So, my dryer died a few weeks ago. Well, I suppose to be honest it didn't really die, it's just very, very ill. It will spin all day long if I let it, but it won't heat up at all---which is not very helpful when one's laundry is cold and wet! I have the money in my emergency fund to have the dryer fixed (or even to purchase a new one, if need be) but my first thought when it stopped working was "how much money can I save by NOT using my dryer"?
According to the site CarbonRally:
"By line-drying 1 laundry load per week, you will reduce your CO2 emissions by 18.8 lbs and your energy cost by $1.40 after one month."I have a couple of friends who dry their laundry the 'old fashioned' way---that is, they hang them up either outside in good weather, or in the basement in bad weather. I don't have a basement, but I do have a spare bedroom that could work. I've been cruising both Craigslist and Freecycle for the Portland area, trying to see if I could get a cheap (or free) drying rack, garment rack, or clothesline, and haven't had much luck. These items have been posted, but for whatever reason, their owners don't respond to my emails expressing interest! It's strange.
I did find a rather rickety drying rack at the Goodwill (remember, I'm on The Compact this year, and am trying NOT to purchase new) which is currently residing in my living room. To be honest, it's such a poorly made product (Target's 'Home' series---stay away, stay very far away from this brand) that I could have saved my $4.99 and done without it entirely by using hangers and the bar that holds my shower curtain in the bathroom.
In any case, since I keep my heat at a relatively low setting (58 degrees most days when I'm home, although sometimes I'll bump it up to 62 or 64 if I'm feeling really chilled) it takes about a week for most items to dry. Can I live with this? I'm not sure! I wish my dryer had chosen to break down in the summer, I can tell you that right now! It would be so much more convenient to hang some wet clothing outdoors in the morning and come home to find it dry in the afternoon.
I've also struggled with the extremely CRUNCHY feel of some items when they're air-dried, such as towels. I'm trying to look on the bright side, by telling myself that the extra roughness is contributing to the exfoliation of my skin! I've done some web research on this topic (of course!) and have heard that a 1/4 cup of vinegar in the wash load will help with this, which I plan to try with my next load.
I would love to hear from you all on this topic: do you use a dryer? A hybrid dryer-air-dry system? Or are you all air-dry, all the time? Do you have any tips for me? Suggestions and encouragement are most welcome! In the meantime, here are some of the sites I came across in my internet searches looking for information about life without a dryer:
- Hillbilly Housewife challenged her readers to go without their dryers for a week; read the comments section for their reflections on this!
- FIMBY (which stands for 'Fun In My Backyard') wrote a post about her family of five and their life without a dryer.
- Life, in a Nutshell has a wonderful post about building her own clothesline! I'm not sure I'm that handy, but I'd love to find some cheap or free way to set up my own outdoor clothesline for when the weather improves. . .
- According to this article in the Minnesota Star Tribune, 'public opinion' regarding outdoor clotheslines is changing. Apparently, some people would rather not see their neighbors' unmentionables hanging outside, for all the world to see!