Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Sarah: Leave It High and Dry January 21, 2013

Filed under: The 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) — suburbanpioneers @ 2:00 am
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My mom has a saying about drying dishes: “Never spend time doing something that will happen by itself anyway.”  I apply the same principle to laundry: “Never spend energy doing something that will happen by itself anyway.”

Laundry in Slovakia: note the white top of the washer in the bottom right corner.

Laundry in Slovakia: note the white top of the washer in the bottom right corner.

My passionate love of drying racks came about in Slovakia.  When we first walked into our one-room apartment, we discovered the small, efficient washer in the bathroom.  “Where’s the dryer?” we wondered.  There wasn’t one.  Very few people in Europe have dryers, apparently.  However, they do use drying racks.

In addition to a nifty drying rack, we had a clothes line over the tub: INGENIOUS!  Clothes just dripped down into the tub with no mess on the floor.  It was plenty high so that you didn’t bump your head when you showered.

Of course, there was one slight downside.  It was too high for me to reach from the ground, so hanging laundry involved a balancing act, standing on the sides of the tub and bending slightly backward for the perfect laundry-hanging position.  It was also a fantastic gymnastic workout as I had to climb up and down off the tub sides to retrieve more wet laundry.

The other downside to our laundry system in that apartment was that the washer drained into the tub…very efficient for the original installation, I’m sure, but less appealing when I made the mistake of washing clothes and showering at the same time.  The gray, slimy water that came out was well up to my shins. Blrrrgghh!

Real life example of drying rack being used (yes, our clothes--please ignore any visible never-no-minds, if you know what I mean).

Real life example of drying rack being used (yes, our clothes–please ignore any visible never-no-minds, if you know what I mean).

On the plus side, laundry in Slovakia sold me on drying racks.  Many people

sing the praises of clotheslines, and I don’t disagree, but I think we should hang-dry clothes all year round, drying them inside in cold weather.  Advantages:

1) much cheaper and more energy efficient–dryers are incredibly expensive on your electric bill!

2) no clothes shrinkage

3) clothes don’t wear out as fast–I’ve had the same pair of jeans for over five years without them ripping.

4) free humidification

This last advantage is a very real one here in Colorado where the air is really, really dry…my skin drinks lotion here, and I can’t keep enough chapstick on hand!  I think, as we begin our spring gardening adventure, I’m going to put our plant starts in the same room as the drying racks.  All that diaper laundry we’re doing should keep the seedlings fresh and green!

The final advantage to drying racks?  Well, if you should ever get the inspiration to make your own pasta, they make excellent noodle-drying devices.




More noodles! Wow. That was a lot of noodles.


7 Responses to “Sarah: Leave It High and Dry”

  1. Amber Says:

    I like your drying rack – where did you get it?

  2. HA! Loved this post — and your noodle surprise at the end. Fun blog!

  3. Josh Says:

    Ha…I actually used this same topic as an illustration in my sermon a few weeks ago of how living in a different culture makes you question why you do things the way you do… I too am a big proponent of air drying ever since Slovakia for all of the reasons you mentioned 🙂

    • Living in a different culture definitely makes you question the things you would normally take for granted. I’m feeling the urge to go back overseas–not just because I like to travel but because I feel like I’m getting complacent. America is definitely a throw-away (disposable? one-use?) kind of culture, and we don’t even think about how much we waste.

  4. […] So until the snow melts and our last average frost date comes (that’s May 15th, folks…don’t plant your delicate summer veggies before then), I will content myself with the small garden in the downstairs bedroom where our seed starts are drinking in all the humidity from the diaper laundry that’s hanging out to dry. […]

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