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Living without a washer and dryer sucks big time. First, it stinks to have to “sit with your laundry.” I have distracted myself with a couple of trips to the Dollar Store in between loads, but honestly, the appeal is wearing off quickly. Plus, leaving your belongings unattended can be a little creepy. The phone connection is never great and even when I bring a book, the chairs aren’t anything to write home about.

So, if you ever find yourself regularly using the laundromat, here’s a couple of tips to make it less painful:

Sort BEFORE you go.

The key is to get in and get out. Your time is valuable and being able to walk in and drop a bunch of loads in at once can save a ton of time. Being able to simply swipe your loyalty card saves a lot of frustration if you’re trying to count out quarters.

Strive for simplicity.

For the same reasons above, do all stain pre-treatments before you go. Also, this just means you have to carry less in with you. Lugging in the laundry is bad enough. Keep things simple by only bringing laundry, detergent (detergent tabs are even better) and dryer sheets. Bare bones, my friends, bare bones.

The added bonus of having the ozone feature with the washers means your clothes are washing better and drying faster.

Choose an off-ish hour.

Now, I am not suggesting going in at 1 a.m. In fact, I would caution you against that, but being able to go in and do every load at one time (using 3-4 washers) is a real time saver. Middle of the day seems to be best… evenings after work or Saturday and Sundays are busy, though, so getting enough washers and dryers to do all the work at once is trickier.

Take the time to wipe out the washers and dryers before you use them.

Listen, I am not really a germaphobe, but you can’t be sure that that washer didn’t get used to wash a puke-stained comforter from the Frat house down the street. It’s a basic precaution.

Smell the machine before you use it.

Yep, you read that right. Gross? Yes, it really is, but you aren’t smelling it for that reason. Smell to see if someone used bleach in it the cycle before you. If so, avoid putting your darks in it. Sometimes, people go buck nuts with the bleach, and boom, next think you know, your jeans are acid washed. Not good.

Bring a large black garbage bag.

The weather here in Illinois can turn on you fast, and quite frankly, after stuffing your washed work clothes into a dryer, the last thing you want to do is take your freshly dried laundry out into the rain. Plus, if you don’t mind damp clothes, you can always wear it in the rain.

Loyalty card at the ready.

With a cashless system, it is nice not having to lug around rolls of quarters. For security reasons, you may not be comfortable whipping out your debit card or credit card. That’s when the loyalty card is even more handy. You can cut your time down even more by pre-loading your loyalty. The good news is that you can reload your card from your phone.

Remember to check all of the settings.

Whoever did laundry before you might have turned the settings to a small load on scorching hot. Check all of the settings, each and every time you wash to make sure.

Don’t wander off.

I know it is hard to just sit there while your laundry is washing, but remember leave your churning clothes unattended at your own risk. If you don’t get back in time, someone may just take the liberty of piling your clothes on top of one of the tables in order to use the machine. No one needs their unmentionables on display for all of the laundromat patrons to see.

Remember to bring a basket to bring all of your laundry home in.

The bags you hauled them in will work, but you may have a wrinkled mess by the time you get home. I like to stash a basket in the back of the car, and then, when it is time, quickly fold the laundry and drape the hang-up clothing over the top.

Any of you seasoned laundromat pros out there? What are your tips for surviving the laundromat? Let us know on our Facebook page!