Outdoor Space, a Washing Machine, OH MY!

I recently had a conversation with a friend and we were talking about what people in the burbs must think about city living. Like, having to take specs in order to be sure a couch will fit…not just in the apartment but actually in the building, stairs or elevator…is something people in the burbs probably never have to worry about.

Two other luxuries (luxuries to me anyway!) that people in the burbs may take for granted because I am sure they have both are:
1) Washer and dryer
2) Outdoor space

I spent so much time doing my own laundry in laundromats. Hot, steamy laundromats covered in massive amounts of lint and filled with some strange people. And who knew what had been in the carts used to move laundry from the washer to the dryer. [Good thing this was before I was skeeved out by the mere mention of the word ‘bed bugs.’]

Years into apartment living, I learned about wash and fold and I never went back. [Except to wash things that couldn’t be dried in the dryer.] And then, a couple of moves later I found ones that delivered! Yes, they picked up my dirty laundry and returned it, usually the same day, clean and folded.

Wash and fold is not for the faint of heart. One, you are giving your clothes, your CLOTHES to a perfect stranger. Two, those clothes undoubtedly include underwear so if you have a thing about strangers washing your skivvies, it could be a problem. And three, you may not get everything back.

One and two I had no problem with. I can pay you to do my least favorite chore? Sure! Three, I always wondered what would go missing. I always counted how many pieces I sent out. Problem was, I never itemized, I only counted. So unless I was looking nd wondering where (said item) was, I probably wasn’t going to notice. Sure, I have a lot of mismatched socks, but I always figured that was the cost of entry.

I did have washing machines and dryers in the basement of two buildings I had lived in. At one point I even lived above a laundromat. However, my current apartment is the first apartment since I have been back in the States where I have a washer and a dryer IN my apartment. It is amazing.

I did have a washer/dryer in kitchen of my flat in London. It was a smaller version of an old school front loader. But, you couldn’t open it until it washed and dried. So if you wanted to wash something, and hang it to dry, tough. You would have to wash it by hand because this machine just didn’t work like that. And it was great. To have a machine in my home that would wash my clothes? I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t have that luxury again for nearly ten more years.

Key takeaway #1: Make sure anywhere I live moving forward has a washer and dryer, a seemingly small, but lovely, luxury.

Apartment living can be claustrophobic at times. In fact, I once lived in an apartment that if you sat on the toilet in the bathroom and opened the door (which would hit your knees) you could see the entire apartment. And this, this was a two bedroom.

I’ve lived in a converted two bedroom (into a three) with six other roommates. I’ve lived in an apartment with two roommates where we each had our own room but the only common areas were the galley kitchen, tiny bathroom and the foyer. There was no living room…that was one of the bedrooms!

I lived in an apartment that had bars on the windows. Not sure how we’d get out in a fire. I also lived in an apartment that was wrapped in scaffolding for nearly three years. It was like having black netting draped over the windows. It never really got sunny because there was always a black haze over the place.

So now, having a balcony, even its small size, is an absolute treat.

I always said that NYC was my backyard. But that’s a congested backyard with people pushing and shoving into my personal space. Not quite the idyllic backyard of my childhood.

Now, having personal outdoor space, I cannot believe I went so many years without it. It’s truly wonderful when the weather is great, but even in the depths of winter, I always stuck my head out — because I could. And in the summer, it’s as good as you think it would be.

Key takeaway #2: Make sure anywhere I live moving forward has outdoor space, a seemingly small, but lovely, luxury.

When I watch House Hunters International, it’s all about priorities and figuring out what you can budge on, and what’s an absolute must have. I don’t want a McMansion. Hell, I don’t even need two bathrooms. I’ve lived in such small quarters for so many years that I don’t even know what I would do with the extra space.

But I refuse to budge on the washer/dryer and outdoor space. Pretty simple asks should I ever move to the burbs. City living…it may be asking a lot.


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