Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Everyone has a little dirty laundry

I live in a four-storey apartment building. There are six apartments on each floor. That’s a lot of people. And a lot of dirty laundry.

Not the Michael Jackson kind of dirty laundry. My building is more like a retirement home than Neverland Ranch. I’m talking about dirty clothes.

To deal with all this dirty laundry, my building has exactly one washer and one dryer. It gets weirder. There is a sign-up sheet to use the washer and dryer. Everyone in the building is allowed to pick a time to do laundry. Everyone except me.

This is because I am the only renter in the building. Everyone else owns their apartment. I live in the caretaker’s suite. [Note: I’m not actually the caretaker. He left when they contracted out his services. Instead of selling his apartment, they decided to rent it for some extra money.]

I am only allowed to do laundry during “free time” on the weekend. The apartment owners actually voted on this at a meeting.

In theory, this is a good arrangement. I don’t get home until late in the evening during the week, which means I don’t have time to do laundry until the weekend anyway. The problem is, everyone else in the building puts off doing laundry until the weekend too. Which doesn’t really make sense considering most of them are retired and over the age of 70.

So every weekend there is a battle for the washer and dryer, which pisses me off because I am only allowed to use the stupid things on the weekend and everyone else can use them any day of the week.

I have devised a few strategies to deal with this. One is to pile four loads of laundry in front of the washer as a blockade. It’s kind of passive aggressive but I find it gets the point (“back off!”) across.

Another strategy is to do laundry just once a month. Which helps increase the size of the blockade described in strategy one (see above).

It can get pretty vicious. Last weekend, I put a load of laundry in the dryer. An hour later, I returned to put more money in the machine only to find someone had taken my damp sheets out of the dryer and put their own laundry in. With my quarters!

I was so mad that I stopped the dryer and took out their soaking wet laundry (I have never touched so many pairs of grey socks and white briefs in my life) and put my sheets back in. Then I ran back upstairs to my apartment before they caught me.

Later that night, as I was relaxing on the couch in my clean pajamas under a clean blanket, happy the laundry drama was over for another month, I managed to spill a bowl of chili all over myself. I trudged back down to the laundry room.

Of course, somebody else was using the washer and dryer. And of course, it was late Sunday night, which means I can’t actually wash the stuff until next weekend. I’d move but the rent is cheap and the neighbours are hard of hearing.

If you have any creative solutions to end the weekly laundry drama, I’d love to hear them.


Brian Lavery said...

I have no creative solutions and probably wouldn't offer them if I did. It's too good a source of comedy to ruin.
Thanks for the laugh.


taminator1969 said...

It sounds like the strata corporation owns your suite, so if that's the case then you need to approach your strata council.

Since all the owners in your building own a share of your suite, they are in essence also your landlords. This means you are entitled to fair use of the laundry room, albeit the strangest laundry room set-up I've heard of.

I think it's unreasonable that you get a crappy laundry time slot than everyone else just because you're a renter and not an owner.

I sat on my strata council the first two years after I bought my place and my fellow owners drove me nuts. I was in my late 20s while everyone else on the council was in their 40s to 60s.

Picture a bunch of adults who obviously had their requests to be safety crossing guards -- do they have those in Canadian elementary schools? -- turned down when they were younger and now they see an opportunity for power and revenge.

Anyway, getting back on track, I suggest writing a letter to the strata council or management company and ask about getting a regular time slot just like everyone else. Be nice about it and see what happens. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

If nothing changes, good luck with your guerilla laundry tactics. :)

Sarah said...

I don't actually live in a strata, it's a co-op. I have talked to the president of the co-op before about the laundry thing, but he kind of just shrugged it off.

I'm not allowed to even go to their meetings!

By the way, these people are just generally crazy. They also voted not to sell an apartment to a guy in a wheelchair because it would cost $3,000 to build a ramp!!

The board president eventually overruled them. But that should give you an idea of how wacky this place is :)


Kathryn said...

Screw the in-house laundry and take your duds to the laundromat, thereby killing two birds with one stone:

clean clothes and the opportunity to meet cute, single men

win/win, really =)


Anonymous said...


As a tenant you have certain rights in exchange for the rent you pay. Even if the co-op votes on something, if it violates the Residential Tenacy Act then it cannot be binding. You should check out:

or call their office and see what your rights are in this situation along with whether the co-op can ban you from meetings or not.

I have some very creative solutions too, but you may want to try this one first.

I second the going to the laundry mat idea above.


Callie said...

Or just wear lots of plastic clothing?

I sat on my strata for a few years and we had to let in anyone that wanted to attend, renter or otherwise. Writing a letter is too easy to dismiss, I would crash their meeting. Maybe not very nice, but not as easy to ignore.

Sarah said...

A laundromat is much less appealing than the current situation. I don't have a car so I don't want to drag around heavy loads of laundry and then sit around there all day.

The other problem with "getting tough" is that the board is thinking about putting my place up for sale. Which means I will be forced to move. I don't really want this to happen so I'm trying to be extra nice around the retirement home these days.

They said they would let me buy my apartment. For about $250,000 with 30 per cent down!! Got a good chuckle out of that one...

The only way out of this may be to wear plastic clothes :)


Anonymous said...

or latex. check out for some fabulous rubber fashions. a tad pricey, but eh!


Anonymous said...


I didn't fully appreciate before just how special an event is when you break out the 'fresh out of the dryer' socks.

The idea of selling your unit may just be some sabre rattling on their part. The same link above outlines your rights when they want to sell. They can't kick you out so they can list it and sell it. You are allowed to stay there while they try to. If they do list it, you also have the right to demand 24hrs written notice for all showings and can become a total SOB if you want. You are also in an unique situation where they can't use the 'want to evict to use for personal use or for a family member' since it is a unit of a co-op and not currently owned by anyone. Also, if they thought selling it would bring in more money than your rent currently does they would have done it a long time ago in that market.

My next best idea is doing your laundry on weeknights when it is not being used. If everyone is using the weekend 'free time' then there must be gaps during the 'scheduled times' not being used. If they are old and their memories are starting to go and you get caught you could just say 'oh, so and so said I could use their slot' and try and keep a straight face.


Sarah said...

I don't want to make a big deal of it. I was just venting :)

The positives of my apartment outweigh the negatives.

Cheap rent, hardwood floors, big windows, huge living room, huge bedroom, quiet neighbours, prime location, the fact that they let me paint the kitchen yellow and my bedroom purple...


Anonymous said...

I think people are forgetting that you were looking for passive aggressive ways to deal with this.

Might I suggest a selection of the following?

Find a neighbour who has multiple washers/dryers in their building and use theirs.

Do not sabotage the washers and dryers: they will know it is you. Even acts such as unplugging the dryer will be suspicious. Do not add bananas to people's laundry, particularly during the dry cycle.

Perhaps play a recording of a dog barking on your stero when you are out.

Leave your alarm clock to go off at 5 am when you go away for the weekend.

Become part of the Jehovah Witness Protection Program: invite them in where they will be safe and won't get beat up.

Find out when the old people wash and then alternate turning on the shower and flushing the toilet.

Accuse others of doing the same to you and being small minded and petty.

Spread rumours about people passing away.

Leave empty tins of tuna outside someone else's apartment. Ask their neighbours if they think tuna can person is losing it. This is good to do if you think that the tuna can person will be away for several days. Extra points if you can get them to "open the door" to check and see if they are OK.

Place inappropriate reading material in the laundry room on someone else's night.

Stop making your own dinner, eat out at restaurants more. If you must stay home, drink only fortified wine: it must be fortified with something and that's probably stuff like calcium and vitamins.

Finally, you might wish to place out of order signs on the machines prior to your needing them - people will think it won't get fixed until Monday and you can keep them for your use.