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.”
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!
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.