Chances are you think visiting the laundromat means nothing more than hours sitting in front of whirring machines and reading trashy mag articles about Brangelina. True, laundromat visits do involve their fair share of adding powder, choosing settings, and finding loose gold change. But laundromats are so much more than just being places to return your socks to their original white vibrance – they're also community centres.
Take West Hobart's Westside Laundromat for instance. First of all, it's located slap-bang in the middle of Hobart's grungy party area at the corner of Molle and Goulburn streets – an area that until recently was the go-to location for brothels and drug deals. These days, this area of West Hobart is becoming gentrified, with many up-and-coming professionals buying property and renovating their investments into dream homes. The Westside Laundromat is also conveniently located a stone's throw away from the funky and uber popular Pigeon Hole Café. That means, if you're able to wash your jocks in daylight hours, you can while away the time sipping on lattes with the beautiful people of Hobart. Something to think about.
A beautiful combination - event posters and clean clothes.
But first thing's first. You need to come to Westside prepared. Nothing ruins a good laundromat experience like being ill-prepared. You will need change. Lots of it. And in $1 denominations. That's really the only coin these machines will take, you see.
The washing machines require four $1 coins to get going, and you'll need to feed the dryers with $1 coins for five minutes of toasty tumbling. The problem at Westside is that the change machine is long, long defunct. Please see the picture below for proof of this conundrum.
You will also need to bring your own powder or liquid. This is not a fancy, modern laundry that dispenses lavender-scented stain removers upon insertion of two $2 coins. You will need to raid your mum's laundry supplies first.
So have you got the machines on? Good. Now it's time to start your laundromat experience.
1. Acquaint yourself with all the posters and brochures located within. Laundromats are places rich with all the latest happenings in your town. During my most recent visit to Westside, I discovered a mystery dinner event for $125 a head, where you didn't find out the location or even the cause until the actual night. I also found some discounted slips for Argentinian salsa classes, and an ad for a mindfulness meditation course. I also discovered an ad for a Facebook page called Ute of the Day – it's a page where the creator takes a picture of Hobart's nicest-looking utes each and every day.
2. Look out for love. Everyone needs to have clean towels, which means that you will see a range of people pass in and out the doors. The good news? They're all locals. If you see someone attractive, start up a conversation by considerately letting them know which machines don't work or by offering them some of your mum's laundry powder. If things work out, they will most likely live within a five-minute orbit of your home. Play your cards right, play sexy, and the laundromat can be a very, very hot place indeed. And I'm not talking about the tumble dryers.
Open the laundromat door to love - from 6.30am to 8pm daily.
3. Expand your mind. I bet somewhere along the line, you've promised yourself you would read more. Well, it's time to throw out that copy of New Idea from 2009 and open up a nicely tattered copy of a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel. Sitting in a laundromat for an hour is a perfect opportunity to read, as you won't be as distracted by the fun and enjoyable things you get up to at home, like eating and chatting on Messenger. Reading classic literature will also likely help you with point 2.
As you can see, the laundromat is a far more enriching experience than you might have envisaged. It's a chance to be part of the community. It's a chance to air your dirty laundry (pardon the pun). And it's a chance to grow as a person. So don't fear the laundromat experience – go for a spin.