We Bought a Dryer

Sounds like a great title for a movie, doesn’t it?

One of the joys of my French life is hanging laundry to dry outdoors. Why?

  1. It dries sooooo fast.
  2. It smells sooooo good.

This is only possible of course depending on the weather. On a sunny summer day in the middle of a heat wave, everything will dry within an hour regardless of where or how you hang it up. But in any other case, a little skill is involved.

  1. Keep an eye on the weather and as soon as a sunny day happens, do laundry. (Not kidding—one of my reactions now to the sun coming out is, oh hey, I could do laundry!)
  2. You can never have too many clothes pins. And the wooden ones are the most durable if you’re like me and leave them out there all winter.
  3. Double up as little fabric as possible when hanging items on the line. Take one tiny bit of sock and clothes pin it on there, but no more. Otherwise you’ll come back in two hours and everything will be dry but that half of the socks that you just HAD to fold over the line (I’m speaking to someone very specific here, yes, it’s my husband)
  4. Once August passes, laundry has to be hung up earlier and earlier if there’s any hope of it drying. We’re had a bit of an Indian summer this past November, but even if when was 20 degrees out, I had to get things out on the line by noon or there just wasn’t enough direct sun.
  5. Sometimes I go out and move a few things mid-dry to where I know the sun stays the longest.
  6. For sheets, jam as many clothes pins as you want on each end to keep the sheet from bunching up on itself (especially fitted sheets) over time.

Sheets drying on the line in the summer is THE BEST. I would just straight breathe them into my lungs if it were possible.

By contrast, drying clothes on an apparatus in the house is a pain, at least in our house. The new insulation and ventilation system have improved things, but clothes still take over a day to dry inside. We also only have one set of sheets for the gigantic bed we bought this summer, so washing our sheets has been a matter of getting up, stripping the bed immediately, and hoping everything will dry by the time we go to bed.

So we’ve been hoping to buy a dryer for a while and finally, what with soldes and gift cards, bought one this weekend.

We are both pret-ty excited. Yeah.


10 thoughts on “We Bought a Dryer

  1. I’ve gotten used to drying our clothes on a rack (no space to really put it outside and this is the Nord anyway…), but a dryer would sure be nice for drying towels and sheets!

  2. I love the smell of sheets dried in the fresh air – it reminds me of being a kid in Scotland, where my parents have been drying laundry on the washing line in between showers for their whole lives. We do ours indoor on a rack and it’s a pain, but I almost wouldn’t want to get a drier, because it feels like giving up on the fresh air dream!

  3. L says:

    We have an old old (think 1985 model) dryer from my in-laws, but it vents directly out the door so it’s on the balcony and because of energy cost concerns (also, there’s some rust) we only use it sparingly. I think in-door drying racks is one of the cultural aspects you have to get used to in France. It’s completely normal to me now to go to someone’s house and have some laundry drying the in the living room or the hallway. I think this is part of the reason Americans don’t want to give up dryers: you often have clothes drying in the home and friends and family will probably see them (heaven forbid they find out you have underwear).

    • We had an old one from our in-laws but when we moved we no longer had an evacuation point, so we bought a condensation dryer (cheaper than drilling a hole in our huge wall). I’m so looking forward to be able to do multiple loads of laundry in one day and not worrying about drying space.

  4. Susan Colette Daubner says:

    Yeah the worst thing about our four months in Spain was the hanging laundry all over the flat and then moving things around to minimize hanging time. it was so cold in the flat until April, it was a huge burden
    As for hanging outside in the summer, I really wish we could do that HERE, but it’s so un-American that a back yard is seen as less desirable if there is a clothesline in it. I am just about ready to buck that nonsense but must wait for hubby to feel the same way. IT”S JUST DUMB TO USE A HEATED-AIR APPLIANCE IN TEXAS IN THE SUMMER

  5. We have a combination washer/dryer because I hate scratchy towels and socks. In the spring/summer we’ll use our drying rack more, but right now it isn’t very practical, especially since the sun doesn’t reach where we have to put it. My parents’ have an outside clothesline and I loved using it… maybe one day!

    • Yeah, our drying rack doesn’t get any sun at all. I mean, in winter, there isn’t much sun here anyway. The outside clothes line is wonderful in summer.

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