Saturday, October 19, 2013

Laundry . . .

even more fun when you have to translate it!  A few weeks ago I posted this picture on Instagram.
The washing machine at our extended stay apartment.
This is the washing machine in our extended stay hotel.  We did laundry there once right before we moved into our apartment.  It was frustrating because I had to translate the detergent bottle and the washing machine itself.  I ended up dumping water all over the floor when I poured the laundry detergent in because the machine was filling up that compartment with water at the same time.

At the hotel we had to sign up to do laundry at the front desk.  We had a 2 hour time slot where we could use one washer and one dryer.  I put in our first load and then headed back to our room, 15 floors up.  There was an elevator but it was really slow.  About 40 minutes later I headed back down to move the laundry and start another load.  Towards the end of my time I came down to find my laundry that I had place in the dryer laying on the table in front of the dryer and someone else put their laundry in the dryer.  My laundry on the table was still damp.  You could say I was annoyed.  We survived and we had clean clothes but I was not excited about having to use a laundry room.

When we were looking for an apartment the kitchen and the laundry situation were the two factors that swayed my vote.  When I was browsing apartment listings on the website I had a tendency to be most interested in ones that had laundry in the apartment.  Some of these apartments had a washer and a dryer, some just had a washing machine.  The machine might have been able to wash and dry but I'm guessing you would have to hang up your laundry to dry.  Even though that would be a major pain I thought it would have to be better than using a laundry room.  I remember doing laundry in the dorms at K-State a few times.  I only did it there when I really needed something and I couldn't just wait until I went home to wash it and it was still a pain.

The first apartment we looked at was on the 3rd floor and the laundry room was in the basement.  You could take the elevator to the first floor but then you had to walk the last flight to the basement.  The laundry room was small and kind of dark.  It was at that first apartment where I learned how laundry works here in Sweden.  Most apartment buildings have a laundry room in the basement.  They also have a laundry board where you reserve your time.
This picture is from another blog I found,, when I was trying find a picture of a laundry reservation board.  I didn't take a picture when we visited the apartment.

They way the boards work is each apartment gets a lock and a key.  You insert your lock into the spot on the board to reserve your time.  If you notice on the left of the board you will see time slots, 7-12, 12-16, etc.  The top of the board has the date in the month.  Once you make your reservation that time slot is yours.  However, if you don't start your laundry within the first hour of your reservation then someone else can come in and take it.  So if you pick 7-12 but plan on starting around 9 you might be out of luck.  Also, once your time is up the room is no longer yours so if you are late to pick up your laundry you might find it on the floor or on the counter in a pile.  Laundry is kind of cut throat here.  Doesn't that make you want to do it even more?

The second apartment we looked at had laundry in the basement as well.  The apartment was on the second floor so we would walk down one flight but then to get to the basement you had to go outside, unlock a door to what looked like dungeon, and walk down a spiral staircase that was very dark and gloomy.  It wouldn't have mattered if that apartment was perfect.  There was NO WAY I was going to live there.  I would have had to walk outside in the rain and snow to do laundry.  No thank you.

The third apartment we saw had a pretty good laundry room.  It was on the first floor and the apartment was on the 4th floor.  There was an elevator that took us to the floor with the laundry room and the room itself had big windows to let in sunlight and it was pretty nice.  We liked the third apartment but we had another viewing the next day for a different apartment we were also interested in.

The fourth apartment was the winner.  Not only was the apartment beautiful and had open floor plan.  The laundry here rocks!  They have two laundry rooms.  They have a regular one that you can book ahead of time but they also have . . . a spontaneous laundry room.  No joke, that is what it is called.  You can only book that one 6 hours ahead of time.  This laundry room also comes with an electronic booking machine.
This is the welcome screen.  Notice the blue circle on the right that looks like it goes on a key ring.
Each apartment has their own blue key fob that you put up next to the sensor to log in to the system.
One of the cool things about this electronic reservation board is that in order to get into either of the laundry rooms you have to scan your blue key fob on the board and then it sends a signal to the correct room and unlocks the door.  That means no one can come in and take your stuff or mess with your laundry.  I'm not sure if they have the same rule here about if you don't start your laundry within one hour that someone else can take the machines.

We've used the spontaneous laundry room once, the day after we moved in.  It was great because we needed to wash some of the bedding here but we didn't want to wait for the normal laundry room to be available.  We have used the normal laundry room twice.

You can choose to book the normal laundry room, the spontaneous laundry room, the sauna or the guest apartment.
When you book the normal laundry room you have a timetable just like the other board I showed you but it is electronic.  You can only book one reservation at a time.  The red ones are booked times and the green ones are available.
This is the spontaneous laundry room reservation page.  
This one only opens up bookings 6 hours ahead of time.  The great thing about this is if you need to do laundry without much notice you should be able to book a spot.  The spontaneous laundry room has two washers and two dryers.  You can book both or just one.  You can only book three one hour time slots in a row but I don't know why you would need more than 3 hours.  You can get at least three loads of laundry done in each machine in 3 hours.  
This is the reservation board for the guest apartment. 

This one can be reserved 6 months ahead of time so some of you might want to let me know what date I need to reserve the guest apartment :).  You can reserve three days in a row.  If you want to do more than that you have to get approval from the building apartment board, similar to a homeowners association.  I've heard it shouldn't be a problem and I'd really like to ask sometime because then that means we have visitors!

Here is the normal laundry room.  It has two washing machines and one dryer.  (Don't worry about having only one dryer, the reason why it only has one is my FAVORITE part of doing laundry here.)

Here is the washing machine.  There is a way to change the language to English which I am very thankful for!
If you notice on the display it says "Normal 40", which means normal wash and 40 degrees Celsius for the temp.  There are other options like delicate and wool, which is much easier to figure out in English :).  On the bottom of the display it says "Weighing".  Every time you put in a load of laundry the first thing it does is weigh the laundry.  That is because they dose the amount of detergent by the weight.  It also shows you how much time is left.  Most loads in the washing machine take about 35-40 minutes.
The three buttons on the left hand side of the machine are for detergent, soil level and fabric softener.  
The washing machines in this apartment building actually add the laundry detergent and fabric softener automatically.  So we could go a whole year without buying laundry detergent if we wanted to.  Unfortunately, I already bought a bottle of detergent for when we did laundry at the hotel.  You can push the buttons to opt out of using the detergent and fabric softener and to change the soil level of each load.  The first time we used the laundry detergent that is automatically added but the last few times we've done laundry I added in the detergent we already purchased.  It is strange having the laundry detergent be automatically added because I think most people in the building use it which means the whole apartment building smells like the same detergent.  The sheets and towels that were left in the apartment smell like that detergent but I already associated that smell with our landlord so when I washed my laundry for the first time with that same laundry detergent I felt like I was wearing someone else's clothes.

To add your own detergent you have to put it in a plastic bowl.  I saw a picture of that on the back of the detergent bottle but couldn't figure out what that meant until we talked to our landlord.
Here is our detergent and our plastic bowl.
The bowl has numbers on the side to measure out the detergent.  The bottle also tells you how many milliliters to add based on the weight of the load.  I figured out though that is is hard to have the machine weigh your clothes and then add the detergent because it locks the door and you have to cancel the cycle completely to get the door unlocked.  So now I usually just guess how much the load will weigh and fill up the plastic bowl before the load is weighed.

Are you ready for my favorite part of doing laundry?  

 The drying room.  Yes, a whole room for drying clothes!
I don't dry most of my shirts and pants at home.  We have a drying rack that is always full of laundry.  I can usually only dry 6 shirts and 4 pairs of pants at a time.  Not anymore.  This room has 7 clothes lines stretching across the room to hang clothes on.  The white box on the left is a heater with a fan.  After you hang up your clothes you push the button to turn on the heater and fan.  All of my clothes dry within about 2 hours and they can't stay there for days at a time like they do at home because I only have the room for about 3 hours.  Jake already asked if he was going to have to build a drying room at home once we get back.  He knows me well.
They also have a machine that irons your clothes.  We haven't used this yet but I guess you lay your clothes on the tan material and it rolls your clothes in between two heavy rollers to flatten them so they come out nice and pressed.  
I realize this was a very long post about laundry but I want to remember how different and challenging it was at the beginning.  But now I love how quickly I can get my laundry done and I really don't know what I'm going to do when we no longer have a drying room :).  It is a good thing Jake is handy . . . he really might have to build one for me when we get back.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! And I'm going to aim for sometime in the spring to come visit. Not sure it'll be more than 3 days, though =)

  2. We have 5 clotheslines across a room in our basement - but no heater and fan. Maybe I should add those. :-)


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