When looking for an apartment or any other place to call home, the renter’s dream in big cities where space is at a premium is an apartment that comes fully loaded with the amenities of a suburban split ranch tucked at the end of a cul-de-sac. Outdoor space might be nice, and more than one closet, a dream, but if the listing includes a dishwasher, then my interest is piqued—but not as much as it is by the presence of a stacked washer and dryer, hidden in a closet with poor ventilation, but there nonetheless.
A dishwasher is a superfluous and overrated appliance that gestures towards efficiency, but is merely another chore to manage. Besides, anyone with an ounce of sense knows that a dishwasher’s utility is to serve as both storage and a final rinse cycle; if you did the dishes right (according to my mother), then you have already scrubbed the last stubborn grains of rice that cling to the bowls by immersing them in the tub of boiling hot water that lives in the sink for this express purpose. Utilizing the dishwasher as a storage unit, or as a final, cursory cleanse, is the best use of this appliance, which takes up space that could be otherwise occupied by some nice lower cabinets in which to store your giant Dutch oven. Additionally, these two items are not comparable, as it is very easy to wash your own dishes your damn self, but much more difficult to hand-wash every item of clothing you own. But the luxury of a washing machine inside your own home is vastly understated. There is nothing more rich than being able to do your laundry whenever you want, from the comfort of your own home.
When a washer and dryer is not in your home, doing laundry is a chore that involves putting on some semblance of real clothing, stepping into shoes, and leaving the house. I understand that this is a personal problem, for I have never been blessed with a building in New York that has laundry in the basement. As a result of this happenstance, and accompanied by my own laziness, I have an underwear drawer brimming full of emergency underpants purchased at various Gaps and H&Ms across the island of Manhattan, during moments of deep laziness where I knew that I had to “do laundry” but simply didn’t want to.
If you’re of the wash-and-fold variety, then the task of doing laundry is a bit easier, though it requires suffering through the indignity of walking down the street with a bag of dirty clothing hoisted upon your shoulder like Santa. But if you choose to do your laundry yourself, and are picky about the state of your whites, then laundry is a day-long affair, involving the aforementioned indignity coupled with waiting in the laundromat as your clothes whirl about in an industrial-sized machine. This shit takes longer than anyone would care to admit, and yet, we do this because clean clothing is a nice thing to have in the house.
A washer and dryer in the home is the height of luxury because it insures that you will have clean things at all times—or at the minimum, you’ll have the option. I don’t know if I’d do laundry as often as I think I might if I woke up tomorrow and there was a washer/dryer unit in my bathroom, but I remain hopeful. Arguably, I could dream a little bigger, but as it stands, the thought of say, spilling a vat of tomato sauce on the rug in the kitchen, and then throwing said item into the washing machine, is a dream that I’ve pinned to my vision board for my future self. Folding laundry in front of a television for an hour or two is a nice way to kill the time—a mindless task that lets me feel a sense of accomplishment, while also basking in the luxury of clean hand towels at a moment’s notice. Domestic activities of this sort don’t usually fill me with joy as much as they do a resigned sense of acceptance, but laundry in the home scratches a very particular itch: it’s my sad version of the American dream, one freshly-laundered pair of ratty sleep shorts at a time.