Author Topic: Holy Laundry Costs! Need Washing Solution for Apt with No Laundry in Building  (Read 3405 times)

Acg

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Hey guys - So we had twin boys about 6 months ago and we were just spending money where we had to without really thinking about it because you're really just in survival mode with newborn twins.  Anyways, things have started to calm down a little bit (keyword there being "little") and I'm going over our spending from the last 6 months to see where we need to make changes.  Our apartment building doesn't have laundry machines in the building, and when it was just my wife and I, we would drop our laundry off at a local laundromat and have them do the laundry at $1/lb (We live in NYC, I'm sure that price is exorbitant).  I'm looking back at what we have spent to get laundry done now that it's us and the boys and our spending on laundry has nearly tripled to about $130 per month.  Facepunch, yes, I know.  This is crazy, I need to find some kind of solution to do this in our apartment.  Also, I just want to bring something up for those of you that have never had twins (which I assume is almost all of you), I just want to point out that our free time is pretty much zero these days.  So something like handwashing is out of the question.  We need a solution that we can load up, switch on, and come back to find it done.  I'm not trying to be rude - I just know the Mustachian way and someone will suggest that.  We just need to maintain some quality of life.

So does anyone have any suggestions for ideas?  I was looking around and found things like the below which allow you to hook it up to the faucet in your kitchen sink.  It sounds like the spin cycle gets it relatively dry and then we would just need to hang dry it - maybe setup some hang-dry lines in our bathroom.  The capacity for this is pretty small though, I would want something big enough that could handle a load of baby clothes and a separate load of adult clothes (maybe we'd need to split our clothes into two loads.  So does anyone have any thoughts?  Anyone is a similar circumstance?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Laundry-Alternative-Capacity-Automatic/dp/B00RL014P2/ref=pd_sbs_265_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=41GvQvH5OvL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR120%2C160_&refRID=0D5BKBJXRR9D4TFRKZR8

Kris

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It strikes me that this moght be better suited for you. Small frequent loads that take very little time to do. You could save the larger trips to the laundry for when a larger load really needs to be done.

http://www.amazon.com/Laundry-Alternative-Wonderwash-Non-electric-Portable/dp/B002C8HR9A/ref=sr_1_1?s=appliances&ie=UTF8&qid=1454171633&sr=1-1&keywords=hand+crank+washing+machine

MayDay

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How much would it cost to do at a local laundromat? I would probably only do that I'd you have one with a 1-2 block walk.

Often with a family its actually less time consuming to do 5 loads all at once and be done- but having to schlep laundry makes that complicated. I'm surprised there aren't machines in your basement though.


meg_shannon

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You will probably spend less time overall if you can go once per week to the laundry mat. However, if that isn't an option, and I completely understand if it isn't, then I think you're solution is probably the only one. You'll have to get into a routine of doing 1-2 small loads of laundry per day. If you're hanging stuff if up in the bathroom you'll need to make sure the room has adequate ventilation to handle all the extra moisture. Or buy a fan.

Another option is to a mix of the proposed solutions. Towels, sheets, and any clothes go to the laundry mat every two weeks and in between you try to keep up with your little washer.


Cassie

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When I was in a similar situation I bought a small washer that hooked up to the kitchen sink.  It was half of a regular load when full. You can also buy a baby dryer to match that will vent into a bucket of water,

pk_aeryn

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Do you have a link to an example of the baby dryer?

Cassie

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Both the washer and dryer came from Sears and this was about 18 years ago but I bet they still make them.


redbird

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My apartment didn't come with a washer or dryer and there isn't one in my building either. There is a laundry facility over by the leasing office (a short walk) but I tried it once and it was a bit expensive per load, the loads it accepted were strangely small, and the first dryer I tried to use didn't work and just ate my money. I don't normally use cash unless I have to and my bank is an online bank (ATMs don't exactly give quarter rolls), so keeping quarters on hand just to wash laundry seemed a bother.

However, I was lucky enough that the apartment DID have hookups. I just purchased a washer and saved money by not buying a dryer. I hang dry my clothes on the IKEA Frost drying rack, with an electric fan pointed at the clothes to help them dry better (the electricity used is far less than a dryer).

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40244831/

That link is mainly in case others are curious. I don't think you should use it though. The problem is it takes time to use the drying rack. You have to place everything on the rack and then after it's been drying for a few hours, flip everything over to the other side so it'll dry better. Since you have babies, that will be too much time and inconvenience for you.

You COULD go to the laundromat and do it yourself, but that requires hanging around at the laundromat. That's not great when you have babies either, especially with how often you will have to wash clothing with babies around. I think you should research some washers and dryers that can be put in an apartment that don't require hookups. If you're spending $130/month currently, then the washer/dryer expenses will pay themselves off in less than 6 months (exact time of course varies on WHAT you buy). After that, you'll just be paying for the higher water and electric bills. But those will add far less than $130/month to those respective bills.

DebtFreeBy25

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Do you know anyone who has their own washer and dryer and lives somewhere convenient? Your lowest cost option would be to work out a barter with a friend or family member who already has a washer and dryer. If you know someone, think of a few things that you or your spouse have to offer the may be of interest (HBOGo password, dog walking, laundry folding, music lessons, etc.).

I own a washer and dryer and have made them available to friends and family who do not. This costs me relatively little as long as the use is within reason. Our water bill is always minimum usage, so we're only out the electricity from the dryer.

mskyle

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Are you taking a lot more wet laundry (clothes that have been soaking, etc.) to the laundry? Because that could be driving your cost up a lot, since you're paying by the pound and water is heavy. You might be able to keep your fluff-and-fold lifestyle and still cut your bill at least a little bit if you consciously make an effort to 1) send clothes to the laundry DRY and 2) use lightweight layers for things that are likely to get grossed-up and protect your heavier-weight clothes.

Having a washer and/or dryer in unit is nice but even the little ones take up a fair amount of space. But it might be worth it at least right now when your kids are young (around here you can always find those little washers on Craigslist).

AZDude

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Is the $130 killing you financially? I'm just asking because your twins are 6 months old, which is prime time to spit, pee, puke, poop, and generally destroy your clothes and theirs. If you use cloth diapers then that increases things even more. However, this will not last forever, and another 6 months to a year from now, things will calm down even more and you can(mostly) wear one set of clothes per day.

Investing $300+ on a mini-washer plus dryer plus the added electrical and water costs will probably buy 3 months or so of $130/month laundry service. Plus I imagine a NY apartment is rather small, and those things will take up space and get rather noisy.

Young children play havoc with your decision making, and you might be overthinking things.

catccc

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I had a very similar machine to the link in the original post.  It was a Haier HLP21E.  It hooked up to the sink.  (I also didn't have a dishwasher, so my days were dishes and laundry, in that order...)  I also only had one baby at the time, but we did cloth diapers, and DH had a dirty job (farmer).  So it got used maybe 5 days a week, and often for consecutive loads.  If your laundry is currently running $130 a month, I think a machine like this is a worthwhile buy, paying for itself in 2-3 months.  Not to mention the convenience of being able to do it in your own home.

If you have a sink (maybe in the bathroom) with space near it that you can dedicate to your washing machine, that would be awesome.  We had a tiny apartment (399 sqft) and the machine took too much space sitting out in the middle of the kitchen.  It would not fit in the bathroom.  So I'd drag it out of a closet to the sink when I planned on using it.

Occasionally the machine would get a little wild during the spin cycle, and I'd have to run over and hold it down.  I also had to get a $2 mesh filter to keep fiber bits out of the sink.  So I could leave it, but I wouldn't leave the apartment while it was running.  Also, once, the outflow tube slipped away from the sink- but I heard the water and caught it pretty quickly.  After that we had a solution to ensure the tube would stay in place.  Overall, I really loved the machine and was so glad to have it.  I wouldn't have paid $1 per pound of laundry, but the laundromat was 2 blocks away, and the trek with a baby wouldn't have been fun, not to mention the time wasted sitting around the laundromat.  I would definitely buy it again if I found myself in a similar situation.  I think I used credit card points to get it, so it felt "free."

Except I wouldn't have to buy it again, anyway.  7 years later we still have it and I'm hesitant to give it up.  Our current rental has a full size washer and dryer, but it's been handy a time or two when the washer wasn't working.  I should really sell it.  And this is so stupid, but I'm sentimental about it!  Reselling when you don't need it anymore will offset part of your investment, too.  I would imagine in NYC someone would love to grab that up for $100.

We'd hang dry on a small rack from ikea.  Everything would dry overnight.  Even the prefold cloth diapers that are 6 layers thick in the middle.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 10:35:03 AM by catccc »

MsPeacock

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Any chance you can hire a college student or similar to take your laundry to the Laundromat once a week and run all the loads at once through washer and dryer and then just bring them back to you? Maybe you can pay someone $20 or so to do this? They can sit and study while the loads run.

Laundry has a way of piling up fast (and disgustingly) with young babies. It often can't sit for more than a day (or sometimes at all) when you really get a breach of the diaper containment field. If this is an issue than the portable machines might be the way to go, and you can later resell them (or maybe buy them used and then resell). I can recall some episodes of stomach viruses w/y kids when they were young that resulted in 6-8 loads of laundry *per day* for several days due to ... well, you can imagine.

Also, sometimes, the right temporary solution is just to spend the money in the interest of holding onto your sanity. Maybe check around and see if there is a cheaper laundry service, or one that will pick up, and contemplate longer-term solutions in another 6-12 months.

norabird

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Msguided is right, potentially you could task rabbit this. Or there are new app-style laundry pick-up services which might run promotions that'd save you money?

Cassie

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I bought my little machines when I lived in a small condo and I loved them. If was so nice not to go out to do laundry. They will pay for themselves in a short period of time. When I sold my condo I let them go with it for the next owner. The dryer was not noisy.  I would buy them. Definitely look at the sEars brand because we loved ours.

galliver

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I know New York is expensive and two babies are a lot of work, but in the interest of proposing something different: is moving on the table? Have you looked at options? Maybe moving farther from the city but on a good commute line for a lower price, etc? Also, do you have a car? that changes the viability of the laundromat some.

Even if that isn't a solution in and of itself, what is the plan as far as your home? Are you planning to stick with this apartment for a long time, size up as the babies grow into toddlers, move to the suburbs or a different town when they get near school-age, etc? If you're moving within a year or two, maybe you just tough it out, possibly continuing your laundry service. If you're moving in 5 years, maybe you can make do with the little washer + weekly or biweekly laundromat trip. If you aren't planning to move for 10 years or ever, maybe it would be worthwhile to find a compact washer/dryer combo that can hook up to a sink, or if your landlord would work with you to install hookups/vents.

TrMama

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I know New York is expensive and two babies are a lot of work, but in the interest of proposing something different: is moving on the table? Have you looked at options? Maybe moving farther from the city but on a good commute line for a lower price, etc? Also, do you have a car? that changes the viability of the laundromat some.

Even if that isn't a solution in and of itself, what is the plan as far as your home? Are you planning to stick with this apartment for a long time, size up as the babies grow into toddlers, move to the suburbs or a different town when they get near school-age, etc? If you're moving within a year or two, maybe you just tough it out, possibly continuing your laundry service. If you're moving in 5 years, maybe you can make do with the little washer + weekly or biweekly laundromat trip. If you aren't planning to move for 10 years or ever, maybe it would be worthwhile to find a compact washer/dryer combo that can hook up to a sink, or if your landlord would work with you to install hookups/vents.

I think this is the most sane approach. Your family has grown from 2 to 4. Having lots of laundry isn't a short term problem, it's going to be part of your life for the next 18 years. I also have 2 kids and the truth is that even though they get slightly less messy as they get older, the size of their clothes increases. So you can't stuff as many kid outfits into a load. If anything, I think we do more laundry now that they're older. Their clothes are bigger, their sheets are bigger, they use full size towels more often, etc.

My point is, you need a permanent solution to your permanent problem. Over the next year, either pressure your landlord into getting proper washer/dryer hookups installed, or find a new landlord. In the meantime, look for a laundromat. On that subject, do you really have to hang around while your clothes are washing? I take our giant comforter to a laundromat a couple times a year and I run errands elsewhere in the neighbourhood while it washes. It hasn't disappeared yet.