• Posts Tagged ‘laundry’

    The Necessary Evil – Dry Cleaning Expenses

    by  • March 29, 2012 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    Dry Cleaning

    Such an innocent-looking money suck.

    Image: Rob

    This weekend, I surveyed the damage done. How much would it cost, I wondered? Surely more than I wanted to pay. Did I have to do it? Yes, I did – any attempts to solve the problem on my own would only result in a more costly expense. So I steeled myself, and readied my wallet for the inevitable blow.

    Am I referencing a horrible home expense? A disaster of epic proportions that needed to be paid for? No – my apprehension relates entirely to an ongoing expense that I can’t get rid of, no matter how hard I try – dry cleaning.

    Before I started my current job, I worked in professions where “business casual” wasn’t so much the required attire as just “casual.” I could throw on some nice jeans and a blouse, and be considered well-dressed for the job. Now, however, it’s suits, pencil skirts, and blouses, all day, every day. While I’ve enjoyed building a wardrobe an adult can be proud of, I’ve been floored by the expense of upkeep. Even with careful maintenance – ironing skirts and pants that can be worn a few times without cleaning, machine-washing those items that clearly aren’t necessary to dry-clean – there comes a point where I just have to take things to be cleaned, and then I get to drop my jaw at the $16 cost of cleaning a dress, or the miserable discrepancy between laundering my button-downs as opposed to my husband’s (it’s $4 more to clean a woman’s shirt, apparently).

    My husband has also joined in on the horror. He has interviews and conferences to attend, and as a result, has a far higher dry cleaning bill than he ever did as a hapless undergrad. He makes a similar effort – hanging up pants, ironing where he can – but at a certain point, it’s unavoidable. I know some people who apply a Darwinian method to their clothing – throw it all in one washing machine and dryer, and whatever comes out alive deserves to be worn. While it’s tempting, I just can’t bring myself to throw a $300 three-piece suit into the washing machine. What if it shrinks? (And it surely will). I also have to admit that my sad ironing attempts pale in comparison to the dry cleaner’s – I can’t seem to get that sharp crease in the pant that they can.

    This is also an area where we won’t tally up our yearly costs. I like to try to cut expenses where I can, and sometimes looking at a huge number can be a useful wake-up call (I spent how much on eating out? Etc.). But with dry cleaning, I know it would just depress me.

    Is there an expense in your life that’s unavoidable but depressing?

    The Cost of Laundry Service: Was It Worth It?

    by  • September 17, 2007 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    photo: Melissa Gupta

    We blogged a few weeks ago about how busy we were with guests, with our modest apartment being occupied for 11 days in a row. During the time leading up to the arrival of our first guests, both Her and I were busy at work, so any plans of getting our house in order were well-intentioned but difficult to accomplish.

    Finally, it came down to the last night before our guests arrived. The house was a mess. There was a heaping pile of laundry that needed to be done. We were feeling quite overwhelmed at the task ahead of us, so we decided that outsourcing either cleaning the house or laundry would be the best method of getting everything done. After a minute or two of deliberation, we decided that we would send out our laundry and tag team cleaning the house.

    So we carried our laundry over to the laundromat and had them weighed, and were told it was going to be 80 cents/pound. We had 48 pounds of laundry, so a little simple arithmetic reveals…

    80 cents/pound X 48 pounds of laundry = $38.40

    So was it worth it? Would we do this again? Absolutely NOT.

    First off, the cost of having them do our laundry was higher than I thought in my previous post where I merely pondered this idea. Paying almost $40 every 2.5 weeks to do laundry would cost us

    52 weeks/2.5 weeks per laundry event X $40 = $798.72 per year

    …almost $150 more than what I previously estimated. By doing laundry ourselves at $16 every two weeks, we spend $332.80, potentially saving $465.92. I don’t think I have to explain they benefits of having that money go towards something more useful.

    Also, when we got our clothes back, they weren’t sorted into piles for each owner of the clothes. The supposed time saved was reduced by the time we had to sort through everything and then put away the clothes.

    This is definitely something that we’re going to try to avoid. Hopefully we won’t have to think about this too much in the future, as we’ll be looking for a washer and dryer in the next place that we live.

    Damn You, Washing Machine!

    by  • September 5, 2007 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    One fine day in the summer…

    Her: Hey, have you seen my iPod?

    Him: No, why?

    Her: It’s missing. I thought I left it in my workout shorts…but we just did laundry…

    Him: (uh-oh)

    Her: Wait, you DID check the pockets of everything before you threw it into the wash, right?

    Him: Um…I thought we were responsible for our own clothing!

    Her opens up the drawer containing her workout clothes and pulls out the pair of shorts the iPod was last known to be in. She reaches in the pocket and takes out a soggy iPod.

    Her: Dammit, this is the SECOND expensive thing you’ve washed.

    Him: At least it’s clean?

    Weirdly enough, the iPod actually worked, but only when it was plugged into a power source. We took the iPod into the Apple Store and ended up buying a factory reconditioned replacement for $80.

    Needless to say, I diligently check the pockets now.

    The $125 Load of Laundry

    by  • June 11, 2007 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    A couple of months ago we discussed whether or not it was worth it to have our laundry send out versus doing it ourselves. Fear not, loyal readers (or first timers, I guess); we have not succumbed to the temptation to have someone clean our clothes.

    But maybe we should have.

    The other day we were doing laundry and Her plunked down a full laundry basket in front of me to be loaded into a washer, while she went and attended to another washer. I diligently emptied the dirty laundry into the triple sized front loading washer, put the quarters and detergent in, and started the cycle. Her came up to me about ten seconds later.

    “Where are my keys?” she asked.

    “Why should I know?” I replied.

    “Well, they were on top of all clothes that were in that laundry basket.”


    Yep, I threw them into the washing machine…with the key fob that disarms the car alarm attached.

    “Seriously?” Her remarked, incredulous.

    Yes, seriously. The next day I had to go to the dealer to get a new key fob and pay for the labor charges for them to program it, a total of $125.

    At least the keys were clean.

    The Cost of Clean Clothes

    by  • October 30, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Laundry, like finances, is often one of those things that I wish would just take care of itself. While I love our apartment, it doesn’t have a washer/dryer in it, nor does our building have a community laundry room. That means that every three weeks or so, we have to carry 3 lampers (Yes, lamper – a cross between a laundry basket and hamper. We didn’t name it, that’s what the label said it was…) full of clothes down to the laundromat, which is thankfully less than half a block away. Another two hours there watching the clothes go round and round. Then the multi-trip exodus back to our apartment where the clothes are vomited onto disheveled piles on our bed, to be robotically folded neatly or hung on hangers for another half an hour. All in all, about a three hour ordeal.

    Sounds like a great time, doesn’t it?

    This weekend at the laundromat, I calculated that every time we do laundry ourselves, it costs $16.00. I then asked the woman who works there how much it would cost if we dropped off our laundry and had them do it for us. She replied that it would cost 0.60 per pound of laundry.

    I estimated that we have at least 60 pounds of laundry every three weeks. Let’s compare the math…

    Doing laundry ourselves:
    $16.00 X ~18 laundry days per year = $288

    Paying someone to do our laundry for us:
    60 pounds of laundry X 0.60 per pound X ~18 laundry days per year = $648

    Money we “save” by doing laundry ourselves: $360

    We spend about 54 hours a year doing laundry. That’s over TWO FULL DAYS.

    Do you think that our time is worth the extra savings?