Entry #252, August 22, 2010
Whether you or your college student is headed back to school soon, or is already there, doing laundry is a fact of life when away from home. With my teenage boys, we taught them to do laundry around age 10. Whether your kids are used to doing their own laundry or not, they will HAVE to do them when away at college.
I found this great article at About.com Laundry that has good tips on how to plan for doing laundry – especially sorting before you get there! Check out these tips.. some of them are useful if you use a laundromat as well.
Sort before you go:
Believe it or not, you probably have more work space in your dorm room than you will in the laundry room. Take time to sort your clothing by colors – whites, lights and darks – before you leave for the laundry room.
Washer and Dryer Surprises
Before you set something on top of the washer or dryer make sure the surface is clean. At best, you’ll get sticky detergent residue. At worst, you’ll find bleach that will ruin your clothes.
Look inside, too. You never know what the last person had in the washer or dryer. Some one could leave a tube of lipstick in their pocket and then it gets left in the dryer or washer. Or, you may find leftover clothing. Just look before you load.
If the appliance is stained, be a good Samaritan and clean it up or at least report the problem to the dorm manager.
Keep Track of Time
As you start your first load of laundry check your watch, cell phone or blackberry. Stay with your laundry and time how long it takes for the washer to complete the load. Do the same thing when you load laundry in the dryer.
Those numbers will be your guide for the year in the laundry. Set an alarm on your phone or a note on your computer so you’ll remember to go back to check on your clothes. Some college laundry rooms are wired to alert your computer when a cycle has ended. One enterprising young man wired his washer to Tweet when the load is finished.
Know the Load
To help you gauge exactly how much laundry equals one load, the first time you do laundry fill a washer with dry clothes. Don’t stuff the washer full, just gently add the dirty clothes in layers.
Now, empty the clothes back into an empty basket. That will help you see what amount of clothing equals one load in the washers you have available. The next time you do laundry, you can look at your pile of clothes and know how many loads you’ll need to do.
Before you start the dryer make sure the lint trap is clean. You’ll prevent fires and your clothes will dry faster.
As you load the clothes into the dryer, fluff each piece of clothing by giving it a quick shake. They will dry more quickly and with less wrinkles. Be sure you get everything in the dryer before you start it up. Opening and closing the door loses heat and time.
Final folding can be done in the laundry room or back in your dorm room. If you have to go outside, keep a couple of heavy trash bags in your hamper to cover your clothes.
Label, Label, Label
If you plan to leave anything in the laundry room while your clothes are washing and drying, put your name on it. It also helps to put a cell phone number in case something goes wrong and someone needs to reach you.
For more laundry room ideas on Stagetecture, click here.