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Dos and Don'ts: Laundry Day

Welcome to the second installment of Dos and Don'ts, the monthly series in which I impart the wisdom I've gathered over 4 and a half semesters of college life to you, the reader. Don't worry, it's a lot more fun than it sounds.

This month, I'll be talking about something every college student needs to face eventually: laundry day. No matter how many clothes you own or how strong your devotion towards procrastination may be, you will eventually need to make the time to clean all your various clothing items. I was one of the freshmen who hadn't ever done laundry on their own before coming to college, so my first week of laundry was a mix of trial and error and whatever I could remember from my mother's quick lesson before move-in day. I can proudly say that I've never turned any of my clothes pink, but I also know that I'm probably one of the lucky ones. Here are some tips to make your laundry day as comfortable as possible--think of this post as fabric softener!

-DO plan your day around how long it will take to do your laundry. If you do laundry weekly like I do, you'll probably have built up enough dirty clothes to run for 3 or 4 loads, depending on how you separate it out. Taking into account a full wash cycle plus at least 50 minutes of time in the dryer (or longer, depending on the load), you're probably looking at around an hour and a half to complete one full load of clothes, give or take 15 minutes. If you're in a living situation where other people also have need of those washers and dryers, you'll need to time things just right to make room for others who need to use the machines. Thus, it behooves you to really schedule out what other responsibilities you have for the day and when you can find time to switch out laundry loads. Starting laundry at the top of the hour is a good way of keeping track of when you need to switch your loads--it's easier to count down from 9:00 a.m. than 3:17 p.m., after all. Feel free to do different tasks as your laundry is getting done, like homework or errands or blog posts (or all of the above if you're me), but always keep an eye on the clock.

-DON'T completely stuff a dryer with a huge load. I've learned the hard way that dryers, especially those found on campus, can't really tumble dry with too many clothes inside it. Things on the edges will be sort of dry, but everything else in the middle will be uncomfortably damp. If you have a large load like this, try separating them into two equal groups and drying them seperately to ensure they'll, you know, dry. This goes double for anything denim.

-DO try to do laundry on some day other than a weekend. In the dorms, pretty much everyone tries to do their laundry on Saturdays or Sundays, which means the washers and dryers will be perpetually full, and you'll probably only have access to one machine at a time. Way fewer people have the time to do laundry on a weekday, particularly during the mornings or early afternoons. If your schedule is free during those times, seize the advantage and get all of it done at once. Pretty much every dorm has between 4 and 7 washers and dryers available at any time (more if you live in Hayman Hall), and most of them are empty on Monday or Tuesday mornings. If you can get your hands on more than one machine, your laundry will get done far faster than it would on a weekend.

-DON'T run whites with colors. This is Laundry 101. The dyes in the colored fabrics, especially red fabrics, will bleed into non-colored ones in water. Unless you really want pink socks, just do two separate loads. Seriously. I don't care how small that white load is, just run it anyway. Add bleach if that makes you feel better. That'll keep those whites brighter.

-DO practice good laundry room etiquette. I know you're probably quite busy with classes and such, but leaving your laundry in the washer or the dryer is neither good for your clothes or polite to others who need those machines. Promptly remove your laundry from those machines--this will make sure your clothes don't get too wrinkled and keep your neighbors happy with you. Back when I lived in Hayman, I was often a bit lax about this, but after a few times of seeing my clothes unceremoniously thrown on a table far beyond the dryer, I learned my lesson. Plus, a friend of mine said he liked to steal a sock from dryers that hadn't been emptied in over an hour. No one likes losing socks, right? (On the other side of things, if you really must use a machine that has finished its cycle, make sure you place the clothes neatly either on top of the machine or at a nearby table. Like, super neatly if you can. And a note is even better.)

-DON'T leave it until the last possible day. Procrastination is in our blood as college students, but come on, if you're down to your last set of underwear and final clean t-shirt, you're making it harder on yourself. If anything, you're just going to be spending even more time on your laundry because there's even more of it now. Just suck it up and hit start, and it'll be through in a few hours.

-Clayton Gefre

Clayton is a junior creative writing major from Meridian, Idaho.

P.S. I promised you pictures from my Halloween adventures, and I shall deliver. I took pictures once again at a party thrown by Campus Ministries, which was a total blast. (Yes, that is me in the Pac-Man costume. Represent.)