One of the more bizarre things about living in Switzerland is laundry day. Never in my life would I have imagined that laundry would play such an integral part of my day to day living.
I've been used to apartment living for most of my life and so using a common washing machine and dryer isn't new to me. Yes, I pine for en suite laundry and I won't ever consider myself a fulfilled person until en suite laundry is again a permanent part of my life but I deal with apartment laundry.
In Switzerland, using a common washing machine/dryer is normal, but what's not normal is the fact that when you move in, you're allocated a time slot. And having a desirable laundry time slot makes all the difference to your social calendar.
When I get together with friends, there's a lot of talk of laundry. As in "oh, can't on thursday, it's my laundry night" or "I'd love to, when I'm finished my laundry".
In north america, this would be considered a blow off. In Switzerland, it's a genuine reason for not being able to attend something. When a colleague first moved into her flat, her laundry slot was Wednesday mornings. Laundry times are issued regardless of need for work or personal preference. So, my collegue actually had to be late for work for the first few weeks because she'd otherwise miss her laundry time. True story.
My laundry day is Sunday morning. As one of only two residents living alone in my building, I have to share a day. Because I've had a bunch of travel this summer, I've missed a lot of laundry time! Thankfully, most people in my building are pretty flexible and have let me encroach on their laundry time or have been willing to negotiate. Well, at least I think they have since my negotiating is done in charades, hand gestures and my Italian translation app on my phone.
You say "why not go to a laundromat?" splendid idea and one that I'm not opposed to. However, for whatever reason, the laundromat is not a concept that has made it to this country. In Germany, they were everywhere! Here? We have great watches and chocolate, but laundromats, forget about it!