Dorm Laundry Rooms, Functional But Stressful

Congratulations. You have been accepted at the University. We have received your top five choices for on-campus housing. Your housing preferences have been processed and you are set to live on campus for the academic year, beginning in the fall. One of the many perks to be experienced from living on-campus will be the laundry room which will be shared between you and about three hundred students. Enjoy.

The following is a general description of most dorm laundry rooms. The laundry room resides in the basement. Most may get a claustrophobic feeling while doing laundry if it was not for the large window above the dryers. Although it has bars over it, the window provides the most comfort of any other object in the room. When one steps into the laundry room on their left is six washers. Moving clockwise, there is a garbage in the left corner, a sink straight ahead, a wobbly table with bins of forgotten clothing items in the right corner, and eight dryers on the right wall.The washers and dryers produce the only sound heard in the laundry room aside from the occasional conversation. The closest thing to decoration in the laundry room, are the posters which cover the walls. The posters give directions as to how to use the laundry room appliances and what is considered common courtesy to the fellow students, as far as laundry room behavior goes. The walls themselves are a standard white plaster with holes one does not necessarily need to search for. The floor is a detergent stained concrete which tilts inward towards a drain in the middle. The room is often stuffy with heat and moisture coming from the washers and dryers. The smell is typically a mixture of the scent from Tide Pods and Downy Unstopables. Both are the more popular products used by the students who live on-campus.

It seems silly that this number of appliances are expected to work for three hundred people. Sometimes it does work, like one Wednesday morning at 8:30 AM. I went into the laundry room to wash my sheets, was surprised by the lack of sound and found myself to be alone in the laundry room. But this is a rare occasion, most will choose to do their laundry during the weekends when they do not have classes. This, as you can imagine, can cause some issues.

Before the academic year began every resident, including myself, was invited to a closed group on Facebook. It began as a way to get to know your future neighbors ahead of time. Meet ups were planned, more Facebook groups for every individual floor was made, and general questions about college life were answered. Today the typical posts will be promoting hall events, asking if anyone has milk, and the most common of them all. People complaining about laundry room behavior.

One resident posted this, “Hey just a friendly reminder to get your stuff from the laundry room in case you forgot! No rush, but there’s already a wet pile on top of one and a couple that are almost done! Just seems busy”.

Some posts like this, but a tad more aggressive, have been deleted because of comments challenging the point of the post. One I saw from last weekend, said something along the lines of please do not move someones laundry until it has been done for a little while. Then someone commented basically saying if you care so much then show up before it is done.

But most are like this, “Hi everyone, please remember to grab your laundry, the laundry room is chaotic right now! Thanks”. Another saying, “Hey guys, apparently it’s laundry night, so please try to be prompt in getting your stuff! Thanks!” It really is a never ending stream of friendly or not so friendly reminders.

This is a major flaw that comes with college laundry rooms. However, there seems to be shades of grey in what is proper behavior in the laundry room. One might say you can move someones clothes to the dryer if they have left it in the wash for some time. Another, would disagree and say that not all clothes are supposed to be dry and could be ruined. I interviewed freshmen, Kaitlyn Sanders, about her opinion on the laundry room.

“Sometimes people take clothes out of the machines and I don’t think that is very nice. But its also not very nice to leave your clothes in the machines for an extended period of time.” Said Sanders. This, unfortunately, is not the only problem with college dorm laundry rooms.

Sometimes the washers timer will malfunction and be stuck on a certain time, then the clothes will come out soaking wet. Luckily, this problem is somewhat solved with the sink in the laundry room. I myself have used the sink to ring out the water from my clothes or sheets multiple times. Another problem is that the washers lock during a cycle but the dryers do not. Believe it or not, residents will open someone else’s dryer and take out their stuff, no matter how much time is left, and replace it with their own clothing.

It is easy to find these laundry room horror stories. I have heard many from the other residents and have a few myself. But, the stories you never hear about is when a persons laundry will work out just fine. A couple weeks ago I had the worst time doing my laundry, everything went wrong from soaked sheets to inconsiderate and impatient people. Because of that experience, I hated the laundry room. Just thinking about the day that would come where I would have to use it again made me stress out. Hear comes the boring story no one hears. A week later I had to wash my sheets again and everything went perfectly fine. I simply washed my sheets, then I dried my sheets. Nothing went wrong and I did not encounter any difficult people.

It is easy to complain about dorm laundry rooms, or any place really. We seek out the negative and when the positive happens we ignore it. Yes, the laundry room has flaws and many of them. But it functions and does not get enough credit for doing just that.