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:
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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!