’s not really an option. But yes, I think I can probably optimize that more than I have been doing. Hmmmm…

      I hope you weren’t too disappointed that the formula was totally bogus! 🙂

  • Reply Taylor November 20, 2015 at 6:14 PM

    Hahah, I think I enjoyed this laundry post a little too much 😉 I say this every single time, but I LOVE your writing style. How do you make reading about laundry fun?! You have a gift, my friend. Also, I’ve been wondering this for AGES now: are you getting your PhD in English Lit?

    As for the great debate, I vote for a mixture of all 3. Use the laundromat most of the time, but use Washio (which should AWESOME) for the weeks that you are super busy or just super over it. I think even 5-6 times a year could make life feel a lot easier 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what you decide!

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 20, 2015 at 11:26 PM

      Hey Taylor 🙂 You’re so sweet, thanks for reading and I’m so glad you liked the post. To answer your question, my PhD program is not in English Lit — not even close, in fact. It’s actually in a healthcare-related field. I work in a lab, and the research involves a lot of data collection and statistics, that sort of thing. I will say though that my English Lit background definitely serves me well, as a huge part of doing this type of research is writing it up into manuscripts for publication.

      As for the laundry, I think you’re right — there’s probably a balance here. When the snow/sidewalks get really bad I actually sometimes take a taxi to the laundromat (forgot to mention that in the post), so it ends up being kind of expensive either way. I plan to use Washio as a last resort, on evenings when I just can’t face walking to the laundromat in the dark. I think 5-6 times a year is probably about right! 🙂

  • Reply Emma November 20, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    Oh this totally brings me back to my Boston days. I remember when the snow was so bad, I went weeks without going to a laundromat and just bought new clothes on Washington St during my lunch break (ha! way before my frugal lifestye…)

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 20, 2015 at 11:30 PM

      Oh my gosh, Emma, I have totally done this. At least, okay, I’ve done it with underwear, like gone and bought new underwear because I just couldn’t face doing laundry. But as you point out, it’s not the most frugal option. Last winter was seriously insane in Boston; if we have another one like that this year I am just going to stay home and wash my clothes in the sink.

  • Reply Vic @ Dad Is Cheap November 21, 2015 at 1:26 AM

    Before we bought a washer/dryer in our old apartment (thankfully they had hookups) my Friday nights with my wife would consist of hanging out at the laundromat all night. Not very romantic.

    That was years ago. I’m happy that I haven’t had to step foot in a laundromat in years. The downside of having a washer and dryer is that you’re ALWAYS washing clothes. I know, I know – first world problems. 🙂

    I’m still trying to convince my wife to cut costs by putting a clothesline outside. My wife is too impatient to wait half a day for that. 😉

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 21, 2015 at 8:02 AM

      Oh yeah, clotheslines are great! But definitely not fast, so I can see why your wife would be reluctant. I’m glad you have laundry in your house, as it probably wouldn’t be much fun to have to take your daughter to the laundromat and try to watch her while simultaneously moving things in and out of machines.

  • Reply C@thesingledollar November 21, 2015 at 3:09 AM

    (1) This post gives me mild laundry PTSD.

    (2) If you’ve got to walk to the laundromat, the granny carts are a Godsend. I never used mine much for grocery shopping because I didn’t usually get much at a time (and I often was buying groceries elsewhere and schlepping them on the subway, so a cart would have been more trouble than it was worth.) I used it mostly for laundry and it was so great.

    (3) What about an Uber to a nicer laundromat?

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 21, 2015 at 7:56 AM

      Yeah, I see people using the carts for groceries, but like you I never buy enough at a time that it would be worth it. Plus I’m often shopping on the way home from work, and I can’t see bringing the cart to work with me in the morning.

      To be honest I’m terrified of getting into an Uber mentality because it would get too expensive too quickly — it’s just too *easy*. Thus far I’ve only used Uber twice in my life, and only because my research fund was paying for it. But if I’m ever somehow rich yet still using a laundromat, I think Uber (or Uber Black!) will be the way to go.

  • Reply Laura Beth November 21, 2015 at 11:13 PM

    Dig the formula! Fortunately, I no longer have to leave my home to do laundry. I have in the past but I never gave it too much thought. Loved the post!

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 22, 2015 at 2:03 AM

      Thanks, Laura Beth! The formula was fun to make. 🙂
      I am waiting for the day when I live in a building that has a laundromat…I will never take it for granted again!

  • Reply Jill November 22, 2015 at 11:47 AM

    Let me just say how happy I am to see my little cart continuing to do great things! It was SUCH an important item for years while I lived in Boston. YAY!

    This is such a good post, too! I find there are some things that I can definitely wear more than once and I usually take them off and hang them up as soon as I get home. I also have the sense (though I haven’t done any data collection) that for me, simply having less clothes equals less laundry. I’m thinking of times when I’ve lived abroad with a limited number of clothes. I end up not throwing things in the laundry bag unless they truly need to be washed. Finally, I think it’s so smart that you added that H to your equation. Washing machines do take a beating on clothes, and I’ve even ended up with holes in clothes from them!

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 22, 2015 at 12:32 PM

      I seriously cannot express how much that laundry cart has changed my laundry experience. Laundry is still not fun, but it no longer feels like a minor physical threat. You were so sweet to give it to me. It’s amazing.

      I too feel like having fewer items of clothing means having less laundry to do, but I can’t put my finger on why, since I’m still wearing one outfit per day no matter how many clothes I own. Maybe it is a function of the conservation-out-of-necessity principle, as you describe. I do really need to get better at wearing clothes more than once. I definitely wear pants and jeans more than once, but shirts I have a hard time with because I’m just so paranoid that they smell bad or will look dirty to other people. Maybe I should stock up on Febreze. 🙂

  • Reply Our Next Life November 22, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    We have done laundry every possible way — laundromat, communal laundry in an apartment building, fluff-and-fold, and laundry at home in our own washer and dryer. To be honest, my favorite of all of those was fluff-and-fold, and I miss the days when we could justify that expense. Laundry is so time consuming, that having it now take close to zero time is worth a lot to us. I think I was spending about $50 a month, though that was when I was working out six to eight times a week, so was going through a lot more sweaty workout clothes than I am now! I bet now we could do like $50 every six weeks, if we did fluff-and-fold, though we’ve also culled our wardrobe to where we have to do laundry more than we used to. I know you are on a mission to keep your budget low, but it really is worth looking at what your time is worth in terms of hourly rate and what else you could be doing with the time you otherwise spend at the laundromat as well as trekking back and forth — it just *might* be worth paying someone else to do it. Don’t write that off just because it is more expensive on paper!

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 22, 2015 at 6:20 PM

      I totally hear you about the workout clothes! Sometimes I feel like 1/3 of my laundry consists of yoga leggings.

      Yes, your point about the time/money trade-off is well taken. I do find that if I plan ahead, I can multitask laundry with other activities, most notably grocery shopping (drop laundry off, go shopping, go back to laundromat and put clothes in dryer, bring groceries home and put in fridge, go back to laundromat to get clothes) and returning phone calls. So I think that makes it even harder for me to justify Washio. But I also think I’m just going to decide to be okay with using Washio occasionally when it’s a really busy week or the weather is just too horrible.

      I literally had to google “what is fluff and fold” to confirm that it was the same as “wash and fold.” Seems like it is. 🙂

  • Reply Isabella November 23, 2015 at 12:13 PM

    I have spent many an hour in laundromats, so I feel for you! For five years, we lived in an apt with our four children that had a separate building that housed the washers and dryers. I piled everything on a red wagon and slugged there a couple times each week with small children. I would run home in between until the time when all our good clothes were stolen! The biggest negative of doing laundry this way was the time it took. You cannot just throw it in and do other household chores. ( I could not after the theft of our clothes.)

    When we moved into our subsequent homes, I absolutely loved my new washer and dryer. Seriously, it changed my life. (And I was always a cloth diaper mom too.)

    If I were in a small apt. now that did not have washer/dryer hook-ups, I would definitely invest in a Haier 1 cubic foot portable washer. Take a look at these, especially as a single person. It receives very positive reviews. They are on wheels and hook up to your kitchen sink. They seem to sell them everywhere. (Walmart, Target, Lowes) They run around $240, and that would pay for itself in a year and would change your life. You can always stay on top of your laundry, doing small loads. Just use drying racks from Ikea or other places. Hubby and I are in a small townhouse now in the city (kids are grown) and do not own a dryer. We have a regular size washing machine, and I hang things on racks. It’s what most of the world does! (Plus a little ironing here and there!)

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 23, 2015 at 3:42 PM

      Oh my gosh, Isabella, I can’t believe your clothes were actually stolen! I used to be a bit concerned about that, but then it never happened, and I got bolder, and now I just leave my clothes there pretty much every week. But wow, this is a good reminder that that is actually a risk.

      Thanks for the recommendation of the Haier washer. I’ve heard of units like this but didn’t have a specific brand name suggestion, so that is helpful. I can’t believe that it would be under $300! I don’t care too much about the dryer, so drying racks would be fine for me. I will look into it — thanks! 🙂

  • Reply Sarah November 24, 2015 at 1:31 PM

    I also suffered this issue. Apartment with no washer/dryer. There are three laundromats available. 1 – 10 minutes away via highway 2 – a block and half away brand new, but pricey and always packed or 3 across city traffic on the other side of town and not nice machines. I would choose the one in the other town as there was no people.

    I also did the calculations for laundry, and realized I was spending over $20 a month on my semi- monthly laundry runs to the other town. Not to mention 2.5- 3 hours each time more if you count putting the clothes away.

    I ended up getting a mini portable washing machine. It doesn’t hold a ton of clothes depending on what you are washing. But I can do one load a day, and it works. The downside is I get a work out wringing out the clothes. And I have to let them air dry. But it makes me feel better about the environment and helps add some humidity to my apartment.

    The interesting side of getting my portable machine was seeing how the water was dirty, and what it took to get semi clear water after a rise. Some loads require 4 rinses. This made me really wonder about how clean my clothes were getting using the laundromat machines (or any for that matter.)

    Being able to do laundry when I want to and have the ability to, is wonderful. I wish i had done this sooner. I should be breaking even (price-wise) at the end of December which is awesome.

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 24, 2015 at 4:21 PM

      Hey Sarah 🙂 Isn’t it amazing how much these costs can add up? It really is worth doing the calculations.

      I try not to think about the possible hygiene-related compromises I might be making by using a communal washer! :/ I’m sure it’s a big issue though.

      That’s really interesting about your portable machine — I should really consider getting one of those. How exciting that your break-even point is coming up soon. (And I’m sure you’ve more than broken even already in terms of the amount of time you’ve saved!) 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Reply lutecewoman November 25, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    Here in France you can find people owning a washing machine near your house. You pay a small amount of money, you meet a nice folk… Maybe you can find that in Boston ? Or create it on Craigslist ? On a buying nothing group ?
    http://www.lamachineduvoisin.fr/fr/

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 25, 2015 at 8:29 PM

      That’s so interesting — what a smart idea! The link is very cool. (My French is not very good, but it was fun to try to read.) 🙂 I have never heard of this in Boston, but I will check it out. Thank you so much for the recommendation.

  • Reply Emily N. November 28, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Hello, fellow laundromat user! Just wanted chime in with a couple factors that I don’t see in your pro/con analyses.

    Pro for the laundromat–you can wash and dry all of your loads of laundry in the same amount of time as it would take to do a single load at your dad’s house.

    Pro for the laundromat–if you sit and wait for your clothes like I do, you have approximately two hours of distraction-free time to do with as you please. This ends up being my biggest chunk of time for pleasure reading.

    Con for the laundry service–no control over which items don’t go in the dryer. I keep about half of my clothes out of the dryer and just hang them up when I get home. I can ignore the “dry-clean only” instructions on a lot of my clothes by not putting them in the dryer. For some things (especially dress shirts and exercise gear) there’s no benefit to putting them in the dryer. Saves me money and wear on the clothes.

    • Reply Sarah Noelle November 28, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      Hey Emily 🙂 These are such great points. I definitely have also found that laundromat time can be good reading time, as well as good phone call time or grocery shopping time. I still feel like it would be more efficient to do it at home, but I agree that if you bring something worthwhile to do, it can be a nice chance to do it with fewer distractions (speaking of which, I should probably leave my phone at home when I do laundry). As for the multiple loads thing, that’s true too, although I admit that sometimes I try to stuff everything into one load anyway. 🙂

      Ooh, and I love your dryer point. I’m remembering now that the one time that I used Washio, I specifically only gave them items that could be dried fully in a dryer, because I also tend to go light on machine drying when I’m doing my own laundry.

      Anyway, thanks for your comment! Laundry truly is a complicated situation. I feel like I should write a follow-up post at some point more deeply exploring these issues. 😉

  • Reply diyjahn February 23, 2016 at 5:57 PM

    Loving this post! I wanted to let you know though, that even though your apartment might not have a laundry hookup, there are options. My wife and I bought a mini washer for our home that just hooks up to our bathroom sink and a regular power outlet. You can also get a mini dryer, but we hang-dry our clothes to save money. The mini loads actually save us TONS and only take 20 minutes a pop – thus saving you time. So, that great laundry calculation may not be o bad. I mean, they are made for apartments so it might be perfect. I wrote a whole post about how we save money on utilities by washing our clothes that I think you would really benefit from. Here: http://diyjahn.com/how-to-save-money-on-utilities-nsc-series/

    • Reply Sarah Noelle February 23, 2016 at 8:56 PM

      Thanks for sending the link! That does indeed look like a cool appliance. I wish my bathroom were big enough to fit it. I’m also thinking it could get complicated (both logistically and financially) with the housemates, because they would definitely want to use it too. I’ve actually been doing pretty well this winter with the wheely cart — I can’t believe what a difference it has made!

      • Reply diyjahn February 24, 2016 at 1:49 PM

        I’m so glad that that has helped! 🙂 I hope someday you’ll get to make it easier. 🙂

  • Reply Kairi Gainsborough March 7, 2016 at 10:58 PM

    Thanks for comparing all my options for getting my clothes cleaned when I don’t have a washer and dryer. It is good to know that visiting a laundromat is the least expensive, because I am trying to save money right now. A laundry service sounds great every now and then, when I have the chance to splurge. However, I’ll try looking for a laundromat near me first.

    • Reply Sarah Noelle March 8, 2016 at 7:28 PM

      Yes, I think the laundromat is definitely the least expensive (unless you live near a friend or family member who will let you use their washer/dryer for free! I definitely recommend getting a wheely cart too — that has made a huge difference for me.

  • Reply Marie-Josée September 12, 2016 at 12:14 PM

    Hi Sarah, I used to live in an apartment without a washer and dryer hook-up. We purchased a portable washer that we could hook up to the kitchen faucet. The laundry water drained in the sink. A quick google search confirms that this appliance is still available. Some of them actually integrate a dryer. I think they are worth looking into!

  • Reply Marie-Josée September 12, 2016 at 12:15 PM

    Sorry, just saw someone had already suggested a portable washer!

    • Reply S.N. September 12, 2016 at 9:52 PM

      Ah, no worries! 🙂 It’s a smart suggestion; I just don’t know if it would work well in my current apartment.

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