I wondered and now I know–I really can live without a clothes dryer!
I had to have the rollers inside my dryer replaced a few weeks ago. It’s only four-years-old and I wasn’t ready to replace it, so I had a repairman diagnose the problem and give me a quote. Although it would cost over a couple of hundred dollars for the repair, I was willing to spend the money because (1) I hate disposing of appliances, and (2) my washer is still working and it matches the dryer and I don’t really want to replace the dryer with the same model and brand.
Somehow the appliance repairman missed it when I said, “Yes, order the parts,” so I was actually without use of a dryer for almost three weeks instead of one, like he had estimated. But maybe that was a good thing. Ever since Tracy Allen shared her story about living dryer-free, I’ve wondered if I had the “stuff” to do it myself. Mind you, I have two teenage children, and we all play competitive sports. Let’s cut to the chase–our laundry stinks. Storing it up while I waited for the dryer to be repaired was not an option, and there was no way I was going to start running to a laundromat every day.
My Trick for Getting Laundry Dry Faster
As usual, I found myself ill equipped. We don’t have a clothesline, nor do we have a drying rack, so I had to improvise, as you can see in the picture. Of course, we’ve scarcely had two non-rainy days in a row this summer so I doubt I could have dried much outdoors anyway. But I did have a stroke of minor genius.
Since I’ve been running a dehumidifier in the house a good deal of the time anyway, and it constantly blows out warm air, I moved the dehumidifier into the laundry room to hasten the drying process. Depending on how well I was able to get the dehumidifier positioned, it actually worked quite well getting the laundry to dry faster.
So I adjusted to this little inconvenience and found it wasn’t nearly so bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I discovered there were some unexpected advantages:
- I actually stayed on top of the laundry better than I usually do because I knew I didn’t have the space to air dry more than one load in a single day.
- I found that Tracey Allen was right about the therapeutic benefits of hanging clothes. It felt good to focus on one thing for a few minutes out of the day. And I felt a greater sense of accomplishment when the clothes were dry and ready to put away.
- Line drying clothes did not increase my total laundry time nearly as much as I thought it would. For one thing, clothes that had to be hung were already on hangers by the time they were dry. Matching socks took less time, and clothes were generally easier to fold.
- My sheets were not nearly so wrinkled when I hung them to dry as when I take them out of a dryer and promptly place them in a basket where they typically remain several hours or days before I fold and put them away. Folding smooth sheets gave me a strange rush of domestic satisfaction.
- I learned that machine drying polyester clothes is a waste anyway since they line dry in about 30 minutes.
- To a certain extent I actually enjoyed the spatial problem solving I had to do just to get an entire load hung in a limited space.
A Drying Rack For Every Laundry Room!
Not that there weren’t downsides to life without my dryer – there were. Mostly, I didn’t like the clutter that hanging laundry created. And towels, I think because detergent tends to cling to their rough texture, dried sandpaper stiff. Other than that, it really wasn’t so bad.
The experience gave me an idea for builders who are always looking for cheap ways to differentiate their homes (besides installing low-grade granite countertops). Why not equip laundry rooms with a drying rack suitable for drying one full load of clothes? Eventually every homeowner is going to need one, and they may really appreciate having the option anyway.
For better or for worse, I’m back to using my clothes dryer. But I no longer quake at the idea of surviving more than a week without it. As you might have guessed, laundry is once again piling up on me as it did before my dryer broke. Baskets of clean DRY clothes now clutter my home. That’s the funny thing about convenience.