Should you outsource your laundry or do it yourself

Each day, I see folks carrying a pile of clothings to the dobby located not far from my house. They would bring about a weeks’ worth of clothes to be washed by the dobby and come over to collect it later.

Sometimes, I would see my neighbors carrying a huge basket of clothes to another dobby for washing. That is why it is said that opening a self service laundry is quite a profitable business.

Why do people choose to outsource their laundry and ironing instead of doing it themselves?

1. Dislike for the task
When we do not like to do a particular task, it gets us down when we have to get down to the actual task. Some ‘life coach’ would advise you to outsource and outsource…. that is run away from what you don’t like and focus what that you like the most.

So we ‘outsource’ tasks that we don’t like and pay someone else to do it. For example, I do not enjoy cooking, so I pay to buy food that others have cooked. Sounds simple, rite?

2. Do not have a washing machine at home
It can be overwhelming if you do not have a washing machine at home. You may live in a small apartment that does not have the facility. If you are not working and living alone, there isn’t much clothings to wash. But if you have 2 or more family members/spouse staying with you, the amount gets add up quickly. Within two days you would have an entire laundry basket full.

3. No time to do the washing/ something you consider as not productive use of time
You may have a washing machine and a dryer at home but find that you do not have time to do those tasks yourself. I would see folks who come wearing working attire dropping off their laundry which consisted mostly of working clothes. This is because they also outsourced the ironing as well.

Having said that, I feel that doing your own laundry is a simple task and there are potential benefits for you to do your own laundry.

1. Laundry does not take up a long time
Usually I would put my laundry in the washing machine, pour in the detergent and do other stuff like typing blog posts and cleaning up while the machine is running. Each loads takes about 40 minutes of wash, rinse and spin being repeated 3 times. After it finishes, I would take up my clothes and dry them under the sun (we do not need a dryer because we live in hot tropical climate). I also have clothing racks to hang on clothes in the shade for rainy days.

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If you send your clothes to a laundromat, you would still need to drive to drop off and drive to pick it up. It still requires time unless you happened to have that is located right in front of your house or apartment.

Speaking about wasting time, you may also want to dive into your daily routine and identify things you do which could be even a bigger time waster. Habits that does not brings any value such as playing mobile phone games like Candy Crush, binge watching Korean dramas and mindless surfing on the net. You may argue that well, these are great past time to unwind after a long and tiring day. But honestly in the long run, it may lead to negative feelings and even depression.

2. In the long run, you waste much more money without realizing it
Washing machines are not expensive to buy but that can be use for a long time. I bought my National brand washing machine for about USD200 almost 20 years ago. The washing machine is still functioning today and gets my laundry done.

If you do the math on how much you need to pay for laundry vs investing in a machine machine, the amount quickly adds up. Actually there are many areas in our lives where we can save a lot by cutting down our expenses. Learning to wash your own clothes can be one of them.

3. Doing your Laundry can be therapeutic 
Some of you may laugh at me for saying this. Therapeutic?

It is a matter of paradigm shift and your mindset when it comes to doing tasks, any tasks for that matter.

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Well please hear me out. I started washing clothes when I was 9 years old. Actually it happened because one day, I saw my mother came back from work carrying a bunch of heavy groceries on both hands. She took one look at the huge amount of soaked clothings of our family and she let out a big sigh (on washing days, she would soak the clothes and then come back from work to wash them). She just looked so tired. So I decided I would wash the clothes for her- with exception of her white nursing uniform.

The look on her face when she came back one day, tired from work carrying two heavy bags of groceries…. and finding her clothes all washed and hanging under the sun…. was priceless!

We did not have a washing machine as we could not afford one. In fact I was much older when we finally had one. Of course, things were much easier with washing machine after that. But even so, I have spent some time living in remote areas of Thailand and I had to hand wash all my clothes. I have always found washing to be a little therapeutic…. to see dirt getting out of clothes and the clothes drying up under the windy hot sun:

Clothes drying under the windy sun

Another related habit is ironing your clothes instead of paying some one a few dollars to iron each piece of clothing. When I was younger, I used to dislike ironing- I mean, who actually loved ironing? You get all sweaty and the piles look overwhelming. I know most of my friends hated it.

I started beaming YouTube videos on my TV while ironing. I would take out my ironing board and place it in front of the TV and iron while the videos are playing. Now, YouTube videos are not like movie or drama series where you would miss the action when you get your eyes off the TV.  I watched a lot of YouTube educational videos on various topics such as decluttering, waking up early and personal development.

Basically a lot of these videos mostly consist of the YouTuber talking- hence my eyes need not be on the video.  I just keep my ears up and my eyes focused on the ironing tasks in front of me. When you are feeling down or demotivated about something, there are inspiring YouTubers who make inspiring videos that can help you get out of the rut…. I usually stick to the educational videos that teaches me to improve something.

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The time I use for ironing allows me to give myself ‘permission’ to indulge in these videos. Because I have learned so much and often gets entertained in the process, it takes only a couple of times of doing this for my mind to positively associate ironing as an enjoyable task. It is a good workout as well.

Even if you have to hand wash your own clothes, you can use it as a time to listen to podcasts or Youtubers talking. You get things done and at the same time learn something new. It’s really a win-win situation.

In conclusion, I just want to share from my personal experience that you can turn a tasks that you don’t like into something that you enjoy. I know a few successful people who literally try to ‘outsource’ everything they could so that they get more time in their hands. But what do they do with the extra time in their hands?

If they are using that extra time to spend more time with their family (I mean, real quality time and not those where they go out and eat and everyone’s head is down staring at their phones), then that’s great. If they are using the extra time to learn a new skill or learn to build passive income, then keep up the good work. But if it just wasting more time sitting on the couch binge watching dramas or shopping for things that they do not need, then is it really worth it at all?

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