Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Covering All Bases

So there is a distinct possibility I MAY have a second roommate moving in. Maybe. I'm kind of excited about this to be quite honest with all of you.

Anyway, it's laundry day week for me. And by that I mean I've pretty much neglected washing my clothes for weeks and I'm working through the stuff I don't normally wear anymore. Given the fact that I take the more European approach to clothes (wear them more than once if they aren't actually dirty), this means I haven't done laundry in a while (save a load of undergarments 2 weeks ago).

Most of you probably already read FB's blog Fabulously Broke, but if you haven't sauntered over to her other blog The Everyday Minimalist I'd suggest you check it out. She did a post a couple days ago about how people dry their clothes around the world that got me waxing nostalgic about my university days. When I moved into my apartment I bought one of those folding drying racks from IKEA to hang my delicates to dry on. It was under $20 at the time, and was one of the smartest purchases I made during that timeframe.

Now, I grew up in a rural area, on an acreage, where you get dirty looking after the animals/gardening. My dad is a mechanic, so you can be sure he gets pretty dirty too. We had one of those extra large washers that advertised it would wash 20 pairs of jeans at once, along with the matching dryer. You could do a lot of laundry in my parent's washer. Imagine my horror at realizing that my apartment only had 1 tiny washer and dryer per floor (Shall we say 3-4 pairs of jeans?), and that it would cost me $2.50 a load to wash, and $2 a load for ~25 minutes in the dryer (plus more for extra drying time).


It didn't take much mental math to figure out that I wasn't going to be using that washer and dryer. I just flat out refused, both for the sake of my wallet and out of principle.

I spent my entire 3rd year of university washing my clothes in my bath tub, and hanging them to dry on every surface I could find in my apartment. I lived alone, so I really didn't really have to worry about pissing off my roommates doing that. The only thing that caused me grief was my bedding, which I periodically took down to the laundry mat. I stuffed as much clothing into those industrial washers as possible to save myself the tub washing, but that only happened when I had a load of sheets to wash.

By 4th year I did pay to use the apartment machines occasionally for convenience sake; senior design projects sure do know how to take the wind out of you. But, I still tub washed a lot of my clothes.

Fast forward a few more years and I'm now paying to have clothes dry cleaned. Why? Because I bought a tonne of clothes for work that were dry clean only.

That was smart. S-M-R-T....

I had been cursing the cost of cleaning my clothes, when I looked down at my jeans and realized they also had a dry clean only tag.

Seriously???? It's 98% cotton and 2% lycra! Since when is cotton dry clean only?!?

Seeing as my jeans had already been unceremoniously thrown in the washer and *gasp* didn't shrink, it got me thinking about my other clothes. Why are they dry clean only? What are they made of?

Cotton. Wool. Lycra. Cashmere. Polyester.

Funny, none of those fabrics in and of themselves are dry clean only materials. Cold water hand wash sure, but dry clean? Nah. From what I understand cashmere actually does worse at the dry cleaner's than it does in hand washing.

My wallet hurts thinking about the fact that it's been duped.

I have one dress that I bought in Paris which reads "Special Dry Clean Only". From what I gathered (googled) that meant it was to be sent to "trusted" dry cleaners only. That dress will continue to be dry cleaned.

The rest? You guys have a date with my tub, ASAP. Enjoy the cold bath.


Louise said...

It's interesting hearing what other people do with clothes. Until I started blogging I had no idea that in some places clotheslines are not allowed.

I don't wash clothes after every wear either. They don't need washing if they are not dirty and it just makes them wear out quicker uses more water & electricity and makes more work.

Daisy said...

I've never ever gone to the dry cleaners. I must confess that my 2 year old winter jacket has never, ever been washed.Saying it out loud is kind of embarrassing haha.

Anonymous said...

I am all about clothes lines and hanging clothes up to dry too. I think the only things I put in the dryer are those big bulky sweaters that take forever to dry and socks. I've gotten in the habit too of checking labels before I buy anything. The only dry-clean only clothes I'll buy are dresses and coats.

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com said...

I never dryclean either. Too cheap, but mostly lazy.

The only thing I dryclean is my white wool coat each year. I have to. It looks nasty if I don't.

The rest? I just handwash.

Cassie said...

I've been going to the dry cleaner's for a year and I can honestly say it's a pain. There are a couple items I'll have to keep getting cleaned (winter coats, etc...), but I'm going to try to stop going there as much as possible.

Anybody have any ideas for what to do with wire hangers? I have a pile of them at home, but I use wooden ones for my clothes.

Louise said...

I donated all my wire hangers to the op shops, they can use them or give them away

Cassie said...

What are op shops?

The Asian Pear said...

We handwash at home for most things. I do admit that I take jackets to drycleaners though. That's because they're big and bulky though. And my machine can't take them either.

banclothing said...

I worked at a dry cleaner when I was in high school. I found out most items get washed in water rather than in chemicals.. that's right, they don't get treated any differently than you would at home. The things that got chemically cleaned were mostly suits and jackets. Even wedding dresses were thrown into a washer exactly like the one you have at home.

Cassie said...

@The Asian Pear - It's kind of hard to dry winter coats all the way through too.

@banclothing - You should do a post on that!!

Kim said...

Dry cleaner conspiracy! In league with the garment makers!

Cassie said...

Lol, you know Kim, I wouldn't be surprised