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Is the laundromat a big deal?
February 16, 2012 7:14 AM   Subscribe

How big of a deal is not having a laundry room in my apartment unit?

Short and sweet: I'm thinking of renting a studio apartment that does not have a laundry room.

There's a very positively Yelped laundromat a couple of blocks away. So I'm inclined to think of the no-laundry situation as no big deal.

However, my friend tells me that I'm making a huge mistake and underestimating what a pain in the ass it will be to go to the laundromat.

Can you tell me about your experience living in an apartment with no laundry? Would you take a place with no laundry? (Bonus questions: How was your laundromat experience? Any tips to make my trips efficient and pleasant?)
posted by pluot to Home & Garden (58 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
In San Francisco, my laundromat experience was fine. In fact, it was kind of nice getting all the laundry done at once, since you can do multiple loads at the same time in a laundromat. I'd bring a book and it was no big deal.

However... here in Boston, I would not like to rely on a laundromat in the middle of winter when I'm slipping on ice.

Also, if you don't have a car, invest in a wheeled cart for your laundry.
posted by chickenmagazine at 7:19 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I recently gave up a beautiful place because it didn't have laundry or cell phone service. I have a child living with me full-time and so, for me, it was a deal-breaker. However, I think it's not a big deal if the laundromat near you has decent hours...
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:20 AM on February 16, 2012


If you're in a big city, you may be able to pay for wash-and-fold service- so, just drop your clothes off and then pick them up later. To me, that is totally worth the cost.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:20 AM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I moved around a lot as a kid (and adult) and have only lived in two places that had a laundry room. However, I never lived more than 2-3 blocks from the laundromat, so carting it there and back wasn't too big a deal. I don't think a laundry ever actually factored into my decision to get a place or not.

I suggest you get a granny cart. They look silly, but the first time you wake up in pain because you carried a 30-lb bag on your back in an incorrect manner, you'll realize why.

Also, at some point I got lazy and just started dropping it off there for them to wash instead of doing it myself. It's an expensive habit, so don't even start if you can't afford it.
posted by griphus at 7:20 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Also, all the laundromats I live near are open way late, so make sure you know the hours of the place you live near.)
posted by griphus at 7:20 AM on February 16, 2012


I had a place in New Orleans back in my 20s that had no laundry. I made out ok, but mainly because a) I had a lot more free time back then, and b) I did my laundry at a bar.

I wouldn't do it these days, but that's just me. I tend do laundry while I'm doing other things, or I'll throw a load in the wash before work and dry it that evening. If you have to go out for laundry, you have to block off a few hours to just sit there and do laundry and maybe read a book or something.
posted by tryniti at 7:21 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is going to be a huge PITA in the long run, for sure. It's fine to have a predictable schedule of laundry-doing at a laundromat, but it's the unpredictable events that require a laundry machine at home, and these will definitely come up
posted by MangyCarface at 7:21 AM on February 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm in NY, I push a granny cart to the laundromat every week and while it isn't my favorite thing to do, it is, by this time, routine and no big thing. I wouldn't use having laundry facilities as a criteria for chosing an apartment.
posted by Pineapplicious at 7:21 AM on February 16, 2012


I used to lug my laundry two blocks to the laundromat. It was kind of a pain in the ass since I had to invest the time to be there rather than be able to toss a load in at home and do other things. Bring your book/tablet/device and try to find times when your local laundromat isn't so crowded. I personally am grateful to have my own bling appliances now and wouldn't be fond of going back.

But really, you'll need to decide if you can deal with it yourself. Maybe bring your next load to a laundromat and see if you don't mind sitting there.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:22 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The last I had to schlep my crap to a laundry facility was in college, and I'll never do that again. It's a dealbreaker for me in my apartment hunts since, and I've passed up many a cheap place to hang in there for a building with a laundry room. You do appreciate it when you can run down there in your pajamas and get/switch your stuff while you're playing Skyrim. Especially in the winter.
posted by Sayuri. at 7:23 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


To me this would be a dealbreaker, as the time and effort required in hauling my clothes to the laundromat and waiting there for them (and for me, the extra step of folding them in a basket, taking them home, taking them OUT of the basket and putting them away) is too much of a time suck. It's going to take AT LEAST two hours of your life every week.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 7:24 AM on February 16, 2012


I've lived in 5-6 different apartment buildings in New York within the past 20 years, and I think only ONE had an in-building laundry room.

It's a bit more of a pain, but using a laundromat -- especially one only a couple blocks away -- really isn't THAT bad. In fact -- the problem I"ve found with in-building laundry rooms is that if there are only a couple washers and dryers, you've got eveyrone in the building fighting over those two -- but at the laundromat they've got plenty. Also -- a lot of laundromats sometime have drop-off- service (i.e., you drop off your laundry, and they do it for you and you pick it back up). Some places will even deliver it to you, and some will even pick it up from you AND deliver it back to you.

If you want to do your own laundry yourself, some tips:

1. Invest in small tupperware containers to bring one portion of detergent to the laundromat rather than lugging the whole box or bottle.

2. It may take a couple trips, but figure out what the capacity is for each unit (washer, dryer) and figure out how to get the most in at one time. This can save you money; also, if you're willing to wash everything in cold, this will eliminate the sorting hassle for you, and you can also cram everything into one big washer and save you money.

3. This may be a matter of personal preference, but -- please, I beg you, as a person who shares a laundromat with you, please take up as FEW dryers as possible. I cannot begin to tell you how annoying it is when one person is taking up five dryers because "okay, the towels go in this one, the comforter goes in this second one, jeans in this one, t-shirts in this one -- " no. Stop. Don't do that. Do one for regular and one for permanent press, and that's it. You're leaving me standing there with a full load of wet laundry seething at you becuase you've taken up a whole dryer just for two socks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:24 AM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


How big is your wardrobe? If you have plenty of clothes and do laundry only, say, twice a month, it might not be that big of a deal. That said, I live in a country where doing laundry is very much a domestic chore and laundromats don't really exist. The idea of having to drag my laundry outside, carry them for a few blocks, wait for the cycles to complete and then return is very off-putting. Having to do it weekly or more often would really get on my nerves and I like to keep my wardrobe pretty small.
posted by Orchestra at 7:25 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think this will totally depend on what city you are in. If you are in a city where it is common to not have laundry in building (like NYC), it's not a big deal; there are decent laundromats everywhere and some will even do your laundry for you. If you're in a city where it's less common, you might find laundromats gross and a bigger PITA.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:25 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is the difference in rent between this place and a similar place with laundry enough to pay the laundromat to do your laundry? If so, then I think you've found a winner, because man, I HATE folding laundry!
posted by Grither at 7:25 AM on February 16, 2012


It's going to take AT LEAST two hours of your life every week.

What? If the laundromat is "a couple of blocks away", you don't have to wait there while the machines are running. When this was my situation I'd guess it took about 30 minutes total.
posted by oliverburkeman at 7:27 AM on February 16, 2012


The answer to your question depends on how good you are at dealing with minor inconveniences and boring places. If you are good at either of those things, it probably won't be a problem.

I live two blocks away from the nearest laundromat and find it easiest to do one load at a time (about once a week for me; your mileage may vary). It's not such a big deal to go there - just bring a book, or if the weather's nice walk around the neighborhood while it's washing and drying. My landlady finally fixed the washer in my building, so it's not necessary for me to go anymore, but I still do every now and again.
posted by yomimono at 7:27 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. Invest in small tupperware containers to bring one portion of detergent to the laundromat rather than lugging the whole box or bottle.

You can also buy one small thing of detergent (so that it has a handle), buy a really big one, and just fill up the little one from the big one.
posted by griphus at 7:28 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and, yeah, I never waited at the laundromat for my stuff to finish. I just came back in an hour to throw the stuff in the dryer, and then again an hour later to take it home. Never had anything stolen or any other problems.
posted by griphus at 7:29 AM on February 16, 2012


I lived in a place with no laundry for two years and have used 'service wash' laundries lots over the years all over the US and the UK. I swear by them as a time saver and convenience (although you have to be smart abut expensive clothes, which I don't have any of). I found a laundry that was on my way to work that looked ok and drop it off on the way in, pick it up on the way home.

It really isn't that much money (especially as you save the electric on washers and dryers) and two hours of my life was worth the $10 extra over the cost of the coins for the laundry anyway. It's better to do this once every two weeks - bulk is cheaper in this regard and so $26-35 a month (which was what it was costing me) was really not that big a deal.

If you have fancy clothes or stuff that needs ironing (shirt and tie stuff, that sort of thing) then maybe this will just mean it gets more expensive. For my t-shirts, jeans, sweaters and all that stuff, I didn't even need an iron, the stuff was folded so nicely.
posted by Brockles at 7:31 AM on February 16, 2012


I think there are advantages and disadvantages to a laundromat. I think being able to take all your laundry over, wash it all at one time, fold it up and take it home is actually pretty awesome. Not that doing laundry throughout the day is a huge demanding task, but getting it all done at the same time is pretty great. Actually taking a significant volume of clothing to and from the laundromat, however, can be a giant pain in the ass. I recommend those little wheelie carts that old ladies use for groceries, but lined with something or your laundry gets dirty on the way home.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:31 AM on February 16, 2012


Yeah, I often don't wait in the laundromat for stuff to finish unless there's something I need to keep an eye on. I'm either running an errand that's in the same area (the hardware store, the supermarket, and my laundromat are all within a block of each other), or I'm at a coffee shop across the street.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:32 AM on February 16, 2012


When I did this, it didn't seem like the biggest deal in the world. It was just a thing that had to be done. So I lugged all of my laundry, once a week, down to the basement of the building (see, that was even easier! same building!), and I did it there.

But then I got a place with laundry in the unit. And it was like the clouds parted and rays of sun warmed my cold, impassive face. I had seen the light. Now laundry in-unit is really a must. I just save a lot of time and energy by not having to go elsewhere and being able to do a quick load and be done with it.

If it isn't an option, you'll be fine. But gosh, it sure is nice.
posted by jph at 7:33 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh -- and the notion of leaving the building while your wash is running has reminded me of another hack; if you are going to do this, pick powdered detergent rather than liquid. That way you can load up each of the different inputs on the machine right when you load the washer, and then just walk away. If you have liquid detergent and liquid softener, you have to sort of hang around until the machine hits each part of the cycle so you're there to add it when it's ready, and that's kind of annoying.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:34 AM on February 16, 2012


I live in a studio apartment with no laundry. My last apartment was bigger, but also had no laundry. In both cases I've lived within a two-minute drive of a laundromat.* If you have to walk there and back with all your laundry, it will be a giant pain in the ass, but if you're driving? It's no big deal. Sure, it's less convenient than tossing in a load at home, but it is not the end of the world.

A thing I have learned about laundromats is that it is actually easier for me to go there more frequently with a small load, than it is to go infrequently but with ALL MY CLOTHES. YMMV, but I'd rather go every Saturday and take up two small washers, instead of dragging five giant bags of laundry when I'm totally out of clothes, and have to take up that many machines.

I usually bring a book or my laptop. If you have a choice of laundromats, find one with good hours and WiFi! The wait is not so bad. Sometimes I run other errands while the laundry is going - the pharmacy is next to my laundromat, and there's a grocery store across the street. Is that an option for your laundromat?

*My roommate in the last place didn't have a car, so periodically he tossed all his laundry in a duffel bag and carried it to the laundromat. That seems way more annoying, but apparently it's possible!
posted by pemberkins at 7:36 AM on February 16, 2012


Just as another data point, I live within a block and a half of a laundromat and never stay while the load is running. I just put it in, go home, then come back when it's done. I rarely use fabric softener and when I do it's a Bounce sheet in the dryer, not anything in the washer. (And don't you dare be one of those people who shows up 20 minutes after their load is done. It will get dumped, into a cart if you're lucky.)

I also use this backpack-style laundry bag to schlep my laundry to the laundromat, which makes it easier to carry everything (though on a big laundry day I feel a bit like an astronaut on the moon. ;)
posted by Wretch729 at 7:38 AM on February 16, 2012


When my wife and I lived for a couple years with no laundry in the building we found a wash and fold service that was only about 20% more than the cost of just running your own laundry in the machines. I felt kind of bad moving into a house where we had to do all that ourselves, and we've never been as good about keeping stuff sorted and folded as they were. I hated do the regular laundromat thing while that was the only option, so I'd really consider what you are up for.
posted by meinvt at 7:42 AM on February 16, 2012


I actually preferred the laundromat because I could get everything done in a 2-3 hour block on Saturday morning where I could sit and read and be hungover rather than using a machine or two at a time all day long.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:52 AM on February 16, 2012


This is how my apartment is now. It works OK. I mean, it would be way better to have laundry in my unit, or even in my building. But there's a laundromat a couple blocks down the street, so, y'know. The laundromat even has drop-off service, so when I'm feeling flush I'll just drop off my laundry, let them do it for me, and pick up clean folded clothes the next day.

All of that said, I haven't had a workable in-building laundry in years and years, and never had my own private washer and dryer in my home in my adult life. If everyone I knew had a washer and dryer right there off the kitchen, but I had to schlep to a laundromat, it would feel a lot more onerous.

I am intrigued by this backpack-style laundry bag Wretch729 mentions.
posted by Sara C. at 7:55 AM on February 16, 2012


When I lived in NYC I "granny carted" my laundry to/from. I was at the top of a 4 story walk up and that was hard (and I was much younger than I am now). I think today, I would need a place with an elevator or a lower floor simply due to back/physical strength reasons.

I usually did my own laundry and actually loved it because it made me read or call loved ones while I waited (I'm one of those "afraid-my-favorite-striped-socks-will-be-stolen" kind of folks). Sometimes, however, I treated myself to the "wash and fold" and it worked out well. And my Russian grandma would have been proud because my underwear was ironed.

Tips to make it pleasant? Use a cart to move things. Bring hangers to hang things up on the carts they have there if you have "no dry" items. Bring books, write in a journal, listen to music, take advantage of the "you" time.
posted by anya32 at 7:57 AM on February 16, 2012


I'm in NYC, and having to go out to do laundry is sort of a pain, but during my apartment search I didn't really come across anywhere that had a washer/dryer in the unit, much less in the building. So I think it depends on whether you could get another comparable apartment with a laundry room. I definitely don't find the laundromat a dealbreaker, apartmentwise.

As for laundromat tips, I tend to go on the late side in the middle of the week since it is less crowded. I bring a book. I know that I could get my clothes washed, dried, and folded for me (my roommate does this) bit I find that the annoyance is having to go to the laundromat in the first place, and I don't mind waiting for the clothes once I'm already there.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:03 AM on February 16, 2012


I did it and it was horrible. But I'm in Canada, and I didn't have a cart, and the laundromat was at the bottom of a hill. So during winter I had to walk uphill with all my laundry in a giant backpack. I was also lazy and had no time since I was a student, so laundry day would get postponed weeks at a time. But that's just me.
posted by costanza at 8:04 AM on February 16, 2012


How big is your wardrobe? If you have plenty of clothes and do laundry only, say, twice a month, it might not be that big of a deal.

This is what I would check. Some people just have huge laundry issues generally also. If you are not one of those people, this will probably be okay. I went from being someone who had laundry in the house I lived in, to using a laundromat a few blocks away. Here are the things that made it okay for me

- I own a lot of clothes and don't have to have "clothes for work" in any real way, so there was rarely any sort of laundry emergency I had to deal with. I do laundry about once a month, it's fine.
- winter is a pain in the ass time to be wrestling with big bags of clothes. If you do laundry more frequently this is less of an issue
- I do not have issues folding clothes pretty approximately, if you are a folding person this all takes longer and often in a strange place
- laundromat culture - as a single woman doing laundry people like to talk to me. If you are okay with this, that's great. If not, think through how to avoid this. Bring a book or laptop.
- timing - my laundromat is open 24 hours and I am literally the only person in it late at night. However there are some busy times when people with families show up and take up ALL the dryers. This would make me crazy.
- public underwear - some people mind this sort of thing, some people don't
- laundry tools - you have to have decent bags and ways to carry soap and dryer sheets and whatever else you want - this is not hard but it's good to think through. i went from one of those cheapie bags to a presorted type of laundry bag situation and I've been a lot happier.

So I guess I'd see what your friends mind about the situation and see if it's a problem you think you would have.
posted by jessamyn at 8:05 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another tip: I do laundry about once a week and fit it into a largeish backpack and that is much more pleasant than lugging a cart if it is possible for you.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:09 AM on February 16, 2012


I think the biggest adjustment would be arranging things so you can do your laundry in one big batch once a week or once every two weeks.

I'd never lived anywhere with on-site laundry until I moved to the place I live now. It's never been a big deal. It's just something I had to do every other week. I just took something to read (or write). Laundries are never crowded in the morning, even on weekends, and I'm a morning person, so that worked out. I still do laundry on the same schedule now. It doesn't make much difference that the washer is right out side my bedroom door versus a few blocks away.

Some laundries are much nicer places to be in than others. What's the seating like? Can you sit outside if the weather's nice? I've had pretty good luck with this. But even if the laundry sucks, you can run back and forth, or use a drop-off service. I wouldn't not rent the apartment because of that.
posted by nangar at 8:21 AM on February 16, 2012


Once I lived in a place that had an inbuilding laundry room, but it was both very expensive ($5+/load!!) and I had to use this awful preloaded card to pay rather than coins. In an attempt to save money and save myself a 20 minute walk in the dead of winter, I eventually found it easier to wash most of my clothes by hand in the bathroom sink. Every few nights I'd wash a few items and then hang them to dry overnight. So, I only needed the washer/dryer for large items like sheets and stuff.
posted by electriic at 8:25 AM on February 16, 2012


I don't think laundromat versus on site laundry is that different. Both are infuriating hassles that take up too much of your time and are super inconvenient.

Now, if your question was laundromat versus en-suite laundry, that would be different. Where I am, it's nearly impossible to find a unit that has laundry in the actual unit, rather than 25 stories down in a creepy basement.
posted by AmandaA at 8:28 AM on February 16, 2012


Personally I quickly learned the joy of wash and fold.

I haven't had a laundry in my place for over 10 years until my wife and I bought our house last year. That being said I quickly learned the joys of a good local wash and fold. Drop your laundry off in the morning (particularly with a car commute) get everything washed and folded in the evening.

Honestly if I need laundry done and I'm pressed for time I'll still do this occasionally even with a washer drier in my house.

Its a budget thing though it was about $10 to do my laundry myself with quarters and its about $20 to do wash and fold.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:30 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


oh one other note on wash and fold, I'm a guy and I don't have all the same requirements my wife has with clothes - all hot full steam ahead

- My wife is more particular so wasn't as in to the wash and fold thing.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:32 AM on February 16, 2012


I haven't had a laundry room in my apartment for nearly 10 years, and several of those years didn't have a laundry room in the building. It was fine. Actually, I preferred not having one in the building because it meant I could drop off my laundry in the morning and pick it up in the evening all clean and folded. I never did my laundry myself at the laundromat though. Always drop off and pay for it to be done. Some people get squicky about strangers washing their underwear, I guess though.
posted by gaspode at 8:45 AM on February 16, 2012


My old apartment didn't have a washer/dryer, so I did a weekly drop off. It was nice, never having to fold clothes or anything. However, the downsides to that were the GF's clothes that needed more particular washing (lots of line dry things) got all mangled.

Now we have a washer/dryer in the basement of our building and I tend do most of the laundry. It saves a little bit of money, not a lot, though now things that need laundering in a manner other than wash-dry-fold can be given the necessary attention. My dress shirts are wrinkle free and never need ironing as long as I immediately take them out of the dryer and hang them. Her line dry clothes last longer and look better. If I need something washed right now, I can.

Plus, I don't have some strange person touching my unmentionables or other things of mine.
posted by Brian Puccio at 8:49 AM on February 16, 2012


Compact "portable" clothes washers are a thing. I had one similar to this for a couple years and it revolutionized my life. It certainly paid for itself in terms of quarters saved, time not spent pfaffing around trying to get to the laundromat without a car, and getting to do laundry in pyjamas. It lived in a corner of the kitchen when not in use and I just rolled it out and plumbed it into the kitched faucet as needed. They also come as combo washer/driers, but I just let everything line dry.
posted by Eumachia L F at 9:08 AM on February 16, 2012


I don't have laundry in my apartment, and it's OK... I can get all my laundry done at once (once a week, and I can go an extra week if I have to). So it basically only ever takes me an hour to do the laundry, maybe an hour and a half if there's a lot of folding (and I usually run an errand during the wash, then take my non-dryer clothes back to the house to hang up while the rest of the stuff is in the dryer).

But this really only works because I have a very big, non-crowded laundromat near my house, so there is absolutely no waiting for machines, ever (maybe Sunday nights... so I don't do laundry Sunday nights). When I had to share three machines with 30 other apartments in my building, that kind of sucked.
posted by mskyle at 9:10 AM on February 16, 2012


This is one of the few things that really annoys me about a building. I've lived in...more apartments than I can count right now, and only two of them didn't have laundry facilities. The first was in NY, so not really a problem (yay for wash & fold!) The second was in the middle of nowhere and I found it really a pain. I'd mostly save up the laundry till I could go to my parents' (2 hrs away) and wash it there. I like to be able to do laundry without putting on a coat, makeup, etc, and without waiting around for it to finish. I usually work at home and it's hard for me to do anything productive during those 2 hours in a laundromat. And when I'm working office hours in an office, I hate wasting a large chunk of night or weekend competing with everyone else doing their laundry at the same time.

But obviously from this thread, some people are fine with it. I think it's one of those personal decisions as to how deal-breaking this is when choosing a building. I'm fine with things that others would probably balk at, like a sketchy neighborhood or a 7th floor walk-up or a 100 sq foot apartment or a kitchen counter space the size of a notebook. But I wouldn't want to live in a laundry-less building again if I could help it.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 9:25 AM on February 16, 2012


I haven't read all of the other answers yet, but: this is a Big Deal for me.

I have lived in apartments with in-unit laundry.
I have lived in apartments with in-basement laundry.
I have lived in apartments with in-complex-but-a-different-building laundry.
I have lived in an apartment with no laundry and a laundromat a block away.

Those are ranked in order of awesomest to crappiest.

My laundromat was fine, just fine. Had good hours, a nice staff, and even got wifi toward the end of my tenure there. But oh my god, hauling laundry there was the worst. THE WORST. You think "ah, this is easy, I'll just take an armful over once a week, no big," but it never works out like that. Unless you use drop off service (which, ugh, to each his own, but I don't want some stranger touching my underpants), you really kind of have to be there the whole time, which is a real drag. That's about two hours you've got to commit to laundry. So, what tends to happen (and this wasn't just me) is that you put it off as long as possible and then have to do ALL OF THE LAUNDRY and haul ALL OF THE LAUNDRY and it sucks major butt.

I didn't realize what a big deal it was (only a block away!) until I lived it, and now I would rather live in the box the washing machine was delivered in and at least know I had a nearby washing machine than live a block away from a laundromat. NEVER. AGAIN.


Also, absolutely nothing beats the amazing, carefree ease of actually using your in-unit washer as your hamper. Best day of my life when I discovered this. Oh, is the hamper full? JUST ADD SOME SOAP AND HIT START. INSTANT LAUNDRY.


I'm currently living in an apartment with in-basement laundry, and the #1 thing I'm looking for when I move is somewhere that has it in-unit.


Don't do it, man.
posted by phunniemee at 9:56 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


My last two apartments have had laundry rooms, but they were woefully inadequate for the number of people who lived in the building. 10 apartments cannot reasonably share a single small washer and a dryer that has to run twice to get anything dry. I get better (and cheaper) results from using the laundromat down the street, but I'm able to fit it in my schedule.

Whether using a laundromat will be a pain in the ass for you or not depends on:
How many clothes you have, how often you wash them, how crowded the laundromat is, how tight your schedule is, whether you can leave your clothes there or not, how good their wifi is, how good the book you brought is, how comfortable the chairs are, and how much more money you'd spend getting a really awesome apartment with a really awesome washer and dryer in it, that also happens to be well ventilated.
posted by helicomatic at 10:04 AM on February 16, 2012


We lived in a building without in-unit laundry for almost 3 years. The building did have machines, but they were expensive and horrible. And people never moved their stuff on time.

Our nearby laundromat was pretty cool. Lots of machines, had a coffee shop inside (and across the street), and I could wash pretty much all of my clothes at once in their huge industrial washer.

As easy as it was, we were still excited to move into a place with in-unit laundry. However, we noticed two things shortly thereafter. The washer and dryer in our unit sucked compared to the laundromat, and we actually missed the weekly ritual of getting out of the house to do laundry together. Weird, maybe, but true.
posted by hwyengr at 10:12 AM on February 16, 2012


Tide is coming out with pods of liquid detergent in a few months. Several years ago, they and Wisk made detergent tablets, but they stopped producing them. One can get both of these in Europe; they're far more convenient for apartment dwellers.

The last place I lived in LA had a laundry room, but I preferred to take my things to a laundromat(where there would sometimes be small children whose parents refused to keep them away from the dryers) or my parents'.

In both of the places I've lived in NY, the building has had a laundry room, but I've had to shlep the clothes up and down a flight of stairs to get to it. Sometimes I send my stuff out to a nearby cleaners.

My next big condo project will be to create a laundry room out of one of my bathrooms.

If your nearby laundromat has triple dryers, make use of them.
posted by brujita at 10:14 AM on February 16, 2012


If you have children, or are planning children, this is a complete and total deal breaker. You do not want to be schlepping clothing or bedding encrusted in body fluids or vomit multiple blocks.

If you are a single adult, it's fine for a year or two.
posted by crazycanuck at 10:32 AM on February 16, 2012


Yeah it really depends on where you're located. In San Diego, I might consider it. In the Northeast? No, thanks.

When I lived in Maine and didn't have laundry facilities in the building, I eventually broke down and got wash/dry/fold service from a local place that did pickup and delivery. It was the best thing in the world in the winter. Of course, it cost me almost as much as a cheap washer/dryer every year if you did the math. (At the time I think it was $1/lb. with a 10-lb minimum and I usually did a bag a week, so around $40/mo. It was a bit cheaper if you didn't have the pickup/dropoff service.)

Anyway, I'd price out a service like that and see what it would cost, and figure that as the "value" of having free, on-premises laundry. If the difference in rent between a place with laundry machines and without is greater than that, go for the place without, get the laundry service, and consider yourself ahead.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:33 AM on February 16, 2012


I once lived in an apartment I loved that didn't have laundry. But there was a great laundromat right nearby, so that was awesome.

AND THEN THE LAUNDROMAT CLOSED. And the nearest one was more than a mile away. And I had no car. And I worked 60 hours a week, so no time.

This is why I own more than 60 pairs of underpants even today (most of them are still leftovers from that era), because I was able to do my wash like once every six weeks.

Make sure there's a backup laundromat reasonably close, even if it isn't as awesome, if you go for this place. Just in case these guys close. Or renovate. Or go on vacation.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:57 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rust Belt reporting: My boyfriend & I go to the laundromat about once every 4-6 weeks; we generally have 6-8 loads between us (we both have tons of underwear and socks, he wears scrubs at work which his work launders, and I'm comfortable wearing the same clothes to work several times before washing them.) While we have a washer/dryer in the basement of our building, it's more of a PITA to do it there a load at a time than just drag everything to the laundromat. The monthly-ish trips generally take about 1.5-2 hours total. I've done it myself once, and it didn't take me much longer. But to do this, you will need 1. a car, 2. a ton of underthings, and 3. the time to figure out when exactly you can maximize your laundry time (hint: Friday nights; avoid Sundays like the plague).

I really want an in-unit washer/dryer at my next place, but only paying about 10% of my income in rent is worth the hassle to me.
posted by jabes at 3:11 PM on February 16, 2012


I live in a Midwest, medium sized college town. In the last 10 years I've lived in 5 places. 1 had a washer/dryer in the unit, 3 had a washer/dryer in the building, and my current one doesn't have any.

But even when there was a washer/dryer in the building I still went to the laundromat. Why? Because I could go, do my 2 loads, and be done in 1.5hrs. Doing it in the building easily took 3-4 hours for 2 loads (dryers always seem to take two cycles) and that was if no one else was using them. My local laundromat has nice big televisions with cable and free internet. It's just such a better experience.

That being said, most my friends would never rent a place without an in unit washer/dryer. They're totally hooked on the idea of convenience, even though they probably spend more time than I do on laundry.
posted by sbutler at 3:40 PM on February 16, 2012


I find that people either don't much mind going to a laundromat, or HATE IT with the heat of a thousand suns.

Me, I found that the machines were better-maintained than those in any basement apartment laundry room, the front-loading washers were gentler on my clothes, and it took much less time to dry my clothes in the big tumble-dryers. There's much to be said for being able to wash, dry, and fold 4 loads of laundry in less than an hour and a half. I either dropped my clothes off and came back to switch them, or took advantage of the time to do nothing but sit and read a book. (Ahhh.)

Schlepping clothes was easy, the only real work was getting them up the stairs upon arriving home when I lived in a walk-up. (Down the stairs was easy -- I just threw the bags and let gravity do the work. Granny-cart for transporting them to laundromat and back.)
posted by desuetude at 3:41 PM on February 16, 2012


Sidhedevil's comment made me laugh, this is why to this day I own like a million pairs of underwear. I can go for a month without doing laundry, though I usually don't, since I now have a machine in my apartment.

I agree with the above that it really depends on your lifestyle. As a young, bum-ish college student with a pretty cheap fashion sense and a wardrobe of mostly jeans, public laundry facilities were no problem at all. Now that I have a baby and a boyfriend who wears dress clothes every day, in-unit laundry is a definite necessity. I kind of miss the days when I could rent cheap holes-in-the-wall with nothing but a mattress on the floor and a minifridge, but priorities change. Only you can really know where yours lie.

That said, I think if the weather is reasonable (or you have a car), there are at least two laundromats in your neighborhood, and you can stand to sit there a couple hours now and then, it's totally doable. (I have had laundry stolen, so I wouldn't leave, but I suppose that depends on your neighborhood).
posted by celtalitha at 4:30 PM on February 16, 2012


Seconding having a small portable washing machine in your apartment. Sometimes it's just not worth going to the laundromat. (Ever had the flu and gone through all your sheets and towels at once?) Summertime laundry is fine, but shlepping laundry in winter through snow and ice is the sucks. I personally hate laundry hanging all over the place, so a dryer would be a priority, too.

Here are some info about washer/dryercombos Some people swear by them; some swear at them. They certainly take up very little space.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:38 PM on February 16, 2012


In a city, if you have to go to the laundromat, do it (a) late at night (less crowded), (b) with a friend (safer), (c) with a six-pack (incentive for said friend to hang out in a laundromat for a couple hours).
posted by bendy at 8:56 PM on February 16, 2012


Thanks everyone, this was very helpful. I'm going to try the laundromat situation, and if it turns out to be terrible, I might try the mini washer.
posted by pluot at 6:57 PM on February 19, 2012


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