Thursday, June 20, 2013

Deliberating the Dryer

Three Loads!

We truly live in a time of wonders.  Many of the things we simply take for granted would have been unimaginable 100 years ago and would probably have been attributed to witchcraft 200 years ago.  So many tasks that would have to be done with hours of physical toil are delegated to a machine left to itself and forgotten. Yet we are so accustomed to relying on them, we never even question whether they are actually necessary.  Now I'm not saying modern appliances are all bad.  I'm very grateful for my refrigerator and my front-loading washer is wonderful.  Inevitably though, less than essential appliances insinuate themselves into our lives, perhaps saving time, but taking up space and energy. 

My clothes dryer is one appliance I question.  True, it is incredibly handy, allowing me to do laundry with no planning ahead, no matter what the weather outside is like.  Still, I can't help but doubt my true need of it.  After all, I think most of the days I do laundry are nice enough to hang clothes out in the clean air and healthy sunshine.  Using the dryer heats the house unpleasantly in the summer and although the heat is welcome in the winter, it isn't really efficient.  Finally, the dryer takes up space.  When you live in a 488 square foot house, space is at a premium.  Yet, I've made no effort to set anything up so I can hang my clothes outside.

Until now....

Once the Railing is up, I'll have to change my hanging method.
I purchased an umbrella style clothes line and it has been installed on the unfinished deck just 10 steps from the washing machine.  While I'm excited about having sweet air dried sheets, I know just having the line there won't be enough to get me to use it.  Habits are hard to break and I've simply thrown my clothes into the dryer without thinking about it for a long time.  So I've decided to give myself a year to see if it's feasible to send the dryer packing and use that space for more necessary things.  A strip of tape will seal the dryer door and a journal will hang on the wall next to it.  I'll note the date and reason (poor planning, emergency, bad weather, etc.) I'm using the dryer.  Having to break that seal and write down why will force me to THINK about what I'm doing.

Autopilot no longer allowed.


  1. I use my solar powered driver more often than not. I've even hung clothes outside on a breezy evening. I try to use it at least 9 times out of 10. One exception is terry bath towels. Drying outdoors makes them scratchy when used. Sheets are best dried outside and jeans don't "shrink". And the exercise shouldn't be discounted.

  2. Personally I like the rougher towels, sort of like built in exfoliation. :) The smell of line hung sheets is beyond compare.....

  3. we didnt' have a functioning dryer for about 9 mos... I was hanging laundry in the heat of the NIGHT... it was last summer and good golly... that sun would bake the cloths and change their color so fast!

    we rigged it to work ... for a while... until we can afford to buy another one.

    1. Being a Wyoming girl, I am noticing the difference in drying time. The spot with the dryer is in the shade of our huge oak tree most of the morning and then in the sun in the afternoon. So maybe washing colors in the morning and whites in the afternoon when you want them to bleach would be a good idea. I can also make sure to put the stuff that will fade on the inside of the umbrella. I think the real trick is to make sure and take everything right down when it's dry. Of course, that means you have to be home for that. I would so love to have the space the dryer is taking up for a large cabinet for blankets, extra toilet paper etc., so I'm going to really try to make this work.

  4. Admiro seu esforço em simplificar a vida. Partilho com você minha experiência em abdicar da secadoras de roupas e do ferro de passar roupas. Aprendi a alisar nossas roupas com o calor das mãos. E funciona! Acredite!

  5. Hi Gilda,

    Thank you for sharing your blog.

    We just don't buy clothing that has to be ironed, so that helps a lot. So far in my journey toward simplicity, I've found that I don't actually miss anything I've "given up". It is sometimes strange to this about how many things I used to think I had to have and now I know that all they did was cause me work and worry.


  6. I have been frugal for almost 39yrs. Back then, it wasn't "fashionable," nor politically correct, and when I eschewed some of the modern conveniences, and did not embrace the hippy/back to earth movement, friends and family just shook their heads. My first frugal decision was to reduce paper products to TP only. This, of course, increased the wash loads. I found that line drying saved $1.00 a load, and probably more today. Line drying is better for the clothes as well. This doesn't mean that I got rid of the dryer. As you already know, the weather doesn't always cooperate. With a large family, wash must be done. During times of protracted rain, the laundry does not necessarily dry properly.

    I would not get rid of my iron. While most of our clothes do not need ironing, when you need it, you need it. I use the iron for sewing (essential!), my husband's dress shirts, "blocking" non-natural yarn (my DIL's choice for the Gkids), and things that must be steamed. I inherited a gravity fed iron from my daughter. I cannot say enough about this "beasty." It heats quickly and does a fantastic job. I am, however, seriously considering having a non-electric option. Which one? however, is the question!


What do YOU think?