DEAR HARRIETTE: My building has a laundry room in the basement for all of the residents to use. The machines are free, so many people want to use the six we have. I was having a debate with my neighbor the other day. I believe that if someone has not come to take out their clothing when it is done in the washers or dryers, I have the right to take it out and use them. My neighbor believes it's common courtesy to wait for the person to take his own belongings out. People have left their clothes in the machines for hours! I think setting a timer and being ready to take out your clothes is the best thing you can do to keep the laundry system moving. My neighbor thinks it's rude of me to take out someone's clothing if they're not there to pick it up. Who is right? -- Clean Laundry, Queens, New York
DEAR CLEAN LAUNDRY: It is rude and selfish for neighbors to leave their laundry in the machines for hours, and of course you should not have wait for them to remove their belongings before you use the common machines. That said, it is best for you to contact your building management and ask them to make a policy that they post rather than taking on your neighbors firsthand.
Often the rule is a grace period of one hour or less. After that, your belongings go in a communal bin on the table or somewhere else. If this happens enough, people will get the message.