location, location, location?
January 10, 2007 6:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering moving to a new apartment with a better location but fewer amenities. Am I going to regret this?

I currently live in a boring part of town in an apartment with its own dishwasher and washer/dryer.

I'm considering moving to a new place in the part of town where I spend most of my free time. I'd be able to walk to several of my favorite coffee shops and to the grocery store. The new place is also slightly larger. However, it does not have a dishwasher, and has a shared laundry facility in the building rather than a washer/dryer in each unit.

How irritating is it to get used to having to wash your dishes by hand again and not having a private laundry? I tend to do my laundry in a few huge loads all at once instead of regularly throughout the week anyway so it seems like that won't be too bad. Am I fooling myself?
posted by clarahamster to Home & Garden (38 answers total)
Go live in the part of town where you want to spend your time. I say this even as one who's abnormally enamored of her dishwasher and laundry machines.
posted by wryly at 7:04 PM on January 10, 2007

I wouldn't worry about it. I moved from a place 20 min walk to downtown that had dishwasher/washer-dryer/garbage disposal to a place in the middle of downtown with a basement that floods and no dishwasher or garbage disposal and it's a lot smaller and even a little bit more expensive. But my neighbors are awesome and I live right behind my favorite bar and coffee shop and a big grocery store.
I freakin' love what I gave up to be able to have my friends come over from a night out or to be able to just walk home from a night of drinking. We have 10 people dinner parties every other sunday and washing the dishes in our tiny ass kitchen sink is never a problem. And shared laundry is way better than having to go to a laundromat across town and sit there.
The only downside is your friends are more likely to sleep on your couch because they can't drive home.
posted by greta simone at 7:05 PM on January 10, 2007

I used to share a laundry facility - it really wasn't that much of a hassle, although I am enamoured with my laundry machine. As for hand-washing dishes, it's easiest to move to an "after meals" system. When you finish cooking, draw up a sink full of soapy water and throw the pots and pans in. Then, when you're done eating, they're all soaked and ready to rinse.
posted by muddgirl at 7:06 PM on January 10, 2007

You've sort of answered your own question -- "I'd be able to walk to several of my favorite coffee shops..." You'll spend, most likely, a lot more time out of your apartment.

Nice as dishwashers &c are, that strolling around beats all suburban luxuries quite easily.

That said, I see countertop dishwashers going cheaply on Craigslist on a semi-regular basis...

With the laundry, if you do it as you described, laundromats shouldn't be a hassle. You have to consider you won't be the only one of your kind in the niftier neighbourhood, and will likely meet people there who'll make fiddling with quarters almost pleasant.

I cannot for the life of me imagine how you'd end up regretting the move. Go for it.
posted by kmennie at 7:14 PM on January 10, 2007

Fuck amenities. You'll be happier in a neighborhood you love.
posted by jayder at 7:15 PM on January 10, 2007

As long as your laundry is in the building, it's not too bad. In our complex, only half of the buildings have laundry rooms, which means some people have to haul their stuff outside in crappy weather. That blows, and I wouldn't do that.

As for the dish-washing, I found when I lived by myself it was okay. With my partner, though, it was hellish, because someone was used to a stay-at-home mother. Actually, even with a dishwasher it's no good. So re: dishes, it depends on personal habits. If you're a 'it can wait' person, you might regret it. If you're a clean-as-you-cook person, like me, it isn't bad.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:16 PM on January 10, 2007

A few years ago I moved from an apartment in a shitty locale which had a washer and drier and a dishwasher, to an apartment which didn't even have a washing machine.

All this meant was that I had to go to a laundromat to do my washing twice a week. I resented this a little, but I was overall much happier because the second place was in a much nicer area.

Anyway, I soon found I enjoyed sitting at the laundromat reading a book and doing my washing.

So, based on my experience, you may miss the amenities a little, but you should still move.
posted by jasperella at 7:20 PM on January 10, 2007

I have a shared washer/dryer in my building and it's not so bad. It beats the heck out of going to the laundromat (which also has its advantages as you can do many loads at once). I don't have a dishwasher either and washing the dishes has been a constant argument with my fiance because both of us hate washing dishes and put it off until it gets unmanagable. But if you are good about washing stuff right after you eat and cook, then not having a dishwasher will probably work out OK.
posted by sutel at 7:23 PM on January 10, 2007

I agree with everyone else -- I'm a lot happier being able to walk to a lot of my favorite places, even though I have to wash dishes by hand now. And of course common laundry in the building isn't as nice as a washer/dryer, but it's great compared to having to go to the laundromat.
posted by Sand Reckoner at 7:31 PM on January 10, 2007

Another vote for moving...

I moved from a house in a suburb (dishwasher, washer/dryer) to a huge old Victorian house that's split up into five apartments. I don't miss the dishwasher at all, and I do my laundry in the basement once a week (shared washer/dryer, only $1.50 per load), so it's no big deal.

I walk a lot more - stores, shops, etc... - and the neighborhood is eye candy, I'm crazy about it. It's so nice to come home to a place you enjoy.
posted by Liosliath at 7:37 PM on January 10, 2007

You'll get used to the dishes (do them at night or you'll hate your kitchen in the morning) but the laundry will drive you nuts, until you buy on month's worth of socks and underwear. Being able to walk to all your fav places will make it priceless!

posted by furtive at 7:38 PM on January 10, 2007

Absolutely move.

Some people are weird about this, but let a local laundromat do your wash if you have one nearby. I spend about 6 or 7 bucks a week and there's nothing better in the world than not having to fold your clothes or sit around waiting for a machine to finish.
posted by miniape at 7:46 PM on January 10, 2007

I think you'll be fine. If you really hate doing your laundry in a common area, you can drop it off. And, depending on how much you cook at home, well, I live alone and make lots of one-dish meals, and really, I do my dishes once a week, and it is totally fine. Don't you have to rinse your dishes before you put them in the washer anyway? (It's been a long time since I've had a dishwasher.) If so, buy one of those sponges with the hollow handle for soap, and a scrubby, and you'll be set. My mom hardly even uses hers, since if you use the soap + sponge, you're done.
posted by dame at 7:53 PM on January 10, 2007

The one hassle with the communal laundry room that does get to me is that it matters that you swap things from the washer to the dryer and out of the dryer on a timely basis. With your private machine, you could do it at your leisure. If this isn't a problem for you, also consider that your new neighbors might not be all that conscientious, and you'll end up waiting on them.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:14 PM on January 10, 2007

Wow, glad to get the unanimous positive feedback! Older family members keep telling me I'm going to be miserable, but it really sounded pretty sane to me -- in my tenement apartment in college, the shared laundry was one of the things that *didn't* bother me much.
posted by clarahamster at 8:18 PM on January 10, 2007

All I did was move within my neighborhood, and I lost the washer/dryer and dishwasher, but it still doesn't really matter. My laundry takes about 45 minutes (because I can use multiple machines), and I hated unloading the dishwasher anyway, so this wash-and-put-away-as-you-go is fine with me. It's a minimal hassle at most.
posted by Airhen at 8:20 PM on January 10, 2007

I'd actually prefer shared laundry - multiple machines make multiple loads so much faster and easier. The dishwasher on the other hand...

It probably depends a lot on whether you stay home and cook a lot or go out and eat a lot.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:21 PM on January 10, 2007

It depends on what you're like. Personally, I live in an apartment complex with a shared laundry facility, and I want to kill people because I hate it so much. Like, words don't even describe what a pain in the ass it is. Because everyone wants to do laundry when YOU want to do laundry. It's the rule of thumb. And people are dicks and splash bleach around like in the male-models pumping gas scene in Zoolander. BLEACH FIGHT!

Washing dishes by hand is more tolerable, especially if you don't cook much and are a single. If you had kids or cook a lot or entertain a lot, I'd say a dishwasher would be more indispensable.

But man, you have your own washer & dryer to use whenever you want? That's luxury living right there, and I'm totally jealous. But if you don't care that the only times when the washers are free are 2 am on a Friday night, and you like the easier access to town...well then go for it.
posted by tastybrains at 8:39 PM on January 10, 2007

Move. I haven't had a dishwasher or private washer and dryer since I moved out my parent's house ten years ago. Once in a great while I'll wish I did, then the moment passes.

On the other hand I have been REALLY depressed before because I lived far away from the things and places I loved.

Also, I think being close to a grocery store is a far bigger boon to ease of life than whatever home appliances.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:49 PM on January 10, 2007

Will you have to schlep your laundry up steps to or from the common area? If so, I would stay put where you are.
posted by brujita at 8:57 PM on January 10, 2007

Washing dishes by hand isn't too much of a pain(assuming you're living alone); it's just thirty seconds or so after a meal. You could always test this by making the dishwasher off-limits for a week or so and see if it bothers you.

Shared laundry is only a pain because you have to sit there and watch it, unless you trust that none of your laundry will get stolen (probably less of a risk in an apartment complex than in a dorm, actually. When I was living in the dorms, we actually had a hall meeting about a panty thief stealing unmentionables out of dryers). (And on the non-criminal side, to make sure you take it out as soon as it's done to avoid other people taking it out so they can use the machine, and thus handling your stuff. If that would bother you, anyway.) Also there's the everyone-doing-laundry-at-once factor that other people have mentioned, but as long as you plan to do laundry a few days before you really need to, it's not too bad because if it's busy you can just do it the next day.
posted by sleeplessunderwater at 9:12 PM on January 10, 2007

How irritating is it to get used to having to wash your dishes by hand again

Maybe it depends on the size of the kitchen. For me, the real difference between being in a non-D/W apt. (before) and a D/W apt. (now) has not been the physical act of washing dishes so much as the fact that in our previous tiny kitchen, there was so little space to put dishes, either dirty ones or washed-and-need-to-dry ones. When cooking for a dinner party or something, it's less a matter of "I need these dishes washed right now" than "I need to shove these dishes in the dishwasher so I can have the sink free for the next course."

In any event, it'll be irritating, but not don't-move-to-a-cooler-apartment irritating.

As for laundry, send it out or drop it off rather than going the coin-op route, and enjoy your impossibly well-folded fitted sheets.
posted by staggernation at 9:20 PM on January 10, 2007


as a housewarming present, buy yourself 50% more of whatever your limiting factor is with regards to washing-- in other words, stock up on whatever it is you run out of first that makes you have to wash things.

so... 10 new pairs of underwear or socks, or 2 new towels, or another pair of jeans, maybe a few more drinking glasses or extra sets of silverware.

raise your efficiency by lowering the frequency of your new chores. then use the time you save to hang out in your awesome new neighbourhood.
posted by twistofrhyme at 9:30 PM on January 10, 2007

Move! A neighborhood you like is so important.

I'd actually have opposite advice from twistofrhyme, at least in terms of washing dishes ... I'd reduce the number of dishes, glasses, bowls, mugs, silverware, etc. that you have easily accessible. Like, maybe four maximum of each. (Store more in the back of your closet for when you have dinner parties or such.) That way, you won't have a gigantic pile of dirty dishes sitting in your sink for days, which then becomes a dull thirty-minute task to clean.

Sure, with fewer dishes you'll have to wash them more frequently, but if you get into the habit of at least rinsing them as soon as you're done, you'll save lots of time from having to soak encrusted crap off five-day-old dishes.
posted by Sterling Hoyt at 9:40 PM on January 10, 2007

A lot of study has been done on happiness in conjunction with our innate ability (as humans) to adapt, and the basic consensus among sociologists/psychologists is that we (humans) are very poor at deciding what's best at determining what will really make us happy consistently over time.

In this older AskMe I posted a few links to some articles that discuss this more in-depth, but the basic idea is this: humans are really good at adapting to their environment, but there are some environmental pressures that we cannot adapt to, and wind up manifesting themselves as stress.

So, for instance, you can't really adapt to a longer commute in rush-hour traffic. You can't adapt to living in a bad neighborhood when your home is constantly getting broken into. Things like that. But, what you can adapt to, and are more than likely to adapt to, are "luxuries" that offer no tangible benefit to your overall happiness (a larger car, for instance, or a home with oak floors).

The basic rule of thumb is that, whenever possible, when given the choice between two things, always go for the thing that will leave you with more time, because time is something that can qualitatively improve your lifestyle. While it might take you an extra hour a week to wash dishes in your new apartment, it would take you several hours of cumulative walking back-and-forth to enjoy the activities you mention (coffee, bars, etc.) This doesn't even take into account the likelihood that proximity in and of itself will encourage you to do these things more (you'll go out and socialize more if you're closer to the bars/coffee shops, etc.)

So move.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:50 PM on January 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

How irritating is it to get used to having to wash your dishes by hand again and not having a private laundry?

This really varies with the individual -- I quit washing dishes in the machine even when I had one, but some people can't stand it. Why not try pretending you are without these things now and see if it bothers you? That is, do your dishes by hand and take the clothes to the laundromat. Try a laundromat in the new neighborhood that you like.
posted by yohko at 10:35 PM on January 10, 2007

I live in downtown Athens, Georgia, where we have awesome coffee shops and bars and all that stuff (but no grocery, alas). I work out of my home and actually meet a lot of clients in the neighborhood. Because I walk most of the time (even getting to my car requires a five block hike to my paid parking lot) I spent less than $250 on gasoline last year. Some people go through that in a month.

Take that savings and apply it to a countertop dishwasher, some laundry quarters, and some extra lattes. You should be all set.

The only downside is your friends are more likely to sleep on your couch because they can't drive home.

Yes! Story of my life.
posted by Famous at 10:58 PM on January 10, 2007

That the new apartment doesn't have a washing machine doesn't, surely, mean you can't get one.
posted by genghis at 1:43 AM on January 11, 2007

Location location location! I live in a much smaller, much more expensive, amenity-free flat in a wonderful part of London and wouldn't change it for the world.
posted by meerkatty at 3:55 AM on January 11, 2007

That the new apartment doesn't have a washing machine doesn't, surely, mean you can't get one.

Generally, it would seem to. If the apartment doesn't have a washing machine, it likely doesn't have the water hookups to support one or a space to put it. Nor is it likely to have the power necessary to support a dryer.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:05 AM on January 11, 2007

Pshaw. You can find portable washers anywhere, and as long as you've got a kitchen sink, you've got a water hookup.

This dryer can plug into a regular old US standard 115 volt plug. Nothing fancy there. 1500 watts, like a hair dryer. Or, you could just hang your laundry up around the apartment. Maybe even run up a clothesline!

When I visited my German buddy, I found that he didn't even have a clothes dryer, just a washing machine and a 'drying tree'. He and his roommates had clothes all over their apartment, but they seemed to get along just fine.

For more info...
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 5:27 AM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Another vote for moving. I went through the same experience you did: Going from a nice apartment on the outskirts of town to a shabbier one in downtown where I could (and did) walk everywhere. I loved being there and as a direct consequence of the location was two of the best years of my life. Move.
posted by jmd82 at 6:02 AM on January 11, 2007

I used to get a lot of crap from older relatives who were aghast at my lack of dishwasher and laundry facilities. They lived in the 'burbs, I live in a city...it was revealed over time that this is only the tip of the iceberg of things that "sounded weird or inconvenient" to them.

Dishes, if made a habit, are no big deal. Shared laundry means a risk that someone will move your stuff if you don't clear it out in time. Other than that, no big deal.
posted by desuetude at 6:21 AM on January 11, 2007

Shared laundry is really no big deal. In fact, some of my W/D in-unit friends are a little jealous because they have to do load after load, making them feel like they are forever doing laundry, instead of 2-4 loads at once in a shared facility.

Your older family members are probably so accustomed to having those amenities that they can't imagine that people would be okay without them. Likewise, being able to walk to coffee shops probably doesn't hold much appeal to them either, which is why they're giving you that feedback.
posted by ml98tu at 6:21 AM on January 11, 2007

I've done this. It's mildly irritating, but it's really not that bad. TOTALLY worth it for the improved lifestyle. When you move again, you'll have a greater appreciation for the appliances you've left behind.

If you're the type of person who uses so many dishes that you have to run a full load every day, you might feel differently.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:14 AM on January 11, 2007

That the new apartment doesn't have a washing machine doesn't, surely, mean you can't get one.

I've had leases that strictly preclude the use of extra appliances, including washers, dryers and chest freezers.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:37 AM on January 11, 2007


Doing your own dishes and shared laundry rooms are so not a big deal. I haven't had a W/D or DW in years. If you do it regularly, washing dishes goes really fast. You have to plan a little more since you can't always do last-minute or really late night laundry, but it's not like you're walking to school five miles uphill both ways in pouring rain or something! A more exciting neighborhood is so worth it--on a Saturday afternoon, wouldn't you rather have easy access to fun than easy access to a dishwasher?

Also, fwiw, most apartment leases in NYC prohibit those portable appliances. Not sure about other places.
posted by min at 10:09 AM on January 11, 2007

If you have the money and it's available, send your laundry out to be cleaned (in SF we call it "wash and fold" and any laundromat that does dry cleaning will do it). It's changed my life. As for dishwashers, again, if you have the money, eat out. If you're like me you won't enjoy this luxury for the rest of your life, so take advantage of it now. Think of your apartment as a place to sleep when you're not doing TOTALLY AWESOME THINGS. But really what matters for happiness is how long your daily commute is...this is just fine tuning.
posted by jewzilla at 9:38 PM on January 11, 2007

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