Going to college can be a life-changing experience. You’re in a new environment, making your own decisions, living life. There’s a great feeling of freedom and independence that comes along with that. However, those same advantages can also become drawbacks. Being on your own also means that you have to be responsible for yourself.
When you’re away at college, your parents won’t be around anymore to ask if your room is clean, or if the dishes are done. They won’t be there to make sure you did your paper or do your laundry for you. Honestly speaking, it takes some getting used to. The adjustment period can be a huge learning curve. You will eventually get the hang of it, we promise. We’re not your parents. We can’t force you to clean your room or make sure your dishes are done, but we can help you with that laundry, especially if you’re a first-timer. Here are some of our tips and tricks for doing your own laundry.
- Set a schedule. Determine how often you’re going to do your laundry. It varies from person to person depending on your schedule or necessities. Some people do laundry once a week, every two weeks or once a month. It all depends on you and your lifestyle. Setting a schedule in advance and sticking to it as best you can help you plan better when it comes to things like buying detergent/fabric softener, budgeting the money to actually wash/dry the clothes, and setting aside the time it takes. Doing laundry usually takes about two hours on average. We recommend weekends as the best time to do it.
- Organize! It’s is a skill that will serve you well in your college career, so it only makes sense that it spills over into your personal life. In order to make laundry as painless as possible, you must organize. Don’t just decide to do laundry one day and dump all the clothes into one machine. Sort them into piles before you even go near a washer. The simplest way is to separate the colors from the whites first, then go on from there. Wash whites in hot water and add bleach for extra whiteness. Colors can be washed in warm or cold water, and bleach is not necessary.
- READ THE LABELS! This step is very very important so pay close attention. While sorting your clothes, read the labels carefully. Different types of fabric, styles, and colors all factor into how something should be washed or even dried. For example, some denim styles need a cold water wash with similar colors or inside out. There are some shirts and blouses that have to be hung up and air-dried instead of putting in the dryer. There are some clothes, with “dry clean only” labels. This means that it has to be carefully handled by a professional at the dry cleaners. Watch out for those. Usually, you can determine the kind of care a garment needs by reading the tags on the inside. At times it may seem tedious but trust us. Taking the time to do so is better than rushing and ruining your clothes later.
- Don’t be cheap. By this, we mean buying your detergent and/or fabric softener. We understand the college student budget can be limited at times, but quality matters more than the price here. If you’re a first-timer and unsure of what to buy, call your parents and ask what they use. After all, they should know! Also, read the labels on the front of the detergents and fabric softeners before you buy them. That gives a clue to what it does for your clothes.
- Try not to let it pile up. For some people, laundry is not their favorite household chore. However, that doesn’t make it ok to procrastinate when it comes to laundry either. That only makes it worse. It becomes longer, even more tedious, and it might cost more money in the end. Additionally, having a mountain of dirty clothes in your room or apartment can start to smell after a while. We all know that’s never a good sign.
- Never leave your things unattended. This includes clothes, laundry detergent, fabric softener, etc. Whenever you’re using to do laundry or have with you at the moment. Whenever you finish using something, just take it with you back to your room or apartment. Be sure to check the laundry facility twice before leaving. This helps cut down on confusion if something happens to go missing at any time. Also, keep an eye on your clothes while they’re washing. That doesn’t mean you have to sit and stare at the machines, but just be mindful of the time it takes to wash or dry. In some places, if your clothes are left unattended in the washer or dryer the next person waiting to go has the right to remove them. This can cause conflict. To avoid that, when your clothes are done remove them promptly so that the machines may be used by the next person.
- Always make sure that your clothes are dry. This is especially important if you plan to wear them the same day. Perhaps on a break between classes or during some downtime, you might be tempted to put a load of laundry in the wash. That’s perfectly fine, just make sure you don’t forget them, and also give them time to dry–even if that means they have to air dry a bit while you’re in class or something. Then put them in the dryer later to make sure. Physically wearing wet clothes is not a good feeling. Clothes that are not fully dry can mildew. When that happens, throw them away they’re ruined. Here’s a rule of thumb, if you begin taking your clothes out and you feel some damp spots, just throw them in for another cycle on a lower setting. Better safe than sorry.
- Fold them and put them away as soon as possible. This is to prevent wrinkles in your clothes. The longer you wait to fold them, the more wrinkled they become. If you can, try to shoot for before you leave the laundry facility. If you’d rather just throw your clothes in the bag or basket then go, you could do that too. Just make sure you fold them when you get back to your room. It also doesn’t hurt to spend time ironing to make sure your clothes look presentable.
Doing your own laundry is never fun, but it’s a part of growing up, There are plenty of things from here on out that you will have to do that won’t be your favorite things. The point is, that you’re learning how to take care of and be responsible for you. With a little help of course. That is one of the most important lessons that you will ever learn.