Our Washing Machine died in June. We took that as a sign that we should learn how to use Laundromats in preparation of our world travels.
While we are planning on House-sitting at most of the locations we travel to, not all homes are equipped with laundry devices. For example, in the UK we see that most Washing Machines are Washer/Dryer Combos and most are located in Kitchens. Totally not typical for the a USA layout or style. We needed to practice and learn a bit about laundromats before foreign currency as well as language barriers made us struggle.
When Shawn and I visited Puerto Rico this past Spring, we needed to do some washing and Shawn found a laundromat within walking distance of our B&B. He said he kind of enjoyed the solitude and relaxation he had sitting there and then methodically folding. I explained that he was more that welcome to continue this when he got home and take over laundry. He became mute at that point.
I’d never been to a laundromat before so Shawn and I decided to take all our backed up loads to a local laundromat. I will admit now that I’m a laundromat snob. I want a clean machine and I want it to not smell like urine in the common areas. YUCK. I did not like the first one we went to even though the Yelp Review was really good. So, we found another one that we’ve been using since July – Bubbles Laundry in Everett, WA. It’s clean. It’s staffed with at least one employee at all times. They make complimentary coffee for all to use and their machines are clean. The prices are fair for washing and drying as well. The only downside is that one of the staff members only seems to be happy when she’s bitching about stupid customers – to other customers. It makes her laugh. Oh, and lots of the washing machines seem to be out of service a lot of the time. They need to get those fixed. 6 months later and I’ve still never been able to use 2 different rows of machines.
Anyway, We have taken the kids with us as well and made them wash their own laundry and fold it. Normally, they always washed their own clothes at home and folded it themselves but doing so at the laundromat was sort of exciting for Sam. He LOVED it. I don’t know why but he was actually kind of annoying about how excited he was to use the machines, pour the liquids, etc. He kept harassing me about “is it dry yet?” because he was ready to start folding. He was also amazed at how fast it was to wash and dry all of our stuff at once. Alex wasn’t quite as amused or interested. She’s not as much of a domestic diva nor as into her clothes as her brother is.
Shawn and I got into a pattern or routine of going once a month with our car loaded to the top with our family laundry. The kids only went once as it was just easier for us to go alone and their schedules are crazy stupid.
Once a month?
Yup! Once a month. We decided that we needed to all see how long we could go. We needed to quit being so careless like wiping our hands on our clothes, using an apron to cook, re-wearing jeans or tops that were still clean and perhaps using a towel more than once after showering (SAM!).
When we hit the road and travel we are only bringing one Carry On Suitcase and 1 backpack each. Period. We won’t have an entire closet of clothes to rip through so we needed to practice for the future.
What we learned
- We all learned that we have been careless with with the use of our towels and clothing overuse.
- Underwear is not something you take lightly, get lots of it
- We don’t actually need as many clothes as we think we do
- Towels need to be hung up and re-used. After all, we are clean when we get out of the shower right?
- Laundromats are easy to use
- People watching and listening is AWESOME at a laundromat
- Eat something before you go as I always forgot and then low sugar levels made me weak and cranky during folding – Sorry Shawn.
- We prefer having a Washer at home for convenience even it the entire process takes longer
- Socks can be worn again but not if you are Sam
- We don’t smell, nor do our clothes, if we fold and re-wear them at least one more time before considering them ‘dirty’
- It costs a family of 4 about $80 to wash all their laundry (including bedding) once a month at the Laundromat
- We can figure out how to wash our clothes in any country that has laundromats because of our 6 month trial.
Yesterday we finally got a new Washer. HEAVEN! We are all happy to have it and the kids were surprisingly excited and grateful. Last night Alex actually had the nerve to say that it was kind of annoying now listening to the washing machine’s repetitive hum. I think I gave her dagger eyes.