Apartment Living – Laundry part deus

Among all the joys of apartment living, not much ranks up there with the friendly competition for the laundry units. At 9:00AM you can practically see the residents lining up to steal the machines as soon as the time locks on the doors open. Hoo BOY!

Today though, we will talk about the machines themselves. The washers are all HE (high efficiency) units. That means that you really don’t need much detergent to run a load.  Really, about 2 & 1/2 tablespoons of Tide or your detergent of choice is all that is needed for a large load. (in the photo above, the cup on the left is all you need for a full load, on the right is the “usual” detergent scoop)

How wonderful is that?  Detergent lasts a long time, clothes get clean, and all is happy, right?

Well, not so fast. It seems that the HE revolution is lost on all our neighbors, so continue to dump a cup or a cup and a half of detergent in each load.

Not only is this a waste (and believe me, most of my neighbors would enjoy spending less on their detergent), but it leads to a nasty side effect.

Namely, our clothes will smell like the perfume in the detergent last used. Ugh, heavy scent in all our loads, and worse yet, it seems to change.

Apartment Living – Competitive Laundry

Continuing on in the vein of apartment living adjustments, this episode will be about the laundry situation. As the units do not have hookups for washers and dryers, we have four laundry rooms spread across the campus. Open from 9:00AM until 10:00PM, they are convenient oases for those needing to do laundry.

Of course, there are wrinkles.

First – machine hogs

The doors unlock at precisely 9:00AM, and by 9:00:32 all the washers are full and running. The early crowd gets in and monopolizes the rooms.

This drives my wife nuts, as she walks down with our laundry in a basket to find all the machines occupied, even when she is early (for her).

Second – broken machines

The MachinesAs the tenants aren’t the owners of the machines, they often are out of service. Perhaps they overfilled it, and ran it too full, or perhaps it is just time for something to break. Regardless of the root cause, far too many of the machines are inoperable.

There is of course a phone number to call for service, and tenants can call, but most do not. In fact I would say that virtually none of them will call. They seem to assume that the property management team will track and report the non-functioning machines. But since they do not do their laundry, unless someone complains, they do not know to call.

My wife has reported broken machines in three of our 4 laundry rooms. Finally they are being fixed. Hopefully, that will reduce the contention for the machines.

Rays of light

One thing that is cool, is that instead of needing a fistful of quarters, the machines use smartcards that are rechargeable. No need to make a special trip to the bank to buy rolls of quarters.


Life in an apartment is interesting. Having lived in condo’s and houses for the last 15 years have insulated me from some of the frictions that are in normal lives. So it is good to experience the other side.

I am just hoping that we can afford a house when our lease is up here and we can move into something that is more permanent.