Wash & Fold

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Do Manhattanites know when to hold EM’ and when to fold EM’?

Not everyone has the luxury of having a washing machine. As a matter of fact, most people in New York send out their laundry. In a city where you can have your groceries, sundries, meals, meds, massages and heaven knows what else delivered, why not have your laundry picked up and delivered to your door that same day?

Calling before work for pick up. It will take them exactly three minutes to run over and pick up your two overstuffed bags and cart them away before you hop in the shower. “For today! And use fabric softener please!”

Walking home from work, you hit speed dial and you ask for the delivery guy to meet you at your door with your clean loot. Sure there is tipping involved, and it is $1.00 a pound, but you can’t beat the service. “Put it on my tab!”

 Not having a washing machine in your apartment inevitably has downfalls. Smelly towels or really soiled dish towels need to be thrown out. You have no choice but to hand wash them or toss them in with the rest of your stuff. The thought of a dish towel with chicken grease getting tossed in with my PJ’s isn’t gonna cut it. Hand washing delicates is a given in the city, but hand washing towels are virtually impossible.

If you are lucky enough to have an outside space, you could hang stuff over railings, chairs or a clothesline, but seriously, we don’t want to bring down the neighborhood or show bloomers and tighty whities to the neighbors, do we?

The hazards of wash & fold. Gambling with your laundry for the sake of convenience.”Know when to walk away, know when to run.” Yup another quote by Kenny Rogers but so true!unnamed-2

  •  Losing some of your fave things
  •  Socks rarely return in pairs
  •  The dreaded neighborhood grab bag. This is when you get other people’s clothing articles in your laundry bag. They will tell you straight up that your clothes are washed alone, but mysteriously you find a random baby sock or men’s undies. You can’t avoid the occasional neighborhood grab bag.
  •  You ask for fabric softener, but there is a chance you will get back a bunch of crinkly stiff sheets and towels.
  •  There are also those few super annoying times when you call your local launderer to get the mother lode of all laundry bags, including your last pair of undies, and you realize they are closed for the next two days, closed five minutes ago, or never opened today due to bad weather.
  •  The Murphy’s Law of laundry bags. You’re in a rush to get out the door, it’s a date, a meeting or whatever! You walk over to your laundry bag and you can’t get the knot out! How on earth did they tie it? You pick, you pull, you twist, you even consider cutting or ripping it open.
  •  Oh, don’t get me started on when paying top dollar for dry cleaning, they lose or ruin something of yours. Miraculously that exact day nobody in the shop speaks any English. At which time they send you on a wild goose chase for the next six months, asking millions of questions about the garment in question and never doing anything about it. I call this don’t ask, don’t tell, because they don’t want you asking about your lost garment anymore and they don’t want to tell you another lie. They already know you will still be a returning customer because, let’s face it, you live on the block.

 Why brave New Yorkers still send laundry out despite the gamble

  •  Convenience! Convenience! Convenience!
  •  The launderers somehow fold everything so perfectly. You could just lift it out of the bag and neatly stick it in the closet. I’ll never know how they make everything so compact, but it’s great for small city apartments.unnamed-1
  •  Can’t beat the price
  •  Saves hours of your life
  •  Frees up time for doing many more fun and productive things
  • Upon walking down your block, your laundry peeps will wave or give you a head nod. This adds to the sense of community.

In a big city like NY, having your face recognized or your name remembered is a feat in itself. If sending out your duds adds to the pep in your step, I’m all for it!

Big thanks to or models Nia Lawrence and Alyssa Guzman. Photo’s by Carl Spataro.

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