Laundry Swap!

Laundry Swap!. (Part 3)

Part 1, Part 2

By D.J.

This will be my last post about Laundry Swap!.

The dream of Laundry Swap! was simple and beautiful: use the postal system as a magical highway for boxes of dirty clothes, building a global community through mutual exchanges of laundry. Strangers would get to see what kind of clothes I wear and how I’d gotten them dirty, and I’d get to do the same. By washing someone else’s laundry, it would almost be as if I’d traveled to their homeland and worn their socks for a day (but better, because I don’t actually have to travel anywhere and instead get to stay at home doing laundry).

But Cate has insisted that we stop participating in Laundry Swap!. Here’s what happened.

Our first Laundry Swap! partner failed to wash our son’s cloth diapers often enough (daily), so we requested a new partner. Fair enough (on our part).

Our second partner was a little unusual. The first box of laundry she sent us was just white bedding and towels – no clothing. Then the next day, we got another box of just white bedding and towels…before we’d even sent back the first box!

Every day another big box of white sheets, pillowcases, and towels arrived. I can’t even imagine how many bedrooms and bathrooms this woman has! All the towels were monogrammed with her name (Garden Hilton), and I wonder if she isn’t a member of the Hilton family.

White sheets

Our backyard pretty much looks like this all the time.

I thought it was really exciting to be doing a celebrity’s laundry, but after two weeks Cate demanded that we drop out of Laundry Swap!. She said she was spending 18 hours a day doing laundry and was sick of it.

Honestly, I can’t even believe she’s complaining. I have to be at work all day earning a paycheck and would much rather be at home hand-washing sheets and towels. In fact, I wish there were some way I could just spend all day washing linens, every day, forever, like I was getting to live inside Downton Abbey (but downstairs).


Laundry Swap!? (Part 2)

by D.J. 

We just wrapped up our second week as Laundry Swap! participants.

Laundry Swap! is a not-for-profit that connects slow launderers for long-distance laundry exchanges through the mail. It’s like having a pen pal, except instead of reading about an exotic stranger’s faraway life, you’re hand-washing their clothes. So, amazing idea, right?

Unfortunately, so far it’s been a little disappointing.

Laundry Swap!’s member guidelines say “Doing laundry is a luxurious journey that should be savored and enjoyed. So don’t rush it – but at the same time, remember that your laundry swap partner probably does need their clothes back at some point.” I totally agree with that, but especially the last part.

Knit diaper

Hand-washing woolen diapers isn’t an experience we were willing to keep to ourselves.

Our son wears cloth diapers, which my wife Cate knitted out of angora yarn. (He has sensitive skin, probably a holdover from when we were using commercial detergent.) Each diaper takes a few weeks for Cate to knit (she hasn’t really gotten the hang of it), so we only have six diapers total. That means we have to wash them every day. But our swap partner has only been washing them every TWO or THREE days. Buddy, if you don’t want to hand-wash dirty diapers every day, what are you even DOING in the slow laundry movement?

So, I’ve emailed Laundry Swap! and asked for a partner who appreciates the importance of doing laundry daily. We’ll see what happens.

Laundry Swap!! (Part 1)

by D.J. 

Just a quick post to share how psyched I am about Laundry Swap!!

A big part of why I got into slow laundry was to learn more about my own clothes. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn about other people’s clothes, too.

That’s just what Laundry Swap! lets you do. Once you sign up, you’re assigned a swap partner. You mail them your dirty laundry, and they mail their dirty laundry to you, and you’re each responsible for washing the other person’s laundry and sending it back. Believe it or not, this is a free service! (Except for postage.)

Cate and I just signed up, and we can’t wait to see what kind of partner we get. Maybe it will be a Tibetan monk who sends us his robe! Or a Northern California nudist’s beach towel! Or a Kenyan teen who is wearing the H&M pants that I donated to Salvation Army last year! Stay tuned.

Japanese box

This package of dirty laundry smells like friendship!