25/30: The Laundromat

My favorite pandemic social outing.

For all of you coin-operated washing machine folks out there, the coin shortage was a nightmare for laundry days. If felt like a roll of quarters held the same value as gold for a while. Over the past few months, I’ve been going to the laundromat around the corner from my house. After the first trip I made a joke about it being a “nice social outing” but I’ve always secretly loved going to the laundromat. I remember going with my biological mom a couple of times as a kid and sitting in those little carts. Her roommates kid pushed me around after stopping at the .25 machine dispensing bouncy balls, stickers, or whatever else they happened to have at the time.

As I got older, most of my time was spent in homes/hostels that had laundry on site so I never had a reason to bring my laundry elsewhere. I went to a laundromat when I first moved to Boston and I found the entire process kinda soothing. People usually wait until the very last minute to do laundry because its easier to make one big trip rather than several small ones. Everyone is there for the same reason. Even though we might not admit it, most of us are checking out the detergents others are using. Sometimes I’ll feel a sense of envy after looking at the person who showed up with fabric softener, those little scent pebbles, and dryer sheets. I immediately tell myself that I’ll add them to my weekly shopping list, but I always forget until seeing someone with a box at the laundromat.

We’re all going to the laundromat for the same reason. No one is better than anyone, we all have dirty socks to wash, we have to wait our turn if the carts are all taken, and we all have to share that table afterwards to fold our clothes. We all waited until the very last-minute and were have a mountain of laundry to wash. (Anyone else hate that meme from 2017 that said “unless you do laundry naked, you can never actually be ‘done’ doing laundry” because I think about that often and I hate it). And since trips to the laundromat consist of almost everything we own, Laundry day outfits are a LOOK. Usually the outfits consist of a ridiculous pairing of pajama pants and that weird sleeveless t-shirt from high school.

The short laundry cycles make running errands in between nearly impossible, so you have to find something else to occupy your time with. In the before time, trips to the laundromat forced you to sit down on a chair or bench, or you could walk to the shop for a snack/beverage. Either way, you had to find something to do for the 20-40 mins while waiting for the cycles to end. Having free laundry in your basement would obviously be ideal, but I’m also totally fine with these trips to the laundromat. Luckily, I live around the corner so I can grab a coffee and come back, or take a quick journey home.

I’ve always loved laundry days, it doesn’t matter where I am or how I’m washing them. When I worked at the hostel, I’ll admit that there were a couple of days where seeing the overflowing basket of 20+ bed sheets & towels made my eye twitch a little bit, but that experience also taught me how to be patient. There was also something rewarding about putting away the last folded towel – or that time I successfully folded my first fitted sheet. When considering laundry of my own, having a full selection of freshly washed clothes, pillow cases, kitchen towels, sheets, etc is just so soothing. Doing laundry can be looked at as an act of love. Self-Love: If you’re doing your own laundry, you’re doing current and future you a favor by making mornings a little easier. If you’re also doing someone else laundry, you’re sharing that act of love for someone you care deeply about.

When I first started going back during the quarantine, I joked about them being my lockdown social outing. The employee at this laundromat catches me dancing to music while folding shirts and I’ve caught other laundry-goers jamming out to music while there too. Even after the lockdown, you’ll probably catch me walking down the road with my lime green basket resting on my hip.


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