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Dorm Laundry Bags

Tips for Doing Laundry in College

Leaving home and going off to college are common rites of passage that mark the transition to adulthood. University life is filled with discoveries and adventures, but for many, it's also a period rife with adjustments and new tasks you might be doing for the first time in your life. What better example is there than laundry? Having to keep an eye on the hamper and stepping in before it overflows is a balancing act, and it's one you're doubtless to perfect over time. Here's a primer to give you a head start in managing your clothes and keeping your wardrobe in useful rotation.

Laundry Bags for Your Dorm

The first order of business is making sure you have a designated place to discard used and dirty clothes. Leaving heaps on the floor or scattered around your room is often a recipe for imminent disaster. In the hustle and bustle of campus life, you can quickly lose track of which clothes you've already worn and which you've only just washed. Further, when the opportunity to head down to the laundromat presents itself, you have to grab it with both hands. If you still have to sort through clothes that are strewn around the floor, you might lose your motivation.

It's also good practice to keep your space as organized as you can. A cluttered room can contribute to rising stress levels and can make it difficult for you to find your belongings when you need them the most.

A laundry bag should be easy to set up, accommodate a good volume of clothes for you to haul to the laundry room and also be highly portable. The best options are foldable laundry bags, which provide you with a great space-saving accessory when it's not in use, or convertible bags that you can quickly slink over your shoulder to take with you.

If you're interested in springing for a conventional model, consider butterfly hampers with a fabric lining. Sturdy and reliable, a butterfly hamper's solid build ensures you can set it up anywhere you like. As a bonus, you won't need to worry about how to transport clothes when you're doing laundry. Simply pick up the removable fabric lining and take it with you on the go.

Sorting and Separating Your Laundry

Machine washing your clothes is the ideal way to save time and get fresh clothes in short order. Although there's a learning curve involved in using the washer and the dryer, separating your clothes is first and foremost.

When water runs through colorful shirts, it's common for the fabric to release some of its dye. If any light-colored fabrics are nearby, this could lead to staining and potentially ruining your clothes. For this reason, sorting through your clothes and creating bundles that'll go in each machine according to color groups is paramount. The good news is that if you happen to stop by the laundry room when it's empty, you can use several machines simultaneously and finish all of your laundry in record time.

A popular laundry sorting system is doing one load with all of your whites, another with light-colored clothes and a third load with the dark, dramatic colors. If you want to be extra careful, separate the black clothes from all the other colors--black dye is particularly notorious for staining anything in its vicinity. Some people also like to use a separate machine for their delicate clothing, or bypass the laundry room altogether and simply hand wash them.

How to Tell If Your Clothes Are Machine Washable

While we're on the subject of delicate clothing, it's important to note that some clothes are not suitable for machine washing and doing so might ruin them. Always check the tag for the manufacturer's instructions. If none can be found and you don't want to run the risk of potentially destroying your clothes, consider sending it out for dry cleaning or any professional cleaning service.

The Basics of Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softeners

Walk down the aisles where the cleaning products are in any supermarket or convenience store and you might be surprised to find the sheer amount of options available: powdered, stain-remover, liquid and specialty soap.

Here's what you need to know in a nutshell: all-purpose detergent will address the overwhelming majority of your needs. If you want to be as cost-effective as possible, grab a pack of a reliable powder all-purpose detergent. These detergents tend to last longer than their liquid counterparts.

Liquid and powdered are very similar, though liquid detergents usually fare better at removing uniquely challenging, oily stains. Stain-removal solutions and stain-removing detergent require careful attention to the fine print and precise application. Any product that contains bleach is only safe to use on white clothes because, as it says in the name, they bleach fabrics.

Useful Laundry and Dryer Accessories for College Students

Even if you've never used a mesh bag before, it never hurts to acquire one. Mesh bags come with a zipper enclosure and preserve the integrity of the fabric in your clothes, making them an invaluable tool at your disposal when washing delicate clothes or particularly thin attire. Also, mesh bags will spare you many a headache if you happen to be washing your underwear and prefer privacy while doing so. Slip your clothes inside the bag, zip it closed and enjoy that added layer of discretion and privacy. Most mesh bags can be used in both washers and dryers, too.

Laundry Room Etiquette

Any communal space is bound to have a few official rules as well as unwritten norms everyone abides by. If you're using a laundromat, scope the place out before you bring your clothes so you can make sure you're prepared. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. It's good practice to bring enough money for several loads of both washing and drying. Make sure to bring said money already broken in change. Quarters are the most common coin denomination.

2. Be courteous and respectful. If someone arrived before you and was in the process of securing a machine, don't be the person who cuts ahead. If the laundry room is simply too busy when you come by, you have two options: waiting or coming back later.

3. Expect your trip to the laundry room to last a few hours. Between all the clothes you'll need to wash as well as the time it takes for them to tumble in the dryer, it's better to come prepared to kill time. You can use the opportunity to catch up on your reading and study.

4. Find out if you can get a Wi-Fi signal or if you get cell reception while you're doing your laundry. The resources at your disposal will give you a better idea of what to do with your time.

5. Try to make it a habit to do your laundry regularly. If your hamper is overflowing, you're due for a trip to the laundromat. Once you've established your rhythm and routine, you'll find that doing your laundry becomes a habit.

Treading the waters of your newfound independence is tricky and exhilarating. Even activities that feel like chores are just another example of your foray into your own independence. Don't be afraid to try new things and make college your home away from home--after all, you have glorious years ahead of you to figure it all out.

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