Monday, February 28, 2011

I Don't Have a Dryer

I am an American. I have three children. And I don't have a dryer.
Fellow Americans who read this may be shocked. Or not. They may be used to strange ideas and think 'better her than me' or maybe they'll think it's very green of me and therefore tres chic. Country peasant chic, yurt and music festival chic, sandals and granola chic; but chic all the same.
Well, I tell you. I don't do it for these reasons.Yes, the green factor is good but it's just a by-product of living in Europe. They don't really do the dryer like we Americans do. I don't think any other country does the dryer the way we do to be honest.
I looked around some today and found that while certain gated communities in Dubai don't allow you to hang your clothes outside on a line this opinion isn't found in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe, the UK and even my beloved, damp and cloudy Ireland.
It's no big deal not to have a dryer here in France. Sure, this winter there were a few days where I cursed the lack of fast-drying towels and sheets. But for the most part I don't mind it; and secretly love it in a efficient, tidy, fresh air kind of way. My towels look more crunchy (think exfoliating) than those churned and softened in a heated drum but they smell like all the springy fresh cotton greenness that the fabric softeners try to replicate thanks to the sunshine and wind. I can't pass up a breezy, sunny day without hanging out some white shirts, crib sheets and polka-dot pyjamas.

microdermabrasion yes, but also fresh
What would be the worst thing to happen if you hung out the washing? Would you consider doing it?


  1. I have a dryer but I only use it when I can't dry outside. Some clothes just take forever if the temperature is not too warm, and I hate putting a rack in the house to finish off.

    With you on the smell of fresh sun-dried laundry.

  2. Aidan - after living in Europe for a year my clothes hate/hate the clothes dryer! Granted, on a snowy Colorado Winter day, nothing feels better than sweats and towels warm from it. But in summer? NOTHING is better than sheets and towels that smell like a sun-drenched fresh day! Sadly, when I am in Colorado, I live in one of those neighborhoods that strictly forbid hanging out laundry (paragraph 5.36 of our CC&Rs, enforced by Nazi HOA). (!) (!!) I have to put it on a rack in front of my laundry room window in the summer for that nice crunchy towel and fresh air effect. Go figure - so much for being green, Colorado! I would defy them, but my neighbors are wonderful.

  3. We don't have one in Mexico either. What about dishwashers? Very few here.

  4. I love the "exfoliating" towels! And really, now I've gotten so used to hanging laundry, it's hard to go back to a dryer. When I'm visiting the states, I hang my laundry there (truthfully, I think if I dried my jeans, after all this camembert, they would no longer fit! ) And the other positive....clothes last forever! However, I don't have a family of 5. That MIGHT change my thinking!

  5. Love sunshiney towels too! When line space is tight though I will put them in the dryer. The dryers they have here are awesome, they condense the water and put it in a container that you empty, unlike in Oz where they all seem to blow it out as steamy air which makes your laundry walls go mouldy. I will miss this dryer when I go home. Here's to more sunny, washing-drying days!

  6. It's so funny, when I moved to Dublin eight years ago, I couldn't get used to a life without a dryer. I thought I was in hell. I hated my crunchy jeans and towels. But now hanging up clothes is second nature to me, and I like it. I like it in that hippie, music festival kinda way :-)

  7. Sarah,
    I do admit it wouldn't be bad to have one for those days. I had one in Ireland and used it most of the time, shamefully.

    I don't get those HOA rules. I think it looks nice when the clothes and sheets are all lined up like bunting. Oh, well. You have the best of both worlds, fabric softener sheets and all.

    Hi! You definitely wouldn't need it in Mexico either. We do have a dishwasher though. I draw the line at the dishwasher. Tell me more about yourself.

    I'm with you on the jeans! I shudder to think how they would fit esp after the winter of foie gras and cheese!

    I had one of those condensation dryers in Ireland and have to tell you I hated it. Maybe it was because it was outside in the potting shed and I had to go out there in the rain and empty water in sodden grass. I cannot resist hanging sheets on sunny days. It's a problem.

    It's different here I think. Not so crunchy and without that lingering damp. One of my friends in Bray has a system where she finishes all the clothes off in the hot press.

    Tres chic, are we all!
    aidan x

  8. I like the IDEA of hanging clothes outside. I like the IDEA of being that tuned in to the weather/nature because you have to be to plan for dry clothes, no? However, with 3 daughters and being SO american...well, it remains a lofty idea.

  9. Not only a 'hanger' but I must admit to being obsessive about the order of hang. Shirts, blouses, Tshirts, sous-vetements and then socks. L-R. But not, of course, from the same washing machine load. I used to do darker - lighter in the shirts etc but now I'm not so fussy!

  10. Susan, I think you should try...start with your sheets on the weekend and you'll be hooked.

    I like you. I too have a touch of the obsessive when it comes to hanging the wash.

    aidan x

  11. Wow, a woman after my own heart. My friends, back in MI, can't believe I can live without a dryer. I don't miss it at all and our EDF bill is better for it.

  12. Yup, no dryer here, either. By now, it's just second nature. I don't mind using a hanging rack indoors, either. Then again, I do have a laundry room, so they'renot in my face...

  13. I would hang my wash out in a heartbeat...and do in the summer. :)


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