The One Item You Already Own That’ll Make Laundromat Trips Easier

published Feb 21, 2020
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Amid all the excitement (and stress) of finding a new apartment, there’s one detail that’s almost too easy to overlook: Asking if your building has an on-premises washer and dryer. 

Now, two weeks later, you realize there isn’t, in fact, a washer or dryer downstairs. You’ve likely run out of socks to wear, which means it’s time to make a trip down to your local laundromat. While lugging all of your clothes to the laundromat isn’t the most convenient thing in the world, there are ways to make it easier. Here’s what experienced renters had to say about making sure your laundromat trips are as efficient and painless as possible. 

Put something you already own to good use

Your biggest concern may be how to easily transport your clothes to and from the wash-and-dry place in one piece. The most helpful tool is likely something you already own. Do what Boston-area resident Tierica Pant does: Roll your clothes down the street in a carry-on-suitcase. “This was a game-changer,” she says. “After drying my clothes, I can just neatly fold them into my suitcase and bring it back to my apartment.”

Or spring for a portable hamper

Experienced renters like Kitty Rosette, a vegan lifestyle blogger from Boston, say their biggest tip is to use a laundry hamper with wheels

The goal is to get your clean clothes back home neatly—not wrinkled and jumbled together in a bag that you dragged down the street. 

Set a timer to multi-task 

Washing clothes at the laundromat is a significant time commitment considering you can’t pop in your load and forget about it until the next day. 

Other patrons might manhandle your precious threads as they try to use the machines. Or worse: Your clothes may be stolen if left unattended for too long. 

Boston resident Jean Merlain previously lived in an apartment without an in-unit laundry and it usually took him three hours at a time to wash his clothes at his local laundromat. 

To make the most of those three hours, Merlain would set a timer on his phone as soon as his cycle started, went back to his apartment to do other things, and made sure to get back right as the washer or dryer finished. 

Rosette uses the same timer trick during her laundry trips. “Efficiency is important when it comes to mundane tasks so I head [back to my apartment] to clean, cook, read or relax,” she says. “I make sure to arrive three minutes before my washer or dryer cycle ends.”

Never run out of quarters 

Although many laundromats these days use smart cards or accept credit or debit card payments, some are still coin-operated. And with the popularity of payment platforms like Apple Pay and Venmo, having cash (or coins) on hand is almost unheard of.

Merlain created a system to make sure he would always have coins handy for laundry day. “Anytime I would have spare change, I would always throw the coins in this cup in my apartment,” he says. “It was one way for me to save coins for laundry and keep them all in one place.”

Anytime you’ve got change in your pocket or purse, it’s a good idea to dump it for later.

Inspect the machine before washing 

Accidents happen all the time. With so many people using the washer or dryer machines at laundromats, it’s important to take a look inside them before you load your clothes. 

“If the inside of the washer or dryer looks or smells off, then move on to the next machine,” Rosette says. She recalls a time when she learned this lesson the hard way. “One tragic Sunday, my neighbor’s pen exploded in the wash and it transferred to my clothes because I wasn’t careful.”