Camp is almost over and you’re excited for your kids to come back home. You may even be waiting to welcome them with open arms. That is, until you catch sight of the duffel bags being dragged toward the house behind them. A funky smell is wafting your way, and the layers of dirt are clearly visible, on sneakers, sweatshirts, hats and T-shirts. Your arms are probably slightly less open now that the laundry ordeal is looming.
Perhaps the laundry room is right by the garage, so that the kids can dump everything without bringing it through the whole house. Or perhaps you’ve done what one mother told us she did, and spread a tarp on the floor for her kids’ clothes to be piled on. No one wants creepy-crawlies or other camp critters hitching rides home with the campers.
Jill Kirsch, JLNJ’s senior editor, shared her practice of telling her kids to throw away their sneakers before even getting on the bus, because she didn’t want to ever see them again after camp. “Wear the flip-flops home,” this mother of five advised.
Or perhaps you did what Bergenfield resident Rachel Markovitz did for the first time this year, and brought it all to a laundromat.
Upon her son’s return from a month at camp, his belongings had accumulated the expected filth. But, this year, his shampoo opened while in transit and spilled over everything. Armed with detergent and a clean bag for post-wash clothes, Markovitz was amazed by the huge machines and low cost. She said, “It was really a very, very easy experience and I was glad that it was done.” Unlike in the past, when the laundry at home seemed to “just drag on,” the work was done in less than an hour.
Keith, the manager at Splash Laundromat and Dry Cleaning on Queen Anne Road, deals with thousands of pounds of gross laundry that mothers simply do not want to touch. With over 100 machines, your clothes are ready that day or the next. If you choose to have it done for you, then you can start looking forward to a pile of spotless, folded and fresh-smelling clothing upon pick-up.
Aside from preventing any bugs or dirt from being tracked into your home, going to a laundromat has a community feel to it as well. Being in Teaneck in the heart of the West Englewood kosher shopping district means that Keith has caught on to the Shabbat and holiday schedule, among other Jewish “fun facts.” Just last week he watched as the number 613 continuously came up for a couple of women doing their laundry. Each time it occurred, he laughed. Curious, the women asked why, and Keith explained that he knows it’s an important number, saying, “Yeah, that’s the number of your commandments!”
Sending your sons and daughters to camp means that you accept the inevitable joys of enabling your children to build beautiful summer memories, clicking through pictures on the camp website and possibly adapting to a quieter house for a few weeks. Part of the package is the seemingly endless loads of wash that are headed your way. Once they’re home, life sounds a little bit louder and feels a little more hectic. So, treat yourself to a lighter load, and let someone else clean your dirty laundry.
Sara Linder is a JLNJ summer intern. She is a Teaneck resident and a student at the University of Maryland, College Park.