A few people were very surprised to know that I don’t have a washing machine at home. Well, I don’t need to.
In Switzerland, some apartment blocks come with the la buanderie or a laundry room located on the basement level next to what they call les caves*. The room will normally consist of a few washing machines and a large place complete with lines for residents to hang their laundry out to air. Contrary to popular belief, dryers are not very popular here in Europe because of what they often do to clothes. Line drying helps prolong the life of clothings plus dryers tend to eat up a lot of electricity.
So how does an apartment block filled with at least 10 to 12 couples manage to do their laundry each week without fighting? Well, the concierge will come up with a schedule for each resident (sorry, no choosing here). In this block, we have 12 couples and we each get half a day – 6 to 11am or 1 to 6pm- to wash your laundry and dry/hang it. You then get an additional half day to a night for your clothes to dry. By 9am the following day, couples are expected to clear their clothes from the drying area.
Occasionally you get people who hang up their linen and blankets for slightly over a day but Swiss people are pretty tolerant and there is plenty of give and take going on around the building (up to a certain point, of course).
In some blocks, the laundry comes free (as with Nil’s old place) but over here, each loads goes for a maximum of 3 CHF but the machines are 6 kg machines so most people tend to make full use of every penny they spent.
Oh, before you worry about theft, the laundry room is only accessible to residents; each apartment gets one key and we put down a deposit of 10 CHF as well. Everything is locked up each time someone leaves the laundry room. And so far, there has been little word of people going around stealing clothes and underwear – a far cry from in Malaysia where you can hang your laundry IN your house area like the porch and still have it stolen.
Oh, in case you’re wondering…Friday mornings is Laundry Day for us!
* I’ll save this for the next blog entry!