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the rather boring tale of no dryer

Yesterday I took clothes to the laundromat, which I do periodically in winter, to dry them. This is because I don't have a dryer. In the summer I hang things outside, and in the winter I hang things in the basement, mainly, but sometimes I just have too much stuff, or too much heavy stuff that, if it dries in the basement, will have a depressing basement-y smell. So that's why I go to the laundromat.



When we first started having kids, we lived in a rented house that came with a washer and dryer (the landlord's), and shortly after that we lived in graduate student housing (in the form of a collection of row houses) that came with a laundry room. So, naturally, we used those.

In Japan we didn't have a dryer because no one does, really (well, probably someone does, but I never met anyone who did). The place we rented there had a little patio with a corrugated plastic roof over it, and poles, and that's where you were supposed to hang your laundry to dry--and that's what I did. It got pretty nuts during the rainy season, but hey, if Japanese people can manage it, I figured I could.

When we lived with my in-laws in England, there was an emergency dryer, but mainly during the summer we hung things outside, and in the winter we dried stuff next to the stove. That was quite a feat, because in England child no. 4 came along, and so there were six of us, plus my in-laws--so really eight of us. (I must have used the dryer for the diapers, though (nappies, I should say, since it was England), because I don't remember them hanging up...)

When we came back to the United States, we rented a house that didn't come with a washer or dryer, so we bought a washer, but I figured we didn't need a dryer (and, the first year we were back in the United States, money was scarily tight, so it seemed like a good idea not to spring for a dryer when I knew I could manage without one).

Then we moved to where we live now, our own house (in 20 years or so, anyway!), and we still didn't get a dryer. I love just using the sun to dry stuff, and I like the process of hanging out laundry outdoors; it's relaxing. In the winter the basement was fine, at first--I never once went to the laundromat our first few years here. But then everyone started getting bigger, which meant their clothes were getting bigger... I don't know, somehow it ended up that sometimes I went to the laundromat.

And that seems dumb. If I'm going to pay to use a dryer, shouldn't I just get my own?

But, two things:

(1) I like going to the laundromat. I like seeing people there.
(2) I am really lazy and disorganized, and to put in a dryer, I would have to clean up the basement more and make a space for one.

So maybe next year, huh? Ah, procrastination!

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Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
suzan_s
Dec. 15th, 2006 11:07 am (UTC)
The thing I liked about using a laundry-mat is that you can get multiple loads of clothes done simultaneously.
asakiyume
Dec. 15th, 2006 11:12 am (UTC)
That's true too!

(here I was thinking to myself... why did I write this boring entry? maybe I should just delete it... but then I found your comment (yay)--so I guess I'll leave it up :-) but really... sometimes I wonder what goes on in my head)
heyes
Dec. 15th, 2006 12:37 pm (UTC)
The Laundry Man Speaketh
I am also wrestling with this. We want a dryer, but it really gets the bills running, but if you just let your clothes hang in the house then you get mold.

grr...

I don't like the mingling with other people at the laundry mat. We cheat, we often go to other people's houses and bring our laundry. They usually don't mind so much, but for a while we were paying of the MILlie (mother in law) to let us use hers.

I have to admit though, when you run out of clothes it really blows. And rhymes.
asakiyume
Dec. 15th, 2006 12:47 pm (UTC)
Re: The Laundry Man Speaketh
See, now if we lived in a communist utopia (U-topia, not DIS-topia), a bunch of neighbors would pool for a dryer, and then everyone would use that dryer and split all the costs...

yeah, okay, meanwhile in real life--

--I'm not sure how much the dryer really does increase the bills. I think it has to say on the machines though. There's the initial outlay, but then I suspect it's not more than say 100-200 dollars a year. I guess I should figure it out, though. But man, yeah, I guess that's 100-200 dollars a year I've been saving, so far. I mean, even when I use the laundromat, I don't spend that much in a year.
doubt72
Dec. 15th, 2006 12:39 pm (UTC)
No dryers? Another good reason not to live in Japan!

(Does everyone look wrinkly there, or do they just not wear cotton?)
asakiyume
Dec. 15th, 2006 12:44 pm (UTC)
There's this cool appliance called THE IRON!

But to be honest, I don't know what all those young unmarried salarymen do. Maybe they have their shirts cleaned at a professional laundry, where they'll iron them. Or maybe they wear polyester. I suspect the former, though, because they all look very crisp and neat.

doubt72
Dec. 15th, 2006 12:55 pm (UTC)
The iron? What's that?

How does one apply metal to clothing? :-P

Metal clothing though -- maybe that's the answer! The knights had the right idea -- armor doesn't wrinkle!
asakiyume
Dec. 15th, 2006 01:55 pm (UTC)
duct tape
It totally has to be duct tape. Look at these prom outfits, all made from duct tape.
wakanomori
Dec. 15th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
Re: duct tape
Okay, that blows my mind--those costumes are unbelievable!! (Making them must give seniors something to do in that idle last year in high school, huh). The American Gothic one in particular is just awesome.

Just how did you find this, btw? It has *what* to do w/ the lovely art of not using a dryer? :-)

asakiyume
Dec. 15th, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: duct tape
It has more to do w/ clothes that don't need ironing. doubt72 suggested metallic ones, and that reminded me that I had heard about people making clothes out of duct tape. So, a Google search later, and... voilà!
doubt72
Dec. 15th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
Re: duct tape
That's just Not Right.
deponti
Dec. 15th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
what do you mean, boring post? stuff like this interests me...a lot.

In India, almost no one has a dryer. But now, almost everyone in urban areas has a washing machine.

When I went to Muscat, Oman, to live, we bought a Whirlpool machine which was a washer and tumbler dryer in one. I used it a few times, and then decided that drying clothes in the sunshine (free energy) made FAR more sense than using the dryer. So that's what I did.

We brought back that washer/dryer to India when we relocated. It came in very handy during the monsoon season...not for us, but for my neighbour's little baby's clothes. Now we still have it, but I never use it at all...

The only thing I have done is, ALWAYS planned in any flat that I lived in, for a GOOD clothes-drying frame...I designed one myself, to be festooned with clothes and be pulled up and down on pulleys (no, it is NOT common at all in India, but becoming more prevalent now.) I do get irritated that most apartment builders do not plan for this most necessary feature; and that many apartment residents think nothing of putting out their laundry to dry in the common areas. In fact, one apartment building had their balconies so festooned with drying clothes that a witty friend of mine, when I referred to "Raheja Residency" (the name of the apartment complex), quipped, "Oh, you mean Raheja Laundry?"

I think you are being eco-friendly Asakiyume and not gulping manufactured energy. I am sad to find that a)because no one can be around to monitor the laundry in the garden and b) lack of time to hang it out and take it off again, everyone in "developed" countries ONLY uses the dryer. I have, since I first heard about your clothes-drying practice, been very happy to know that SOME people actually DO use the sunlight, which could also have anti-bacterial properties!

To me there is nothing like the crispness of a nice dry sun-dried piece of clothing...I really don't like the soft wimpy dryer-dried clothes at all!


asakiyume
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
I would love the plan for your clothes drying frame :-) I wonder if I could put it in my study. Right now I have the ironing board in here--it's crammed with stuff actually, so why not the laundry too?

In Japan they air their futons over the ledges of their balconeys, and it's very pretty, because all the futons have bright covers.

The lack-of-time factor I think is a big reason why people don't air dry their clothes. It's part of why I *do* dry them that way, I guess--to recapture some of that pace of life. I like the rhythm of it, I like that it takes me away from my desk and outdoors--all those things. But, of course, most people don't have the luxury of being self-employed freelance editors....
seuzen
Dec. 15th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)
i can relate...my current apartment was supposed to come with a washer and i planned on buying a dryer. but when we moved in, lo and behold, the washer wasn't there, but the useless broken dryer without an air vent was there...so it meant a bigger project (buying 2 things instead of one) and finding a plumber to get the gas dryer hooked up...i planned on buying a w&d because I hadn't lived without one for almost 20 years...but i kept putting off going to the appliance store...so i used the laundromat...which i found to be pleasant, and what a great feeling to have all the dirty clothes in the house clean in one outing....I usually went at 6 a.m. on the weekends or Friday nights...I agree, I like seeing people and even (me?) chatting with them. but just last week, i got my act together and bought a pair...and now i feel like a total princess...to be able to just walk downstairs and clean my clothes...what a luxury...
seuzen
Dec. 15th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
the... i can relate...was attached to another thought
asakiyume
Dec. 16th, 2006 01:56 am (UTC)
and, by train of thought and stream of consciousness
The other day in the laundromat there was this young mother--but not scarily young--with her toddler, and she was sitting on the floor, playing with her, waiting for the laundry. It was great... she was not (1) sullen and miserable, (2) wicked stressed out, or (3) trying too hard (à la the moms you'd see at the Cambridge playgrounds)--she was just **natural** and **happy**

It was great.

Isn't funny--you can feel really in the lap of luxury now, because of having something that you would have taken for granted otherwise. It's almost worth deliberately denying yourself something to feel grateful for it later (almost)
seuzen
Dec. 16th, 2006 09:50 am (UTC)
Re: and, by train of thought and stream of consciousness
yes, i really feel it's important for me to sustain that feeling of not taking things for granted, but of course, it's all relative, right? indoor plumbing, central heating, but still despite being highly cynical i will try..
(Deleted comment)
asakiyume
Dec. 16th, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
It does get all stiff! And if you hang it out in winter (which I occasionally do), it can freeze dry--truly!
deep_musings
Dec. 16th, 2006 01:00 am (UTC)
Definitely not boring..
The warm & fresh feeling of clothes dried in the sun is much different from clothes dried using a dryer. Also, I don't think drying starched clothes in a dryer is an option ;). Like deponti mentioned, in India, we sun dry our clothes. And yes, it is a pain in rainy weather.

asakiyume
Dec. 16th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)
Re: Definitely not boring..
The fresh smell of outdoor-dried clothes is so, so nice!
villager9999
Dec. 16th, 2006 02:40 am (UTC)
Trade offs
I am amazed that this many comments have been generated over this dryer issue. Clearly you have uncovered social trends previously unexplored. Before this I would have just thought... laundromat.. bad... home washer dryer... good. Who knew? Now I am filled with doubts.
doubt72
Dec. 17th, 2006 12:52 am (UTC)
Re: Trade offs
I'm not.

Home dryer... Necessity of civilization.
miafedup
Dec. 16th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
I hate it when I feel like a fat consumer hog but I'm a dryer fanatic. I clean my sheets and terry cloth robe every week and like to overdry them. Jumping into bed afterwards with them...it's a kind of utopia for me. (And for my cat as well who usually beats me to it. I usually end up snuggling on the corner by myself while she spreads her tiny feline frame all over my warm sheets.)

I also throw my jacket in the dryer right before I leave in the bitter, freezing cold every morning...helps me face the day with a little strength!

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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