If you normally use the laundromat late at night when most of the machines are empty and you never have to wait, then you might not understand the frustration of trying to snag an empty washer, dryer, or laundry cart. When the laundromat's practically deserted, you can use virtually any machine you want to and take your time. However, when there are more people than machines and customers start getting frustrated and impatient, the unwritten rules tighten up a bit. Here are some things to avoid when the laundromat is operating at capacity.
1. Don't hog the machines.
The smaller-capacity washers cost less per load, so people usually choose these rather than the large ones. Therefore, there are fewer small washers available when it gets busy. If you have multiple loads, put them all in a large machine if one is available. Even if you're used to keeping your laundry separated by type, for example, doing kids' clothes, adults' clothes and bedding separately, don't take up three small machines when you could combine loads in one large machine.
2. Don't fold from the cart.
Some people take an item of clothing out of the cart, place it on the table, fold it and then remove another item from the cart. It's very frustrating for people who need a cart to watch someone slowly pick through the clothes in his or her cart searching for a matching sock. Even if the one-at-a-time approach is your preferred style, don't do it when the laundromat is busy and people are waiting. Dump all the clothes from the cart onto the table, roll the cart to the cart area or give it to someone else, then fold -- the people waiting for carts will appreciate it.
However, if you need to keep the cart to hang non-foldables such as dress shirts from the top rail, hang one before you fold the rest of your laundry. This lets people know that you actually need the cart until you're finished folding, and it keeps them from asking you if they can have the cart.
3. Don't leave your clothes.
When people are waiting for machines, it's very frustrating when the wash or dry cycle ends and no one comes to claim their clothes. Keep an eye on the timer and be ready to get your clothes out promptly. If you must run out for a can of soda, make sure you're back in time to get your clothes out and free up the machine as quickly as possible.
4. Don't close the machines.
You might be used to closing the washer lid and dryer door when doing laundry at home, but at the laundromat, open lids and doors mean the machines are available. This is especially important for top-loading washers that don't have windows.
Using the laundromat during peak times sometimes means giving up a bit of convenience or changing your usual routine. However, being courteous to your fellow customers can make everyone's trip to the laundromat, like South Street Laundromat, more pleasant. Your local laundromat might have a formal system for claiming machines, so check to see if they have posted rules, or ask the attendant on duty.