The battlefield that is the laundry room

Sophie Boyce loads her clothes in the East Fairchild laundry room. Photo by Jenna Anderson

Despite experience doing his own laundry at home, Aden Morvice wasn’t prepared for the experience at East Fairchild. Traffic jams happened frequently with only three machines and 83 cherubs.

“I’ve been doing laundry for three or four years, and I have a lot of siblings, so there’s a fair amount of competition to get to the laundry,” said Morvice of Geneva, Illinois. “Nothing prepared me for the battlefield that was the laundry room here. It’s just a massacre in there.”

To get a spot in line, students sometimes raced to the machines after class or woke up early. Morvice set his alarm for 6:30 a.m. each time he ran out of clean T-shirts.

For others, the laundry room was a place for meeting friends and helping each other out. Dani Lubezki of Santa Monica, California, said she made friends and had good conversations there.

“I honestly had fun doing laundry,” she said. “It was hard the first day, and I struggled to know what to separate and what temperature to wash things on — normal cycle, delicate cycle, heavy cycle. It’s a whirlwind of cycles.”

The laundry room also served as a space for learning outside the classroom. Morvice said he adapted early and mastered how to squeeze everything into one machine to avoid doing multiple loads per week.

In a poll of 50 cherubs, 25 said they do their own laundry at home, while nine admitted they had not tried it before the program. Many experienced cherubs helped first-timers separate their clothes and pick appropriate cycles.

It wasn’t all clean clothes and Tide pods, though. Cherubs frequently had mishaps, like Farrah Anderson of Danville, Illinois, did when she washed her blanket.

“I accidentally had it on extra rinse, and when I pulled my blanket out, it was soaking wet,” she said. “I had to wring it out in the sink, put it in the dryer and dry it like five times.”

Lubezki had an issue with her detergent pods when she threw them in with her clothes. She took out her wash. Everything appeared to be normal, so she placed her clothes in the dryer.

“That evening, when I put on my freshly cleaned pants there was a big splotch of dry, green Tide pod right on the butt,” she said. “They stuck together and were really gross, so I threw them back in the wash.”

Cherubs also said they lost items while doing their laundry. Clothes tend to disappear when they are transferred between machines and removed by others. Socks, shirts and undergarments are frequently misplaced.

“I saw a fair amount of texts saying, ‘Hey, is this your sock? I stole it from you in my laundry,’” Morvice said. “So a lot of socks were missing. I hope everybody found their socks.”