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Laundry In Apartment Blocks

My parents live in a condo built in the 1970s in North York. They have a small laundry room on each floor, each serving 10 units.

I think it really is a matter of water capacity. I live in building downtown built in the early 1980s. The laundry room is on the second floor - six washers, six dryers, with pretty good capacity. It's only a pain when someone takes over 4 or 5 washers and you have to wait, but I've been lucky with timing. We're told we're not allowed to install/use dishwashers because the pipes wouldn't be able to handle it. We also have electric heat - it might have made sense in the 1980s when hydro was dirt cheap (unsustainability so, in retrospect) but it hurts a bit now.
 
I live in a condo building where all units have "laundry rooms" (some small). Even so I guess about 15% of units have not installed machines (or only a washer OR a dryer) and rely on the central laundry room that we also have. Some people prefer to use the space in their Units in other ways, some probably do not want to buy machines.

That's interesting. I've never seen a condo that had a central laundry room. When was your building built? St Lawrence, so I'm guessing designed and/or built in the 80s.


The last time I lived in a condo, as a renter (renting from the unit owner), the building had a common laundry room in the basement, and the units all had cupboards for apartment-size washers and dryers (with the requisite water and electrical connections, plus drain). Most residents had washer/dryer combos in their units, but a surprising number preferred to use the cupboard for other purposes (storage mainly). Personal choice. The building was constructed first half of the 1990s.

I had an washer/dryer in my unit, but still used the central laundry room for those times I was washing blankets and the like, or whenever I really fell behind in laundry and had a lot of loads to get done.
 
As for the North America versus Europe question, I can only speculate, but I suspect:

  • European washers are small, often located in kitchens, and have always more logically fit into apartments. Dryers have historically been rare.
  • North Americans have traditionally expected their appliances to be large, capable of comparatively massive loads of laundry, and the expectation has always been that there would be two appliances: a washer and a dryer. Far less easy to fit under the counter of an apartment kitchen.
  • There has been a traditional animosity in North America towards air drying clothes. It's traditionally been associated with poverty, lack of modernity and/or the "old country". Landlords, and many municipalities, banned hanging clothes on apartment balconies or anywhere else outdoors on the building's grounds. Even air drying clothes inside has been associated with poverty or, at best, student-living. Therefore, dryers were needed and expected in North America. Europeans did not have these hang-ups to the same extent.
  • There may even have been economic and attitudinal reasons respecting a willingness of North American tenants to pay quarters to do laundry versus Europeans.
  • North America in the mid-20th century was awash (pun intended) with top-loader washers, which despite their drawbacks, were historically cheaper to make and buy. Again, a top loader is harder to incorporate into an apartment kitchen.
  • Common laundry rooms were more convenient in the respect that large loads, particularly involving blankets, coats, etc., did not require a trip to the laundrymat.
  • Finally, North America traditionally viewed laundry the same way it viewed grocery shopping - something mostly done once a week (thus necessitating larger machines). Europeans tend to do laundry the way they shop for food - as needed.
All just speculation. And I am aware that I over-generalize when I refer to "Europeans".
 
That's interesting. I've never seen a condo that had a central laundry room. When was your building built? St Lawrence, so I'm guessing designed and/or built in the 80s.

A few buildings in CityPlace have central laundry rooms with larger machines than what you have in your unit. Perfect for when you have large loads, bedding, or if your in-suite machines ever clunk out.
 
  • European washers are small, often located in kitchens, and have always more logically fit into apartments. Dryers have historically been rare.

And they cost a fraction of American ones. That's why I'm suspicious of manufacturer conspiracy in North America.

  • Common laundry rooms were more convenient in the respect that large loads, particularly involving blankets, coats, etc., did not require a trip to the laundrymat.

I think in reality no blanket or coat is too big for a human scaled European washer.
 
And they cost a fraction of American ones. That's why I'm suspicious of manufacturer conspiracy in North America.



I think in reality no blanket or coat is too big for a human scaled European washer.

Blankets and quilts (Queen) did not fit into my old apartment-size washer without struggle. Again, depends on bed size, which has some relation to units size. New North American apartment units in the 1950s-70s were often quite large (comparatively).

Depends on how many coats, and the expectation of whether one can do them together or not. Thus my last bullet point.
 
As for the North America versus Europe question, I can only speculate, but I suspect:

  • European washers are small, often located in kitchens, and have always more logically fit into apartments. Dryers have historically been rare.
  • North Americans have traditionally expected their appliances to be large, capable of comparatively massive loads of laundry, and the expectation has always been that there would be two appliances: a washer and a dryer. Far less easy to fit under the counter of an apartment kitchen.
  • There has been a traditional animosity in North America towards air drying clothes. It's traditionally been associated with poverty, lack of modernity and/or the "old country". Landlords, and many municipalities, banned hanging clothes on apartment balconies or anywhere else outdoors on the building's grounds. Even air drying clothes inside has been associated with poverty or, at best, student-living. Therefore, dryers were needed and expected in North America. Europeans did not have these hang-ups to the same extent.
  • There may even have been economic and attitudinal reasons respecting a willingness of North American tenants to pay quarters to do laundry versus Europeans.
  • North America in the mid-20th century was awash (pun intended) with top-loader washers, which despite their drawbacks, were historically cheaper to make and buy. Again, a top loader is harder to incorporate into an apartment kitchen.
  • Common laundry rooms were more convenient in the respect that large loads, particularly involving blankets, coats, etc., did not require a trip to the laundrymat.
  • Finally, North America traditionally viewed laundry the same way it viewed grocery shopping - something mostly done once a week (thus necessitating larger machines). Europeans tend to do laundry the way they shop for food - as needed.
All just speculation. And I am aware that I over-generalize when I refer to "Europeans".

That's a good take on it.

Since you brought it up, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that only fools look down on hang drying clothes. I invite anyone over to check out my collection of clothing items that are at least 15 years old and still look like....well, new.

Also, get this: there's a house in Rosedale (!) near where I currently work that has permanent clothes lines in the backyard. I kid you not. Wise folk, them. Come to think of it, I think it may be someone I worked with once and they're Czech so....haha, I guess it makes sense. Don't worry, they still have their housekeeper hang all the clothes to dry.

It is true that I am particularly European in my sensibilites, even though I was born here. My parents were immigrants (technically refugees) and I grew up around all recent immigrants (technically all refugees). English wasn't even the first language I learnt as a child, for example.

You're right about the dryers. I don't think any of my European family have a dryer at home, come to think of it. Not even the metropolitan urban ones.
 
What are all these condo buildings with central laundry? hahaha, I have never lived nor visited one that had it. Super surprising news to me!

As for washing blankets and such.....I have not had luck washing anything of that size in my ensuite washers over the years. All stacked washer/dryer, tiny top loading rubbish washers. Parts of the item don't even get wet(!), I kid you not. It's hand wash in the bathtub with those things. My massive futon cover, for example. That thing is hard to wash even in the tub.
 
As for the North America versus Europe question, I can only speculate, but I suspect:

  • European washers are small, often located in kitchens, and have always more logically fit into apartments. Dryers have historically been rare.
  • North Americans have traditionally expected their appliances to be large, capable of comparatively massive loads of laundry, and the expectation has always been that there would be two appliances: a washer and a dryer. Far less easy to fit under the counter of an apartment kitchen.
  • There has been a traditional animosity in North America towards air drying clothes. It's traditionally been associated with poverty, lack of modernity and/or the "old country". Landlords, and many municipalities, banned hanging clothes on apartment balconies or anywhere else outdoors on the building's grounds. Even air drying clothes inside has been associated with poverty or, at best, student-living. Therefore, dryers were needed and expected in North America. Europeans did not have these hang-ups to the same extent.
  • There may even have been economic and attitudinal reasons respecting a willingness of North American tenants to pay quarters to do laundry versus Europeans.
  • North America in the mid-20th century was awash (pun intended) with top-loader washers, which despite their drawbacks, were historically cheaper to make and buy. Again, a top loader is harder to incorporate into an apartment kitchen.
  • Common laundry rooms were more convenient in the respect that large loads, particularly involving blankets, coats, etc., did not require a trip to the laundrymat.
  • Finally, North America traditionally viewed laundry the same way it viewed grocery shopping - something mostly done once a week (thus necessitating larger machines). Europeans tend to do laundry the way they shop for food - as needed.
All just speculation. And I am aware that I over-generalize when I refer to "Europeans".
See here as well:


Yes, the North American version and the European version of the same game features different washing machines! Note that the Japanese version uses the same washing machine as the North American version.
 
That's a good take on it.

Since you brought it up, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that only fools look down on hang drying clothes. I invite anyone over to check out my collection of clothing items that are at least 15 years old and still look like....well, new.

Also, get this: there's a house in Rosedale (!) near where I currently work that has permanent clothes lines in the backyard. I kid you not. Wise folk, them. Come to think of it, I think it may be someone I worked with once and they're Czech so....haha, I guess it makes sense. Don't worry, they still have their housekeeper hang all the clothes to dry.

It is true that I am particularly European in my sensibilites, even though I was born here. My parents were immigrants (technically refugees) and I grew up around all recent immigrants (technically all refugees). English wasn't even the first language I learnt as a child, for example.

You're right about the dryers. I don't think any of my European family have a dryer at home, come to think of it. Not even the metropolitan urban ones.

In particular, I don’t understand people who put bed sheets in the dryer. If you’ve bought nice sheets, why would you slowly destroy them in the dryer?
 
A friend lives in 33 Harbour Square and their central laundry room is on one of the top floors with a magnificent view south. Much nicer than some of the main floor or basement laundries that I have seen. That being said, I am glad my own (1989) condo has en suite laundry rooms in every suite.
 
A friend lives in 33 Harbour Square and their central laundry room is on one of the top floors with a magnificent view south. Much nicer than some of the main floor or basement laundries that I have seen. That being said, I am glad my own (1989) condo has en suite laundry rooms in every suite.

That's doooope! I'd be doing laundry for fun!
 
Regarding laundry in newer condos and North Americans, I know about a deal in River City that the potential buyer walked away from because they did not like the combo washer/dryer unit that the condo had. The machine was the stumbling block.
 
I absolutely refuse to air dry anything unless it cannot go into the dryer - it brings me back to my European PTSD from 10 years ago and clothes always end up starchy and 'hard'. I'm not sure how else to describe it.

After spending 3 weeks in Belgrade air drying my clothes and wondering why I'm able to fold my shirts like a piece of paper - I realized why people iron there.
 

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