Not throwing in the towel during COVID-19 pandemic

Apartment dweller faces the challenge of washing clothes in communal laundry room

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as I do not have my own washing machine or dryer but must use the communal laundry facilities in my apartment building, laundry has become one of the many things I have been apprehensive to do.

Even a place normally associated with cleanliness felt almost as dirty as the unwashed laundry itself. The thought of going in there, or even taking the elevator to get there, was enough to make my skin crawl.

For the first weeks of the pandemic, I wore almost the same clothes every day, so I figured there was no rush to do the laundry and I put it off for nearly three weeks.

However, one day when my husband and I were both almost out of clean socks or underwear, I decided to wash a few things by hand.

Trouble was, they took almost three days to dry. While I joked that perhaps it was time for me to get an old-fashioned scrub board, I knew I had to accept the fact that hand-washing wasn’t going to work for me.

A few days later, I braced myself and ventured down for my first trip to the laundry room since the pandemic struck.

I was relieved to see a note on the door requesting that a maximum of four people be there at once. Even so, I worried that not everyone can be counted on to properly social distance in a confined space, no matter how well-intended they may be.

Once the laundry was done, instead of putting my clothes down on a flat surface to fold them, I threw everything into a basket and got out of there as fast as I could. Tossing aside concern for clothes getting creased or crumpled, I brought it all back upstairs to my apartment to fold.

Overflowing basket

Afterward, I put doing laundry out of my head again until almost six weeks after the state of emergency had been declared.

With every clean towel in the place having been used by this point, instead of throwing in another load, I resorted instead to using beach towels, despite that they are not all that absorbent.

My laundry basket was overflowing with linens. I had been using any old mix-and-match sheets I could find in my linen closet, some of which had not seen the light of day for several years.

For the time being, matching towels and other home décor have been put on the back burner. I must confess I have even begun to relax the rules about the frequency of when I replace the sheets and towels, just so I can avoid doing more laundry.

The other day, after running out of beach towels too, I finally broke down and washed the sheets and towels. I was happy to discover that our building management has put more strict guidelines in place for residents, including reducing the number from four to three people being permitted in the laundry room at any given time.

Still, I was relieved when the whole ordeal was over.

I am happy to report my linen closet is now filled with clean, matching sheets and towels, and that I won’t have to worry about doing more laundry any time soon.

Although I hope not to have to repeat the exercise for as long as possible, I haven’t completely thrown in the towel.


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Posted: May 3 2020 9:39 am