Somewhere somehow in the last few years I became an adult. One could argue that it was when I went to college, maybe traveled to Africa or moved with my boyfriend across the country to survive on my own. All are very big moments, and could have been a part of it, but honestly... I think that it could have been when I started doing my own laundry.
Now this isn't to say that I didn't do my laundry when I lived under my parent's roof, but there is something inherently different about doing laundry in a public place surrounded by complete strangers. Something oddly personal, embarassing and humbling. For six years, I have washed my clothes pubicly in dorms, apartments or in buckets in Africa. I have not had the pleasure of an in-home washer and dryer for that long. Fingers crossed that within a year I might have the opportunity to sort my whites and darks without creepy men learing at my towels (as long as fingers are crossed...a dishwasher as well).
With six years of public washing under my belt, I have learned quite a bit, and I thought that I would share....
1) If you are freshman in a dorm and you leave your laundry unattended for ten minutes after the washer or dryer has stopped, be prepared for all your undies and bras to go missing. It is a guarantee that a pervert will steal them at least once during your dorm stay. Actually, if you live in an apartment building...this will happen as well.
2) It's totally okay not to sort your darks from your whites. As long as there are no reds, no big deal. Be prepared though for all your whites to slowly turn gray.
3) After not sorting your darks from your whites for years, be crazy for once, buy a little bleach and add a bit to your whites. Your mind will be blown.
4) Be prepared to battle it out for washers or dryers. Throw a pair of pants in quickly in the dryer to claim it before other people can grab it.
5) You will hate people who do #4
6) NEVER got in between a woman and her claimed washer/dryer. It is like getting in-between a bear and her cub.
7) Always check twice for socks sticking to sides of washers or dryers. Yesterday I got over a dozen dress socks and a man's shirt because the guy before me did not check. I am pretty sure I threw away his entire sock collection.
8 ) Be prepared for laundry prices to rise at any time. When I started out doing public laundry six years ago, it was $1.00 for the washer and $1.25 for the dryer. Inflation has now made costs raise to $1.75 each wash and $1.75 for a dry.
9) If you dry your clothes on the highest setting on the dryer, they will shrink. If you don't ... your clothes will be damp. Decide which matters more...too tight of pants, or slightly wet pants all day.
10) If you are traveling somewhere where you are going to be doing laundry out of a bucket with dirty stream water, bring enough pairs of undies for the entire stay. I went to Africa for 3 months and brought 90 pairs of undies. Worth every penny.
11) There will ALWAYS be a creepy man hanging out in the laundry room corner. This is a scientific fact. He will watch you way too closely as you fold clothes.
12) Never buy white towels. You will regret this decision. Somethings are better left unknown.
When I was a kid, I never dreamed that being an adult and maturity would be a result of the above lessons, but here I am at age 23 and as you can see.... I am wise beyond my years due to airing my dirty laundry in public.