Perils of University Life: Washing


Getting used to university life can be a big struggle. You leave your home, the place where you have lived for all your life. You leave your family and friends, the people who have supported you through the good times and bad. Moving to university drops you straight into the plunge pool of adult life. Money worries, malnutrition, and the looming spectre of assignments after a drunken night out can sometimes prove too much for some people. To put it simply, some people will take to university like a duck to water, and others will resemble a badger trying to read Shakespeare.

Regardless of what gets you first, whether it’s being stabbed after a night of busking for beer money in the city centre, or contracting scurvy after only eating packet pasta every day for four weeks in a row, possibly one of the most distressing and health impacting activities while living on your own is also my most feared.


Not washing as in showering. After nineteen years I think I’ve mastered that particular skill. Nor doing the dishes. Embarassingly, I find that quite therapeutic. And the washing liquid makes my hands smell pretty.

I am talking about laundry. The most stress inducing, confusing activity that has ever been invented. If I was ever tortured for information, they could forget about taking the pliers out of the toolkit. Just sit me in front of a washing machine and give me a washing basket full of clothes. I’d be a more sorry sight than that badger trying to get to grips with Hamlet.

What gets me about washing is the organisation. I am not an organised person. My work is left until the last minute, my room resembles Aladdin’s cave (albeit filled with crap and not treasure; the other day I found two scotch eggs from before Christmas. I tried rubbing them. No genie), and my idea of a schedule involves me writing events on bits of paper and hoping I’ll stumble across them before said occasions occur.

So separating my clothes into lights, darks, and whites is not something which I enjoy. It resembles a cruel kind of segregation; why do the whites get a nice hot wash, whereas the lights and darks get a cold one? I have been told to get a colour catcher by my more laundry-savvy friends. Apparently this would allow me to throw all my clothes into one machine without taking into account colour. I don’t think it was fair of them to look at me like an idiot when I said you can’t catch colours because they are a non-tangible entity. It’s a very good point.

I’ve never even tried using washing powder. The thought of putting too much in scares me. What if it transformed my clothes? My jeans could end up as dresses, my t-shirts as bras. Exaggerated I know, but this is the fear I live with. So I thank the sweet people at Ariel who invented liquitabs. I just throw one in the drum, load the clothes in on top of it, and I’m sorted.

Or not. Last week the liquitab got stuck in a towel and failed to dissolve. Cue one sweetly smelling towel with a huge orange stain and plastic residue, and several other items that smelt like a wet dog. Unfortunately they failed to get any of the cleansing goodness.

Luckily I’m going home today. With one huge bag filled with dirty clothes.

Cheers mum.


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