My dryer status

>>Are you planning on buying a dryer? I don’t have one and with three boys and dh and I, and constantly doing laundry, I can’t imagine having a family your size without one!<<

I honestly don’t yet know the answer to this.  So far we haven’t purchased a dryer, and my hope is that I won’t need to.  Drying laundry in the sun is a no-brainer six months of the year here, when it’s sunny with not a drop of rain.  The challenge comes during the rainy season, which we’re in right now.

In the rainy season, it gets much more labor intensive to consistently hang laundry outside.  All the Israelis to whom I mentioned not having a dryer think I’m crazy.  This last two weeks have been sunny, but for a couple of weeks before that it was consistently raining – which is a beautiful blessing in this country that is so dependent on it – and it was very, very tough to deal with the laundry.

Here’s what it looked like: wake up, look for a break in the rain, and quickly hang the laundry up.  Keep your eye on the overcast sky the entire day.  Tell your kids to let you know if they see any rain.  At the first sign of a sprinkle, the kids come running and yelling that it’s raining, and you bring in all the still wet clothing.  Hang the damp sheets over doors.  At least that’s one thing that dries.  Keep your eye on the sky. Rehang all clothes when you see a break in the rain.  Try to remember to take them in before you go to sleep even if they aren’t yet dry, or hope that if you take the risk of leaving them out overnight, that it won’t start pouring in the middle of the night.

Take your risk since you really want these clothes to dry and you’re 2/3 of the way there….and you lose.  Wake up in the middle of the night as you hear the rain suddenly pour down, and frantically jump out of bed and maniacally begin taking in the laundry, until your rational brain tells you to stop because it’s too late.

Once they’re soaked in the downpour, leave them hanging another two days until you’re at the same place you started, with clothes as damp as if they just came from the washer.  Bring them in once more when they are halfway dry and the rain comes again, and hang them once more when there’s a break in the weather.  Five days after you first did the load of wash, bring them in with gratitude that you are finally finished with this load, look at the huge pile of dirty laundry needing to be washed, and start wondering how long it will take you to cave in and buy a dryer.

No, I am totally not exaggerating.  Five days and I hung and rehung the same laundry three times during that time.  I’m telling you, I felt like my family needed to say a lot more than ‘thanks’ for those clean clothes!  Thankfully the laundry was finished after five days and then during the next week with nonstop rain, I got smart – before I went to sleep at night, I covered the clotheslines with our heavy duty plastic tablecloth, and only took it off when there was a break in the weather.  Moving a plastic tablecloth was a big improvement over taking all the laundry in and putting it back out.

Because the air is so damp and cold, even when it’s not raining the laundry doesn’t dry quickly.  So it still takes a while to dry but with my new system I don’t think it will take more than three days, and probably only two, for clothes to dry.

I’ve developed strategies to stay on top of the laundry despite the weather.  Firstly, wash clothes regardless of the weather.  Then you have them ready to hang as soon as you have a chance.  (Usually, I wash one load, hang it, wash another load, hang.)  Secondly, really keep an eye on the weather.  You know the saying, “Make hay while the sun shines”?  That’s my motto.  When the weather is sunny, I do a ton – sheets, towels, rags, anything that needs washing so that I’ll be set if it rains the next day.

In general in the winter, I try not to let dirty clothes build up.  If it means putting in a load of clothes and the machine isn’t totally full, that’s okay.  Waiting another day for the machine to be totally full could be the difference between trying to dry things in the rain or the sun.

When I wake up in the morning and see the blue sky, I am SO grateful because I know I’ll be able to get my laundry done.  Really, you don’t know how nice it is to hang the laundry one time, and then take it down when it’s done.  And even leave it overnight without worrying.  The small pleasures in life. :)

Here’s a reminder about a post I wrote a couple of years ago about tips for hanging clothes to dry outside: http://oceansofjoy.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/how-to-dry-clothes-on-clothesline/

All that being said, I very much hope we’ll have a very, very rainy winter and I’ll be constantly pushed to deal with my laundry that isn’t drying easily.  We need the rain!

Do you line dry clothes year round?  Why or why not?  If you do, how do you deal with inclement weather?

Avivah

21 thoughts on “My dryer status

  1. Don’t you have a clothing rack? In the winter that’s what I use- It’s easier to bring it in/out of the house depending on the weather and means I don’t have to run with loads of laundry from outside…and the laundry is hung properly in the house (extremely important since we live in pretty cramped quarters.
    Somehow, plastic tablecloth doesn’t cut it by us, the rain always go down in the direction where the laundry is and gets its pretty much soaked.
    Good luck!

    1. No, I don’t have a freestanding rack – I’m fortunate that our apartments were built with laundry lines that give me a lot more hanging space! I’ve been considering buying a couple of racks, but am not sure where I would put it so it would be out of the way. We’re currently planning for dh to build in laundry lines in the mirpeset sherut so we’ll have something inside that’s out of the way.

      The reason the tablecloth works is because our clotheslines back up to our building, so on one side it only has to be slightly covered to protect it, and then it hangs over to totally cover the clothes in the front so that water doesn’t run down on them. (Does that make sense?)

      1. it does – that why it doesn’t with us.
        we used to have a freestanding rack only then added the clothes line.
        But I always made sure to keeo the freestanding for rainy days

      2. Is something like this rack (folding rack) available in Israel?

        I live in a small apartment in the US with shared laundry and at $1.25 to wash and another $1.25 to dry, I hang dry most of my nice work clothes to save money and help them last longer. I don’t have any outside space so I just keep the folding rack in a corner of my bedroom.

  2. B”H

    I have four children ka”H and have never bought a drier, while I do have one in the current house I’m renting, I use it rarely. I bought two indoor clothing racks in Ikea for 19.99 (each) they are very easily foldable in a way that takes up very little space and very convenient as you can open them in any room and then easily fold them up.

    In the winter when the heat is on I will put towels and some clothes on the warm radiators, they dry up in a jiffy!

  3. you should really do a cost work up on how much your labour was versus how much a dryer will save you in terms of time – also keep in mind the elastics tend to give out a lot sooner when sun exposed versus drying in the dryer. think socks, underwear, waistbands etc…..unless you are up to buying new underwear and socks for everyone every year and resewing in new waistbands :) http://www.maytagisrael.com/index.html

  4. I would go with nathalie’s suggestions. To hang laundry on your lines, but if it rains, to bring them inside and hang them on collapsible clothes line racks. Yea, they’ll take up some room, but they won’t need to be up all the time. And it’s better than using doors. 😀 And look at weather forecasts instead of just at the sun. 😀

  5. Hi Aviva and friends–
    Finally something I feel I can comment on. My washing machine holds 5kg and I have a tiny dryer that holds less than the washing machine. Truth is, I very rarely use the dryer. I have a “mitkan kevisa” (laundry rack) that I use daily. I hang wet clothes up at night on the rack indoors and put it (the rack with the clothes) outside as soon as the sun shines. The trick is to remember to bring in the clothes (or the rack) before the evening, so the clothes don’t get damp. On overcast days, it stays in the salon on the side. At one point, I had 2 racks which was much more effective, because I did not feel I was waiting for the clothes to dry before I could hang the next load up. In the 7 or so years I have been doing this, I have resorted to using the dryer only a handful of times. I really prefer the clothes that are air dried, and it only takes a few hours in the summer, however I have noticed that the dark clothing gets bleached by the sun.

    1. I didn’t wanted to spend money on the freestanding rack which is a big reason I didn’t buy one (or two), but guess what? This morning dh saw one that someone put outside to give away, so now it’s ours!

  6. I have an IKEA rack (not the one previously mentioned); it holds about 2 loads of laundry. In the summer I can hang 4 loads a day (not that I actually wash that much laundry); in the winter it takes 24 hours for the clothes to dry, and that’s inside, not out. I’m not at home during the day, so the only way I can guarantee not getting stuck in rainy weather is to use the rack inside. Luckily it’s tall, not wide.

    I also have a dryer. Mostly I use it for the kids’ stuff, and underwear (U.S./Canada bought); most of my stuff and any Israeli kids’ stuff gets hung. (Israeli clothes don’t seem to be pre-shrunk…) I usually combine the dryerable parts of 2 loads in a single dryer load; it takes less time (90 minutes on low heat) to do those than to do it in two separate loads of 50-60 minutes each. Cloth diapers also get hung to dry; the pockets and inserts seem to dry overnight, though the AIOs do take the full 24 hours…

      1. I do but I don’t use it, so it’s not a factor in how long it takes stuff to dry. When I “overload” the drying rack it takes longer; when I leave a bit of space for air circulation it’s a bit quicker.

        It also helps to have a high-spin speed on your washer…last winter I think my max was 800RPM and this year we have a new machine (no choice, the pump went and we’d already replaced it once) and I can do 1200RPM. In the summer I don’t use the higher spin, as it does use a bit more energy, but in the winter it’s worth it to me. (On 1200 the pocket diapers and fleece/sweatpant fabric stuff comes out practically dry already.)

  7. Another tip: Heat rises! I hang up shirts, skirts and even pants on individual hangers and then put the hangers on the doorpost, very often the clothes are dry within 12 hours.

    1. That’s an interesting tip about hanging clothes higher to take advantage of the heat at the top of the room – I hadn’t ever thought of that! Thanks!

    1. You didn’t make a mistake – that’s what you wrote, but the computer instantly changes an 8 followed by a parenthesis to a smiley face with sunglasses.

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