How to Survive Without a Dryer

I once signed up for this free little homemaking E-course that promised time saving tips for anyone buried under piles of laundry and dishes. While the course would have been quite helpful for the average household, it assumed that you had both and dishwasher and a dryer. And I, of course, have neither. But, I’ve learned that, while a dryer may seem to be a necessity in today’s modern world, it absolutely does not have to be.

But, you may have to make a few lifestyle changes.

1. Forget about laundry day.

Laundry day does not exist in a dryer-free lifestyle (unless you have enough space to hang a week’s worth of clothes). You might also be able to make it happen if you live in a really warm, sunny climate and are willing to run back and forth between the washing machine and the clothesline all day – I think. Probably. But, this is not my situation (I don’t even have a yard) so I’m not going to speculate further.

Instead of a weekly chore, you have to view laundry as a daily one.

(Quick question: people with larger families already do this, right? I mean, if you have like 5 kids can you get away with only doing laundry a couple days a week?)

This involves finding your daily laundry load minimum. So, for my two person household, with our small European washing machine, that number is two. Two loads a day keeps me not only on top of our laundry, but sometimes, ahead of it. This means that I can take a day off every once in a while without having to deal with a huge mountain of socks. (Socks! My husband takes his feet very seriously 0.o).

2. Space, space, space.

If  you have no dryer, the obvious place to hang your clothes would be outside, on a line. We live in an apartment, so for us this isn’t possible. So, what we have are collapsible drying racks. These are lightweight, and easy to moving onto a porch or balcony (if possible – we have neither). We started off using them indoors, but found that they brought too much moisture into our apartment – so we had to move them into the attic.

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This worked great over the summer, but then when winter hit we had problems with our clothes freezing. So, I developed a system, as illustrated by the following cartoon:

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Yes, the cycle was interrupted when a few friendly neighborhood birds took residence in our drafty attic.  I retaliated by turning our attic into Fort Knox:

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Ain’t no bird gonna’ get through that packing tape! My husband, with his brilliant mechanical mind, was flabbergasted.

So, anyways, once the bird problem was taken care of, the cycle of laundry was able to continue. Once in the attic, the clothing stays overnight, where it loses approximate 40 to 60% of its moisture. I then collect it and bring it downstairs to finish drying in the laundry room:dsc02559

(You may recognize my laundry hampers from this post).

The cycle then begins all over again, as per the cartoon’s illustration (only now with less excrement!).

Thankfully, I only have to do all that shuffling in the winter. During the summer, the attic actually gets really hot, and can usually dry my clothes over the course of one afternoon.

3. And, finally, rejoice in the lower electricity bill that you now have!

Seriously – I imagine that we will eventually move to a bigger place, with a dryer, but even then, I don’t know how often I’ll use it. The only thing I really miss are fluffy towels. Towels just don’t get fluffy on a line. So, I’ll probably use it for towels. But, otherwise, this is a lifestyle that’s easy to get used to.

So, there you go: find your daily load minimum, find the appropriate space, and be consistent – no need to get buried under your husband’s socks.

How does laundry work in your house? And, to repeat the question I posed earlier to those of you with large families: how often do you have to do laundry? Is there anyone with a large family, without a dryer? Let me know! For science. 0.o

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2 thoughts on “How to Survive Without a Dryer

  1. We haven’t had a dryer since we moved away from the USA almost three years ago, and you’re right, it’s pretty easy to develop a routine! Although the presence of critters like birds would definitely complicate the routine. In our apartment we have these really awesome bars attached to the ceiling far above our heads in the little laundry area, so have this long stick with a hook on the end and I use that to lift hangers with wet clothes up and hang them on the bar. We normally get away with one load a day–once in a while we can skip a day. And you’re right, I love a low electricity bill! And I honestly think there’s less wear and tear on clothes without a dryer.
    My family didn’t have a dryer for several years when I was a kid and yeah, it was like 4 loads in the washing machine everyday due to the 7 kids of our family. So I figure life without a dryer for just the two of us is a piece of cake!

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    • Oh cool, like retail poles! With my setup, it would be kind of awkward to dry clothing on hangers, but, wow, you’d already have them halfway put away at that point. Shortcuts for the win!

      Also, 7 kids, no dryer, and 4 loads. That sounds doable (noted), but also like it would be a lot of work. Malaysia sounds like such an interesting place to live! I’m sure it was (is) worth it.

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