Author Topic: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?  (Read 9432 times)

superone!

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Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« on: May 14, 2014, 03:08:27 PM »
Hi everyone. I'm frustrated about my laundry situation...could use some advice...

Relatively recently I moved from a house that had a washing machine and a yard for line drying into an apartment without its own washer or any outdoor/line drying space. I wasn't too worried when I moved, as the apartment (part of a 4-plex) had a laundry room with free use of a washer and dryer to be shared among the 4 apartments. This was an advertised part of the apartment.

Less than a month after I moved in, the landlord put up notices that he was installing coin operated laundry machines. Now it costs $1.50 to wash and $1.50 to dry every load. $3 per load is insane. On top of this, there is still only one washer and one dryer, so it isn't like I'm paying a premium to get all my stuff done at once. (Plus I'm not feeling great about giving my landlord more money for something that was advertised as included in the rent.)

What to do? I've tried some different strategies. Obviously I'm trying to cut down on overall laundry volume. I've tried just washing, and then line drying things in my living room. I've also been doing a lot of hand washing in the tub, and line drying in my living room (the dripping clothes everywhere are driving my partner and me nuts). I've also had one trip of mostly sheets and towels that I've loaded into my bike trailer and brought to the laundromat. It was both more expensive than I'd like and a pain in the butt.

The whole situation is making me cranky. I moved in thinking this laundry thing would be a non-issue. I'm seriously considering investing in either a Panda apartment washer & spin dryer or at least a hand wringer. (I'm finding the wringing out of clothes to be by far the hardest part of hand washing). But these are expensive, and I'm generally trying to purchase fewer things, rather than more.

The things I'm thinking about are here:

http://www.amazon.com/Panda-Compact-Portable-Washing-Capacity/dp/B00AW04ZMM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400101460&sr=8-1&keywords=panda+washer

and here:

http://www.amazon.com/GetPreparedStuff-Best-Clothes-Wringer-Hand/dp/B002QSXK60/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1400101512&sr=8-4&keywords=wringer

I'm sick to my stomach at the idea of paying all of this money (and still possibly having dripping clothes all over my apartment).

Any mustachian suggestions?

Rural

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2014, 03:16:26 PM »
Here's a washer: http://lifehacker.com/5918992/make-a-diy-washing-machine-from-a-five-gallon-bucket


There are fewer good options out there for wringers, but here are a few suggestions, the best of which I think is probably the suggestion to use a mop wringer. [size=78%]http://www.ehow.com/how_7865669_make-homemade-wringer-handwashing-clothes.html#page=0[/size]

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2014, 04:17:26 PM »
Replacing/replicating the spin cycle of a washing machine is the hard part.

I'd complain to the landlord and ask for an adjustment on your monthly rent, since something that was free when you leased now costs $.

Alternatively, are there hookups for you to install your own machine? A cheap washer of CL would recoup $1.50/load in a few months.

Gimesalot

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2014, 04:27:15 PM »
I would talk to your landlord.  He stated it was free, and now he has changed his mind.  I don't know if it will get you anywhere, but at least it is worth a try. 

Have you gone to different laundry mats?  Maybe there is a less expensive option out there.

Or, what if you paid to wash the clothes, and then just dried them on a folding rack in your tub?  This way, you don't have to go too far out of your way, your clothes won't be dripping wet, and the effort will be minimal.

superone!

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2014, 04:38:36 PM »
Unfortunately no hookups, or I definitely would have bought my own washer.

And the landlord is a total jerk. (It's a management company actually.) I already spent 2 1/2 months with a gas leak in my stove (you can only eat so many crock pot meals!) and a carbon monoxide leak in my heater (luckily I live in southern CA). Had to threaten to call the city's code enforcement to get them to make the place "habitable". I doubt they'll budge on rent over the laundry increase without legal action, and that seems more hostile and more trouble than it would be worth.

I like the bucket and plunger plan, and I've thought about using a mop-wringer, but I've heard that it isn't particularly effective...it's definitely getting the water *out* of the clothes that's the problem...and forget it when you have to wash sheets/towels.

I've tried drying them in the tub on a rack with just a light hand wringing. My bathroom doesn't have a window though, so everything stays wet for days and the clothes smelled mildewy before they were dry. Plus then I can't use the shower for a couple days.

I'm definitely scoping out different laundromats. I really don't like them, as I have really sensitive skin (I use special detergent to avoid rashes) and there is always strong detergent residue in commercial washers. I wish I had friends I could pay to use their washers!

OSUBearCub

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2014, 06:06:35 PM »
I live in a community that is currently jacking up the price of laundry.  To add insult to injury, they refuse to fix the laundry room lock to keep out all the non-residents who will DRIVE IN to the community just to use the laundry rooms.  Ten washers/Ten dryers are always full of mismatched clothes and ten pounds of detergent...and pubes.  I started doing laundry on my own in my tiny studio apartment.

Search on Craigs List for used portable washing machines.  At any given time you should find a half dozen or so.  People buy them for campers and small apartments but get lazy and sell them.  Best part, few people are in the market so you can really bargain the price down.

The trick is to get a model with a proper spin cycle to cut down on air drying time.  The models you're looking into are painfully small, not well constructed (by my research of the reviews when I was shopping), and don't properly spin out the water.  I found this one http://www.amazon.com/Haier-HLP21N-Pulsator-1-Cubic-Foot-Portable/dp/B002UYSHMM for $110 in great shape.  It hooks up to a sink faucet and drains into the sink drain.  No special washer hookups needed.  When you're done, just roll it out of the way. 

I then invested in a new drying rack similar to this one: http://www.amazon.com/Household-Essential-Pegasus-Laundry-Drying/dp/B00IHGDCYA/ref=sr_1_19?s=appliances&ie=UTF8&qid=1400111827&sr=1-19&keywords=drying+rackDo not spend anywhere near $90 on a drying rack.  Mine was $19.99 at the local flea market (check out the Asian super-stalls that sell massive amounts of dollar store type merchandise.)  I promise a stack of these will be tucked into a back corner somewhere.

In summary, this set up paid for itself in four months, requires 3/4 tablespoon of detergent per load (I coupon), and uses about as much electricity as a toaster each load.  It's not the most Mustachian but it's certainly a great balance of savings and convenience in my situation.  I hope some of this helps! :-)


Thegoblinchief

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2014, 06:22:51 PM »
A box fan pointed at your drying rack helps a ton when line drying indoors. Forgot to add that.

Elaine

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2014, 06:33:59 PM »
Ok, so we live in NYC, where basically only rich people have laundry in their units. We rely on laundromats, and it can definitely get expensive. Here's what we do:

1. We have two laundry baskets, one is for things that must be dried in the dryer, and one is for things that don't get dried in the drier. Line drying is actually better for clothing, but of course, for things like bath towels, sheets, and comforters, this isn't an option. This is also great because my fella (who does the laundry) doesn't have to memorize what goes where. My silky tops, bras, stockings, and jeans are line dry, but my sloppy t-shirts and socks/underwear go in the dryer.
2. Make indoor laundry lines. We air dry about 75% of our laundry. The largest items get put on a drying rack in the bathtub. The smaller items go on our clothing line which is a piece of rope that we tie to the bed frame, stretches across the room, and onto the far wall. Getting the water out is definitely a pain, but it just takes time. You have to delicately squeeze the water out of each piece by hand. Never wring clothing, just use pressure to squeeze the water out. Then shake out each piece, so that it doesn't get wrinkled, and hang it. If water dripping is a huge issue, then line the floor with a tarp.   
3. Timing. We do laundry on Saturday or Sunday morning. This way the wet laundry comes out by noon, and has a good 10 hours to dry, plus keeping the windows open or a fan on them helps. If it's still a bit damp, we leave it over night. By morning it is always dry.

bikebum

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2014, 06:40:34 PM »
Wash your clothes less often. Wait until they smell or look funny. Doesn't solve your main problem but it may help, especially if you decide to use the coin laundry room.

That sucks that your landlord offered free use of laundry machines and didn't deliver.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2014, 06:51:51 PM »
but of course, for things like bath towels, sheets, and comforters, this isn't an option.

I line dry everything. Sure, the towels are "crunchy" but they actually dry quite quickly if you hang them up with pants hangers.

Sheets and blankets are more annoying because of how big they are, but they don't need washing anywhere near as often.

I think I've gotten to the point where I can finally try selling my dryer. Haven't used it at all in months.

Argyle

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2014, 08:17:19 PM »
Why can't you wash the stuff in the machine and then hang it to dry?  It shouldn't need wringing or be dripping if it's spun in the machine.  How much laundry are you doing?  I do one load a week.  At your prices that's only $6-8 a month, which I think would be well worth avoiding the hassle of washing the stuff by hand in the tub. 

Even if you dry your stuff in the machine, that's around $12 per month.  Sure it's annoying that you were promised free laundry and now you don't have it.  But basically you've just had your rent increased $12 per month.  It's not ideal but it's not extreme.

Christiana

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2014, 07:10:25 AM »
Some old antique wringers are still usable, you could find one in an antique store or online.  I found one for $30, cleaned it up and put it on a homemade stand, and it paid for itself over time.  They're not good for things with buttons or snaps, though.

agent_clone

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2014, 07:40:34 AM »
Why can't you wash the stuff in the machine and then hang it to dry?  It shouldn't need wringing or be dripping if it's spun in the machine.  How much laundry are you doing?  I do one load a week.  At your prices that's only $6-8 a month, which I think would be well worth avoiding the hassle of washing the stuff by hand in the tub. 

Even if you dry your stuff in the machine, that's around $12 per month.  Sure it's annoying that you were promised free laundry and now you don't have it.  But basically you've just had your rent increased $12 per month.  It's not ideal but it's not extreme.

This is what I did with the coin operated laundry in a previous place, I think I used the dryer maybe 2-5 times.  Really, if your only doing one, with the occasional 2 loads of washing per week at the cost of $2 per load, if the washing machine costs $500, it will take about 250 weeks to claim back what you are paying, which is close to 5 years to pay back the cost of the washing machine, or for the $1.50 it is almost 6 1/2 years).

superone!

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2014, 10:44:26 AM »
I think I just realized my main problem from you all saying you do 1-2 loads per week. I definitely don't do laundry *weekly*. Ugh!

I think my problem is that I just hate doing laundry at all, and then when I break down and do it I have a ton of it. I only do laundry every 2 or 3 (or sometimes 4) weeks, apart from underwear that I just hand wash quickly in the sink, and when I finally am forced to do it I like to get it *all* done. (Yes, you are right. I have too many clothes.)

Maybe I'd be more satisfied and less frustrated with the dripping clothes all over my house if I just did smaller loads more often. That might solve my exhausted hand wringing problem as well--though I'm definitely still going to keep an eye out for an antique wringer/buy a mop wringer...

Argyle

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2014, 12:40:56 PM »
I don't think doing it in the tub and then hand-wringing it is going to make you hate it less.

Seriously, why do you need a wringer?  Doesn't the washing machine spin and get out all the excess moisture?

Why not try doing one load a week in the machine and then hanging it to dry?  Or gasp  drying it in the machine.  $3 per week.  Big hassle saved.  Surely you have something else that costs $3 a week that you could cut back on, if you're worried about that extra $3 per week.  But my sense is that you're going to a lot of angst for a very small expense.  Choose a day, say Monday, and just do the laundry every week on the same day and problem solved.

GuitarStv

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2014, 01:09:36 PM »
Move.  What you're describing is a shitty landlord.  The whole benefit of renting is that you can pick up and take off when things go south.

Ideally, you would find a new place to live, then go and talk to your landlord.  If the landlord is still non-responsive give your notice.

CarDude

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2014, 01:12:58 PM »
I think I just realized my main problem from you all saying you do 1-2 loads per week. I definitely don't do laundry *weekly*. Ugh!

I think my problem is that I just hate doing laundry at all, and then when I break down and do it I have a ton of it. I only do laundry every 2 or 3 (or sometimes 4) weeks, apart from underwear that I just hand wash quickly in the sink, and when I finally am forced to do it I like to get it *all* done. (Yes, you are right. I have too many clothes.)

Maybe I'd be more satisfied and less frustrated with the dripping clothes all over my house if I just did smaller loads more often. That might solve my exhausted hand wringing problem as well--though I'm definitely still going to keep an eye out for an antique wringer/buy a mop wringer...

Yeah, that's something to consider. I remember doing laundry only once a week or even less frequently in my single days. When I got married, it became more frequent, and when I became a parent, it became even more frequent (hello cloth diapers!), to the point where we felt we were doing laundry every other day. While you can definitely do it less frequently, it does mean that it becomes more of a chore when you *do* do it.

AH013

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2014, 07:10:50 PM »
That's unfortunate.  I've heard of landlords locking a washer in cold water mode (or just not connecting a hot water hose) to keep washer costs down, but doing a bait & switch to rake in some extra cash is a bit crazy & unethical.  I mean, if your washer is relatively new you're talking 20 gallons of cold water at about $0.005/gallon for a whopping $0.10 max per load and negligible wear & tear.  A dryer I could understand a bit, but still it's like $0.25 to run a load for 45 minutes....to charge $1.50/each is greedy when you advertised free (people probably factored that into the value of the rent compared to other available properties they were thinking of renting).

Like others mentioned, you can make a DIY laundry machine that works quite well, or buy small manual washers specifically designed for apartment life.  Side bonus is that if your loads are small enough and you wring them out reasonably, you can hang dry them on coat hangers on your shower rod.

Regarding how to handle the landlord's jerkiness?  Well, I'm not saying what you SHOULD do, I'm just reminded of Seinfeld's pretty creative solution for getting revenge on a (mistakenly) corrupt person via laundry machine by way of a bag of cement.  $2 @ home depot plus $1.50 to run a "load" will result in a very costly replacement & lesson for a very greedy washing machine operator.

Greg

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2014, 07:32:38 PM »
I used to have an apt. without a washer or drier.  Eventually I was offered a washer by a friend with a house who was replacing it with a front-loader, so I hooked it up using a sink-faucet-to-hose thread adapter, an appropriate hose (you have to hook up to both hose fittings on the washer or water will come out the unused one) and just put the discharge hose into the kitchen sink.  If you do this, you'll want to watch it the first few times it drains to be sure it doesn't back up in the sink.

Our sink counter was small enough that the washer fit at the end of the counter and could reach the sink.  Line drying was sometimes a hassle, and sometimes if it was very cold and rainy I'd take the laundry to the laundromat to use the drier.  A front loader with a high-speed spin would probably have worked fine no matter the weather, but this was an old top-loader that didn't spin super fast so things took a long time to dry.

Argyle

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2014, 07:34:30 PM »
Applying a bag of cement to the problem would almost certainly result in the landlord taking away the washing facilities entirely.

MayDay

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Re: Dealing with Laundry - hand wash vs. pay up?
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2014, 07:41:17 PM »
Huh.  So how many loads a week do you do on average? 

It sounds like you do one a week but you save it all up and do it every 3-4 weeks.  If you do that then of course you are going to have trouble line drying it all!

I vote wash a load every week, using whatever method you choose (would be well worth to machine wash for me, because i don't think I could get things effectively cleaned in the tub, but maybe we are just bigger slobs than you!) and then line dry just the one load.  One load should fit on a single drying rack if you get a big enough one, and then you can stick it in a corner with a fan aimed at it, and it won't take over the whole apartment. 

My big drying rack that folds down tiny is from Ikea.  Don't know if they still make the same model, but it was way cheaper than the BB&B equivalent when I bought it.