If you’ve ever lived in a college dorm or an apartment on a budget, you’re probably well aware of how much of a fuss dealing with laundry can be. If you’re not spending time collecting change to feed machines, you’re having to wait around for machines to come open.

A few months ago, I decided to try out this Chinese branded washing machine: Haier XQBM22-C. It came in a huge box. (The UPS guy seemed relieved that I was home.) The reviews on it were pretty mixed, but I’m glad I took the plunge and bought it anyway.

I’ve washed everything from t-shirts to queen size blankets in that little machine (though I’ll admit that the latter was a tight fit) and have been pretty pleased with the results. I also needed to get a drying rack, but the Polder 8310-05 Chrome Clothes Rack works great.

When I run out of space on that rack, I’ve found that hanging up the clothes on hangers well spaced in the closet works okay.

There are obviously at least a few downsides to doing laundry this way, but I think I’m willing to live with them:

  • I have to wait a good while before the washed clothing dry. This isn’t really a problem because I rarely need my clothes immediately and if there is a case where there is a real sense of urgency (one hasn’t presented itself yet) then I can always fallback on the dryers in the laundromat down the street.
  • Clothes dried indoors tend to be stiffer. Most of the time, wearing the clothes for a short period of time or otherwise moving the fabric around tends to get rid of the “stiff” feel.
  • Drying tends to consume a fair amount of space and makes the inside super humid.
  • The small tub requires more small loads to complete a wash. Before I had the mini washing machine, I would tend to let clothing pile up and then do it all at once. I still do that sometimes, but when I do, I have to split the loads into smaller bits. It takes longer to wash everything, but it’s doable over a weekend.
  • The drainage tube is a trap. If you get one of these machines, you really need to be sure that it’s not going to come away from the sink.