Is This Your Trash, Or Is It Just Your Laundry?

I have thrown out my neighbor’s laundry several times.

Have you ever thrown out your neighbor’s laundry? What were you doing with your neighbor’s dirty laundry in the first place? How is it you cannot distinguish your niehgbor’s laundry from a bag of trash, and why would you live around such people? Yet this is exactly my situation. Allow me to explain.

I live in a very large urban cooperative housing situation, actually an intentional Christian community. We occupy many floors of a tall, old hotel in Uptown, Chicago. There are over a dozen families on my floor alone. By pooling all of our resources, we manage to live in relative comfort and security on a very VERY low per-capita income. One of the keys to this efficient lifestyle is the mass purchase of sundries and dry goods. A team goes out once a week to Costco or other wholesale distributors and they come back with a truckload of toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. A big advantage to this arrangement is I never have to personally go shopping for this stuff myself. A disadvantage is I have little choice in the brand of toilet paper or toothpaste I use. Or trash bags. We all pull our trash bags out of the same gargantuan box. And the shoppers do not provide laundry bags. Many families use those oversize Ikea shopping bags for laundry, but most of us visit the hall closet and pull out… a trash bag. You see where this is going.

From Left: Trash & Laundry. Or is it...

From Left: Trash, Laundry. Or is it…

So when I leave my tiny apartment with a bag of trash in my hand, and I see an identical bag in the hallway in front of my neighbor’s door, I am immediately inspired to love my neighbor as myself, and to do unto others as I would have them do unto me, and I grab the bag and haul it out to the dumpster. In this manner, I have thrown away my neighbor’s laundry on several occasions.

And once in a while a bag of garbage shows up in the laundry room.

And in the years I have lived here, my laundry has been thrown away at least three times.

It is a huge blessing and comfort to know I am surrounded by neighbors who love me so well.


4 thoughts on “Is This Your Trash, Or Is It Just Your Laundry?

  1. I passed thru the common dining room last night with a bag of kitchen trash over my shoulder. My friend Meghan saw me and cried “My laundry!”
    “Ah, you’ve read my blog post on the subject.”
    “No. Isn’t that my laundry you’ve got there?”
    I tell you it happens all the time.


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