Listen, learn some laundry room lessons

I’m going to be living in The Village next year. Aside from having my own room, a kitchen to cook my own meals and a bathroom I don’t have to share with people who have no concept of personal hygiene, the thing I’m most excited about is no longer having to deal with dormitory laundry rooms.

Doing laundry in the dorms isn’t just a chore, it’s practically torture. You don’t only lose socks; you also lose your temper and your dignity. If you don’t want everyone in the laundry room to hate your guts, there are three things you should avoid doing at all costs: leaving your wet clothes in the washing machine, taking somebody else’s clothes out of the dryer when they’re not dry and taking up more than two machines during the laundry room’s busy hours. If you’ve ever done any of these things, then you’ve broken the laundry room etiquette. And you’re also probably a terrible person.

After I lug my laundry basket down to the basement, all I want to see is an empty washing machine. When I get there and all the lids are closed, I’m not a happy camper. I’m even less happy when I see that the machines are done, but still have clothes in them. I’ve learned over the years that if the user of that machine doesn’t come down about five minutes after their timer goes off, they’re not coming down anytime soon.

This is one of the worst laundry room offenses. A responsible laundry doer puts his or her clothes in the washer, sets an alarm for exactly 34 minutes after the time, press start on the machine, and is down within five minutes of the time that alarm goes off to put his or her clothes in the dryer. I’m not about to pick up someone’s sopping wet clothes and throw them into a dryer for them. Besides, the person who came down to get his or her clothes out on time deserves that open dryer more than the person who left his or her clothes in the washer for me to find. There’s nothing I can do about it but fume and wait for that lollygagger to show up.

With the dryers, it isn’t so bad. If I need a dryer and the cycle on one of them is done and the person hasn’t come down yet, I can take them out and put them on the table for them to get when they come down. I only do this if the clothes are dry, though. Another terrible laundry room offense is people taking other people’s stuff out of the dryer when it’s not dry.

My friends and I have all had it happen to us. We go down to check on our clothes, to see if they need one more go around or if they’re ready to be brought upstairs and folded, only to find them tossed in a damp pile on the table or, the audacity of it, thrown on top of the dryer that our clothes have been taken out of by the person who stole it from us. In freshman year when that happened to me, I took that dryer-stealer’s clothes out of my dryer while they were still damp, put mine back in, and left them a nasty note in which I questioned their parentage (I might have implied they were raised by wolves in a cave) and told them to enjoy their damp clothes. I don’t care how big of a hurry you’re in. It’s never okay to steal someone’s dryer when their clothes aren’t dry.

Machines are a hot commodity, I know. It sort of goes without saying that if there are only four washers and dryers in the room, you shouldn’t use all of them at once. That laundry room isn’t just yours; everyone has to use it. So on Friday when I was trying to get my laundry done quickly in between classes and I was greeted by a girl who was using all four washers at once, it was a total slap in the face. Who would ever think it was okay to use up an entire laundry room at 2 p.m. on a Friday?

Now, it’s perfectly okay to use a lot of machines at night on the weekend when everyone’s out of the dorm or early in the morning when everyone is sleeping. But for the standard times when everyone is awake and eager to do their laundry too, please don’t take up more than two machines. We’re all busy and we all have a lot of clothes to wash. The laundry room is for all of us. Even if you don’t get to wash every item of clothing you own in one afternoon, I think you’ll be okay.

For all of you who will still have to use dormitory laundry rooms next year, I feel for you. There aren’t enough machines, they break down way too often and a lot of the people who use them are rude. Honestly, the only way I’ve found to deal with the laundry room is to sacrifice my Friday or Saturday night to do laundry when no one else is doing it. If you’re not willing to do that, then you’re probably out of luck. One day you’ll have a washer and dryer all to yourself. Until then, follow the etiquette of the laundry room and let everyone else know about it so maybe they’ll follow it too.

(Devon Nitz | The Oswegonian)
(Devon Nitz | The Oswegonian)