Darn Good Ideas,  Joe & Rachael Projects

Laundry Day


Sundays are laundry days around here. Since we’ve been married we’ve done our laundry at a mat. We use one enormous front loading machine for $4.25 a load. Then we spend $2.50 on one big super hot dryer. We keep a small plastic tupperware of Charlie’s Powdered Soap in the bottom of the dirty clothes bag at all times. It’s scentless (Joe likes this) and biodegradable (I like this) and cheap (we both like this). After it’s done we like to dump all the laundry out on our bed and fold it together. Joe prefers that I do not fold his tshirts. I help him flatten them out and pile them all up on top of each other and then he takes over. When we first got married, I barely folded my clothes at all, typically just tumbling them into my drawer in a pile. We iron strictly on a novelty basis, once every two months or so. My clothes always seem to compose 30% of the laundry compared to his 70%. Plus mine are tinier. I feel like I blinked, and suddenly we’re doing FOUR people’s laundry every weekend. Now Joan claims the smallest percentage, but not for long, I promise you.

In our new apartment the laundry mat is about five blocks away and down a big hill. Our dirty clothes bag is basically the size of me and I can barely carry it when full. After my third trimester of pregnancy with Joan began, Joe started making it an outing and often takes Lux along with him to do it. I realize this makes me very lucky as homemaking wives go.

Occasionally we fantasize about opening a laundry mat. I’m not kidding. We’re attracted to this idea because the laundry mats in our neighborhoods are dumps. There is nothing that flags my eye quicker than something that could be SO much better. I mean, people spend time in these places all day long, and they barely vacuum it. They punish you for having to be there. And they punish their employees, who seem to work seven days a week, all day every day.

It would have a wall of magazines for you to read while you waited. There would be shelves of board games to borrow and play with your friends. A small espresso bar with just enough counter space for you to stand and finish your espresso. Maybe an old fashioned Internet cafe desk, with two computers to be rented by the minute (big throwback to studying abroad, hey oh). A juke box. A nice collection of vintage postcards to purchase and mail. You know, the good things. You get could your laundry done…and oh, enjoy yourself too.


  • Anna {dear friend}

    Oh, I so love this. In our current place we are spoiled with our very own washer and drier RIGHT IN THE APARTMENT.

    We’ve been here 2 years and I still can’t get over it. But your idea? Well, let’s just say I’d make a weekend trip with my laundry bag to your laundry mat for sure.

  • bridget

    I don’t imagine you as the non-folding everything jumbled in a drawer type. Always surprising me! Or at least this time anyway. Also, seeing as you guys basically dominated the little ocean front shop thing, I imagine you’d really dominate the laundry mat on Beacon Hill thing. I’d like to see this.

  • steph

    First, I lived in NC for 5 years and fell in love with Charlie’s Soap. Back in SC now, but I buy in bulk…from Mayodan…when I can. Second, there are some great laundromats out there. One near me has tvs and a snack bar…and the coolest name…The Lost Sock. My son’s dad takes him to one that has a whole indoor playground. I kid you not. And the best part of these new-fangled laundromats. You can use a card rather than tons of quarters. And some offer free drying.

  • Julie

    I can’t even get over how great this idea is. I spent a LOT of time in Beacon Hill laundromats, and you are so right in your assessment of how un-fun they are. Please start your empire??

  • Erin

    Love your business idea—love the fact that your husband makes more laundry than you, as mine does as well. Also, that photo of Lux with her bunny on the way to the laundromat is totally Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems. Look it up if you don’t have it already!

  • Julie

    First the genius idea for a social club (I still think about how great that would be), and now a brilliant concept for a laundry mat – I hope you all do create something someday!

  • Melanie Yarbrough

    Though we’re lucky to have laundry in our basement, my boyfriend and I sometimes daydream about opening a cool laundry mat. We’d put in arcade games (for a quarter a pop instead of a dollar!), an espresso machine (for sure), and maybe even a little wine and beer counter for evenings. I think Boston’s hurting for a laundry mat like that.

  • Abbie

    I keep thinking about this post. (Is that creepy? I hope not- I’ve just been doing a lot of laundry lately!) I have LONG thought that we could be doing more with our laundromats. In San Francisco, there was one in the Mission that was part bar, part laundromat. I thought it was brilliant, though if I were in charge, it would probably be more like a coffee shop/laundromat combo.

    If you guys started it, I would ignore the washer in my basement (it doesn’t work that well anyway) and be your most loyal customer!

  • lauraaaaaa

    i’m probably moving to a place with just one washer/dryer, and i’m mulling over going to a laundromat. please tell me where you found that giant bag!

    • Rachael Ringenberg

      We bought it from Harvard University when their post office was having a sale. So. Random. Apparently China used to send all their mail in those bags? Or pick them up in them? Something like that. Honestly if it were me carrying the bag I would want something a little smaller. I’ve also seen bags that fit into those old-lady pushcarts. If you don’t have stairs, definitely something to think about!

Leave a Reply to Rachael Ringenberg Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *