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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Washing machine tips

It's 10PM on a Monday night, and in the Chestnut laundry room the monotonous drone of washing machines and drying machines fails to hide the tension and anxiety that fill up this flourescently-lit space. Monday is laundry night...for everyone it seems, which is why I--and several other impatient souls--am standing with a full basket of dirty laundry and unable to find a vacant machine to do my wash. For those, who like me, have put off doing their laundry to the eleventh hour, 10PM Monday night is the last train, so to speak. A typical laundry routine requires a 28 minute wash cycle and a 50 minute dry cycle. Throw in another 10 minutes to move clothes between machines, 30 minutes for sorting and folding, and you can quickly see why I must get my clothes in the wash by 10PM if I want to sleep at a decent hour. Of course, everyone else is thinking the same thing, and the result is lesson in supply and demand.

In such an environment, the thinking man will always come out ahead. You see, the limited washing machine problem really has a rather simple solution: it's all about keeping good inventory. The man who keeps the best inventory of the machines in the room will always be first to the wash...and consequently first to the glory, wealth, sugar, and women--though not neccessarily in that order. For the sake of altruism (and also because my parole officer tells me this counts as a service to the community), let me share with you my inventory-management system.

First, I do a survey of all the machines in the room, taking note of machines which are unlit or leaking various machanical fluids. These I put in the "dead" pile. Next I open all the machines that are showing '0 minutes remaining', knowing full well that most of these are only teasing me with their falsly-advertised status when they are, in fact, fully loaded with wet clothes that have not been moved to the dryer. Once in a while I get lucky and find one that really is empty, but on a Monday night I would have a better chance finding a leprechon drowning in a sea of Tide. Assuming all the machines I open have wet clothes in them, I sort them in order of success-likelihood based on their apparent moisture content. Machines with very wet clothes have most likely just finished with their load. These machines are gold, so I put them in the "high priority" queue in order of wetness. Machines with fairly dry clothes are effectively "dead" because their owners have either forgotten about the clothes or are otherwise engaged and unable to retrieve them. Naturally, I put these in the "dead" pile and move on. Having completed the most difficult part of my inventory-building algorithm, I simply walk around the room and place the remaining machinese in the "watch" queue in order of time remaining.

Here's a flowchart you can print out to keep in your wallet for future reference:

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At Tuesday, December 06, 2005 6:34:00 PM, Blogger Ames said...

A flowchart for laundry?! Dude... you have way too much time on your hands...

Thank goodness I have my own washing machine... though even then, I sometimes wonder, who's using the washing machine?!


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