As part of my 2018 project to simplify my daily life as much as possible, I took a look at regularly recurring chores to see if there was a way to optimize them. The main idea behind optimization is to look for patterns of actions that you repeat, and try to perform the action as few times as possible. One of the areas where I identified some optimization wiggle room was an area that many people find boring but necessary: doing laundry.
I already have made a few improvements to my laundry routine, so let me explain. Firstly, I do have both a washing machine and dryer in my apartment – but I never use them. The reason is simple: They are made for the consumer market, which means that they are small, noisy, and slow. In my household, there are three persons (me, my brother, and our tenant), and if we all would do our laundry there it would mean that the machine and dryer would have to be in use almost 24/7 since it can only handle one load at a time. It would be stressful, produce lots of noise, and significantly raise my electrical bill. I quickly learned this lesson a few years ago when I got my first tenant. She (ab)used the poor machine like there was no tomorrow – at one point she did laundry as much as FIVE times in 3 days! I mean come on lady, not even a small hotel has that kind of laundry needs. What was she doing, washing one sock at a time? It drove both my electrical bill and insanity through the roof.
I had to do something, and I instigated a new home routine which entails using the huge laundry room of the apartment complex once per week. The three industrial grade machines there are large enough to handle all our weekly laundry in one go – and it doesn’t cost me a dime of electricity. There is also a big room to hang dry stuff. I never use machine dryers, as I think it is one of the most wasteful and unnecessary (but common) machines in any household. Why pay for something that nature will take care of for free? You never need something you take straight out of the washer anyway.
But back to the point. Doing laundry in the apartment complex room requires walking there with our laundry and detergent, then walking back. And when it’s finished, walk there to hang it, and walk back. And when it’s dry, walk there to get, and back. All this walking here and there locks up time, and we often forget the time which has cost us the access to the room. So my plan is to eliminate this as much as possible by instead doing all my laundry only 1 time per week.
There are clear benefits to this. I can book the conference room next to the washing room and stay there to study or work on stuff while the washing is in process. There is also a big ironing board, and I can can bring along my steamer and finally try it out! If I make it sort of a half-day chore, I’ll eliminate the unnecessary walking and fill out the dead time in between machines with productive work right next to the room. I can even book the sauna and reward myself with a nice cleansing relax there after the washing is done.
So what do I need to put the plan into action? By my own estimation, it would require about 35 pairs of socks and compression shorts (as I never wear underwear). It would also require a bit more undershirts, maybe 2 more pair of pants, and a little bit more workout clothes. All of this is well within my reach. Eastbay is having a compression shorts sale, socks are cheap, and I’m planning on upgrading my workout wardrobe anyway. The only pain point here is the undershirts. I haven’t really found a brand that I’m totally satisfied yet, so I’ll have to go out hunting.
All in all, I think it’s a good plan! I’ll start implementing it as soon as I’m back from my exchange studies in Singapore. Expect an evaluation!