Monday, June 14, 2010

Hanging my skivies

Our new dryer was replaced with a second model exactly the same as the first, after four months of me complaining to customer service that the dryer didn’t dry my clothes. I was informed that these new LG dryers were set up to not dry clothes completely- so to save wear and tear on fabric.  Silly me, I could not accept this idea that I hang my clothes to dry AFTER placing them in my $800 dryer.

Turned out that the second dryer was the same as the first. Back to the warehouse it went and the nice folks at LG were going to send us a third dryer, exactly the same as the second, when Mat called and said, “No thanks, we’d like a refund.”

“Sir, a refund can’t be issued until your machine has been logged in our warehouse database.”

Fine. That tiny step has taken over two months. We have been without a dryer for TWO MONTHS! My whole life, I have been an avowed dryer- advocate. Sure I’ve been known to use the clothes line on those picture perfect ‘clothes line days’ when nostalgia gets the better of me, but at the sight of rain or a busy day I non-apologetically use the dryer.

Until two months ago that is. Surprisingly for such a dryer addict, I report here that using my clothesline and indoor drying rack has presented a shocking number of positives:

1. Everything in our closets is folded! It’s much easier to fold items directly off the rack because they have dried partially folded. I’m ashamed to admit that with my dryer I regularly pulled all the items out into one knotted mass in the ‘clean’ hamper. We then proceeded to dress from this tangled mess.

2. Having such a clear visual of every piece of fabric in our home hanging in the back yard, I am more aware of our family’s clothing inventory. Therefore, I buy fewer clothes. Even a $1 skirt at the thrift store isn’t worth the increasing my laundry pile.

3. My clothes, especially my thin cotton shirts, aren’t nearly as worn out. And at press time I have shrunk zero of Mat’s wool sweaters.

4. Lily’s diapers, Madi’s paint shirts, and my whites are stain free thanks to Mr. Sun.

5. Our towels have morphed into beautiful pumice stones! Due to the crisp air-dry our towels receive, my skin has never been better exfoliated.

6. We’re forced, in a good way (as in, I’m not resenting it yet), to be on top of the laundry. In our past days as dryer-owners, we often had washdays on Sundays. Eight loads through the machines, few folded. In this current regime, there is space for three washer loads on the line and rack that means we do the wash every couple days. I’m not nearly as daunted by the laundry as before when faced with piles of textiles from every closet in the house, barfed out at the foot of the basement steps.

7. I’m saving some money. Granted its not really a lot considering the time it takes to hang a load of wash (approximately 5 minutes per day). The clothes dryer is typically the second-largest electricity-using appliance after the refrigerator.  It costs about $85 to operate annually, so I’ve saved $14. Or rather, I’ve paid myself $7 for 2.5 hours of labour per month… 

8. But how can I quantify the spiritual benefits? I’m not a smoker, so there are not many times when I take a break to breath in some fresh air, release some tension in my shoulders, and pause. Hanging the laundry has been just that for me. It has offered me opportunity to pause.

And in those times of pause, I’ve been faced with the fact that my dishcloths are in disgusting shape. The whole lot of them must be purged.

And so, until we buy another dryer and I resort to my old habits, I will continue to hang my clean laundry while wondering if the neighbourhood boys are laughing at my knickers.


casey said...

Did you know that there are some neighbourhoods in the city that have a bylaw saying that homeowners cannot hang their laundry to dry outside

Mary Q Contrarie said...

I have been with out a dryer for two years. It took a little bit of getting used to but now I love the benefits of using my laundry drying racks I have found rather than taking more time. It actually takes me less because like you getting things folded, sorted and put away out of the dryer always took lots of time and often because I did not get to it in a timely manner I would then spend time ironing, which is another energy hog and time waster.

Think how valuable that $800 can be in your savings for a rainy day or to pay down some debt or to get a month ahead on your mortgage. Now there would be some money well spent.

An Avenue Homesteader said...

Thanks for the link to those hardy looking drying racks- looks like a great design! I'm preparing for winter in Canada and pricing out the retractable clothes lines which can be installed in my cellar room. Will report on how that works!

SherryGreens said...

Hee hee, great job! I went 100% air dry about a month ago, towels being the last to go. It is funny, I actually enjoy the crunchy towels, they are more absorbent. I have 3 collapsible racks in my basement laundry room, and can fit 3 to 4 loads on at a time (4 for kids clothes). Some things dry within 12 hours or so! I need to do another post on it, because my clothes come out super straight, even better than ironed sometimes, as I smooth them all out and stack them on top of each other while wet, and then hang up. Definite spiritual benefits and we wear our clothes for longer too.

An Avenue Homesteader said...

You remind me! I have to do an update post on my winter set up... part of which collapsed last night in a cold, soggy heap! Sounds like your system is far more sturdy than mine.