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September 22, 2016

New service offers “Life Without Laundry”

The typical student living on-campus at the University of Massachusetts must spend $1.50 in quarters to wash and $1.50 to dry when it comes time to do one load of laundry. Many students also comment on the time it takes to wait for an available washer or dryer, especially considering the sometimes-broken machines.

A new laundry service being offered in the Amherst area gives students the convenience of getting their laundry picked up, taken to a facility to be cared for, then returned to the student – washed and folded. The company, appropriately named Life Without Laundry, promises on its website, “Never again will a friend ask ‘what’s that smell?’ while visiting your room. Never again will your girlfriend or boyfriend refuse to show affection for you because your three-week-old gym socks are sitting in that odor basket at the foot of your bed.”

The company operates in the Boston area and just recently began to service the Amherst area. The company reports already having 70 customers in the Pioneer Valley after doing “light, light marketing.”

UMass sophomore Kayla Thornquist said she would prefer not to use the University’s laundry facilities.

“Overall when I can avoid using the dorm laundry systems I do,” she said.

However, Thornquist says she still does her laundry at school, or “sometimes at home, depending on whether I’m going home or not. I don’t like the fact that we need to pay for laundry after paying thousands of dollars in housing.”

The company also operates in the Boston area and charges $11 for the basic service, which consists of pick-up and delivery and washing in cold water. The price covers a 20-pound bag of laundry, which the company says is “about two loads in your average-size washing machine.” The company picks up loads during blocks throughout the day, seven days a week, with a late pick-up time at 9 p.m. for “night owls.”

Spend $13 for a 20-pound bag, and the company will wash clothes on a delicate cycle, and deliver the laundry back the next day. For $27, a customer can get “platinum service,” which also offers next-day delivery in addition to “luxury” laundry treatment: delicate wash, bleach on whites, customized instructions on garment care, color enhancement and custom folding separation.

The service is handled online at Lifewithoutlaundry.com, where customers make an online account to sign up for the service. They are provided with an official laundry bag after the first order and can send more than 20 pounds of laundry for an overage charge.

Sophomore Samantha Yoon said that despite the new service, she is happy doing her own laundry.

“I just do my laundry here,” she said. “First of all, it’s way cheaper, and second, I’ve never liked paying for convenience, especially when said convenience exceeds about five dollars for a relatively minor service.”

UMass student Veronica Johnson commented that she also prefers not to do her laundry on campus, but can’t afford to do otherwise. “I try to schedule out my laundry so that I have to do minimal laundry at school, and I bring most of it home,” she said. “I would use the laundry service if my parents paid for it. Otherwise, I would not spend that amount of money for someone to do something that I can do just fine on my own.”

The company does not offer air-drying or dry-cleaning services.

Campus resident Maggie Clayton said, “I do my laundry on campus except for anything still dirty when I leave for winter break and spring break. I use my UCard to pay for it. It’s my money that is put on there for the sole purpose of laundry and textbooks.”

She elaborated that she wouldn’t use the new service because she likes to clean her own clothes. “I would not use this service because they make you pay by credit card and I am very hesitant about the treatment of my clothes in someone else’s hands. I air dry almost all of my clothes because it is a waste of energy and money to pay for drying service.”

In the “Terms and Conditions” listed on the company’s website, it’s stated that customers can make a claim if they feel that any of their clothing has been damaged in the laundering process.

“Bottom line is, we are a laundry service 1/2 the price of our competitors and almost the same price you pay for that horrible coin laundry,” the site said.

Kat Manser can be reached at kmanser@student.umass.edu.

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