Doing laundry is the simplest yet most mundane household chore. Literally all you have to do is put the dirty clothes in a big machine, press some buttons and then remove them 30 minutes later to put them in the dryer. The whole process (including sorting and putting away) takes about two hours. However it’s not the actual act of doing laundry that’s the hard part. The hard part is the few days before you finally crack and accept the fact you have to do it. Including procrastination, denying that you’re out of clean clothes, and finding any excuse to not have to do it, the true laundry process takes around a week.
The first stage of ‘doing-your-washing’ is panic. You notice that your laundry basket is getting a little full and some of the items in the pile have only been worn for a few hours. You make all sorts of promises to yourself that you will get as much use as possible out of your clothes before classifying them as ‘dirty’ in the future. Also, it can be bloody expensive to do washing. According to a survey, nearly nine in ten York students prefer to take their laundry home rather than actually do it at uni.
The second stage is denial. Sure, all your jumpers need washed and you only have two T shirts left and it’s the middle of winter. You convince yourself you can definitely get away with another week before you have to wash your clothes. You’ll just have to walk really slow everywhere so that you don’t break a sweat and eat really carefully to avoid stains.
The third stage is acceptance. You come to terms with the fact that you need to do your washing because the only clothes you have left is a mermaid costume from Halloween. You can’t show up to lectures in that. Now the final challenge is just finding the time to do washing. If you had done it a few days ago when you were relatively free, it would have been fine. Now you’re going to have to do it at an awkward time of day and on a day where you’re already stretched.
Anger is the fourth stage. How could you have let so much washing build up?! Now you have to carry a bag that weighs a ton all the way to the laundry rooms. For some students, this can be halfway across town or campus. Hating yourself more with every step, you drag your huge bag for life full of smelly clothes to the laundry rooms, only to find that all of the machines are full and you’re going to have to wait for someone to come and take their clothes out. The most annoying thing ever is when the timer on a washing machine is complete but the person doesn’t show up straight away to take their clothes. You are then faced with a decision: wait for another machine to finish or take the clothes out and put them on top of the machine? If you wait, you could be there for ages and if you take the clothes out and the owner walks in, you run the risk of looking like a wet clothes thief.
The fifth stage, relief, comes only when you’ve hung your clothes up. Finally, you can relax for another two weeks before repeating the exact same process.