There are good parts and bad parts to both living situations. We no longer have yard maintenance or home improvement pressures. But we do have neighbors above, below, and on either side of us. The neighbors below us smoke so the blow back on a hot summer day when the windows are open is none too fun (or healthy!). The neighbor next door blares his Heavy Metal music upon arrival home from work most evenings which is annoying, especially because I don't count Heavy Metal as music 😄. And when the neighbors above relentlessly scrape furniture across the floor day and night, we wonder what is inspiring their constant Feng Shui frenzy.
But probably the biggest adjustment we've had to endure living in a multi-unit apartment building is the shared laundry.
When we first arrived in Switzerland two years ago, we were housed in a hotel for two weeks (with the dog!). That was when we discovered that there are no public, self operated Laundromats. None. There are dry cleaning shops that do laundry on the side, but the cost is outrageous.
After the hotel experience we were placed in a corporate apartment for our first year. Luckily it was equipped with a tiny washing machine and dryer. It was convenient in terms of when you can do your laundry, but inconvenient on how much laundry you can do at a time or how dry you can get it. Little did we know how much we'd miss those little machines...
For the last year we've been in a building that has shared laundry facilities. In fact, a large segment of Swiss population live in flats with shared laundry. In theory it is great. In reality it can be a little tricky.
First of all there is the scheduling.
There are five apartments in our section of the building and every apartment is allowed one day a week to do their laundry. Because both Joe and I work full-time, our laundry day is Saturday. Lucky for us, it was available when we moved in. But Saturday is also the only day we can shop - all grocery stores, with the exception of the ones at the train stations, are closed on Sundays. Add to that, Maureen and I take German on Saturday mornings. Saturdays are busy.
Unfortunately, Heavy Metal neighbor has his laundry day on Friday and he doesn't always seem to know when Friday ends and Saturday begins. We've been met with his laundry in a machine or still hanging up on many a Saturday mornings:
Things got so bad at one point, we had to send Mr. Metal a letter (in German!) asking him to please respect our laundry time. It sort of worked...he gets the last of his stuff out by 8am or so, as opposed to noon, so there's that.
But doing your laundry in the basement of your own building is not THAT bad. With a washer and dryer and a drying room equipped with a de-humidifier, we can get a weeks worth of laundry for 3 people done in one day (provided your neighbor takes his stuff out early enough!)
And, I have to say that the Swiss laundry detergent is good stuff. It gets everything clean without stain boosters or extra bleaching agents. And it is actually cheap at Lidl.
The way they handle the billing for the laundry room use is interesting. Monthly, all residents pay an equal amount into a pool of money managed by the landlord/management company. Then once a year the landlord/management company calculate the energy usage of the residents in the building, especially the laundry room. We each have a 'key' that we have to plug into the wall to make the machines work - and calculates how much energy we used/money we owe. Then they split up the 'Nebenkosten' whereby we may get money back or owe something. It's all very mysterious. We just hope we're not getting swindled. :)
|The key to clean clothes!|
I can't do a post on dirty laundry without sharing an update on something dirty that was growing in our laundry room. About 6 months ago, I shared about the mold in our shared space and its effect on my health - 6 months of respiratory infections!
Today's poem is about what happens when we bring the laundry back upstairs to our apartment to get us through the next week:
we don't lack
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