Advice

Little Luxuries: Laundry Service

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Y’all know how I love writing a recurring series. So let’s start another, although I can’t promise it’ll be as regular as my previous one. We’ll call it “Little Luxuries.”

Little luxuries help you make it to the end of each day. Self-deprivation, even when you have no money to spend on food or fun, is terrible for your mental and physical health. Ultimately, that’s what this site’s all about: doing cool shit for pennies on the dollar. But here, we’ll explore worth-it ways to feel like you’re livin’ large.

dirty-laundry

“Laundry service.” Merely uttering those words contorts one’s face into a sneer of disdain for the richies, who use phrases like “the help” and “our yacht.” Surely a laundry service is only something the wealthy can afford, right? The rest of us will just dutifully insert $10 of quarters into barely functional washers and heatless dryers that shred our precious bras and shrink our one nice sweater, forever and ever. It doesn’t have to be this way. It turns out most people actually save money — not to mention time, heartache, and frustration at trying to get a roll of quarters somewhere when all the banks are closed on laundry day, aka Sunday — after switching to a laundry service!

A few weeks ago, after much research and several years of the landlord raising the prices on the two (TWO!!! for almost 40 residents!) laundry machines in the basement of my apartment building, I took the plunge. I packed up all my laundry into a white mesh bag and lugged it a few blocks to a little place called Polk Valley Launderette for its wash-and-fold service. Best decision of my life, and totally worth the extra $2 or so I spend each week.

If you, too, decide to outsource your laundry, here are a few tips to remember:

Find a spot: Most dry cleaners and even some DIY laundromats offer wash-and-fold service. Make sure it’s convenient to your lifestyle. For example, if you only have one day a week with the time to even get over to the establishment, choose one that offers same-day service. Some can even pick up your soiled skivvies and deliver pristine panties back to you!

Check the price: Look for the cheapest per-pound price. My favorite place charges 80 cents a pound, which is a freakin’ steal compared to, say, Laundry Locker, which charges more per pound and an enormous extra fee for larger items, like comforters. Also, don’t forget to put a price on your time. If $13 for two average-sized loads of laundry seems expensive, think about the hours you won’t be spending sitting in the basement of your apartment building or at the laundromat, hypnotized by the spin cycle.

Provide instructions: If you hate the way your laundry service folds your pants, you don’t have to give up these newfound free hours and go back to slaving away at your own laundry. Just ask nicely next time if the workers can remember to fold them a different way. It doesn’t hurt to ask. If you hate the detergent they use, provide your own. If you don’t like the plastic bags they use, give them your own reusable one.

Be cautious: Need to wash an article of clothing you absolutely cannot bear to lose? Have special washing instructions for a couple of items? Do these yourself. Sometimes, shit happens, and your favorite shirt gets lost or irreparably wrinkled. It’s not the end of the world, but if you absolutely can’t replace those sweatpants with “bitch” written on the seat, save those in a load to wash yourself later.

Image courtesy of SureBaby

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Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart was summoned into being on a distant ice cream planet
through an unholy union of Two-Buck Chuck and unicorns. They sent her to Indianapolis and then the University of Missouri's School of Journalism
to spread peace and big hair. Perpetually in mourning for the comma, she
has worked for a variety of print media, including Indianapolis
Monthly
, Global Journalist, and Vox. Since moving
to San Francisco for the booming dumpster-diving scene, she has been an
online operative for such fine folks as Horoscope.com , Neo-Factory, and
Academy of Art University. After a day of cat-feeding, hat-making,
dog-walking, vegan baking, and daydreaming about marrying rich, all she
wants is a margarita as big as her face.

2 Comments

  1. June 20, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Whole-heartedly agree.  I bring my stuff to Jack’s (15th/Noe) about once a week, and it’s been great.  Especially since all the Duboce Triangle laundromats are crack dens.  They even gave me a bottle of wine around Christmastime (they must’ve noticed all my alcohol-themed shirts).

    Seriously. You haven’t LIVED until you’ve freed yourself from the shackles of the laundromat. Like Jerry Seinfeld said, “I drop it off, I pick it up… it’s a delight!”

  2. June 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Whole-heartedly agree.  I bring my stuff to Jack’s (15th/Noe) about once a week, and it’s been great.  Especially since all the Duboce Triangle laundromats are crack dens.  They even gave me a bottle of wine around Christmastime (they must’ve noticed all my alcohol-themed shirts).

    Seriously. You haven’t LIVED until you’ve freed yourself from the shackles of the laundromat. Like Jerry Seinfeld said, “I drop it off, I pick it up… it’s a delight!”