Our kids love finding a trinket or treat behind the little doors in our Advent Calendar as they countdown to Christmas! I have my own countdown this year and have my eyes on door #22 which marks the Winter Solstice! The sun dipped behind the neighbour’s roof at 3:15 yesterday afternoon and that’s simply not enough sunlight/heat for my drying racks in front of the patio door!
If we can make it to the shortest day of the year on December 21st without a dryer, I say we’ve passed the “dryer-free living” test!
We’ve been without a dryer since last January and I’m happy to report that even on these frigid winter days (with no wind, taboot!) we’re still able to do our laundry for less! Here’s a glimpse into a one load day …
Filling our top loading washing machine takes little (if any?) electricity so I fill it with water first thing in the morning, add soap, stir with a long handled spoon from the dollar store and add clothes to soak until I put down the lid to start the cycle when hydro rates change from RED ZONE (on-peak) to YELLOW ZONE (mid-peak) rates at 11am. Ideally we’d run the washing machine during the time-of-use GREEN ZONE from 7pm-7am but I find that the clothes are too wrinkled if I leave them overnight and I just don’t have time to hang them until the kids get on the school bus at 8:30. I figure the fact that we’re paying mid-peak time-of-use hydro rates is more than offset by the fact that we don’t run a dryer.
As soon as I saw that there’s no windchill today, I knew I’d be drying my load of laundry indoors. Not a problem – I’ve got some great drying gear and a super indoor system!
While the wash cycle was running, I set up my drying rack and hanging gear in front of our south-west facing patio door over the heat vent. The sun pours through from 11:30-3:30ish at this time of year and is more than enough heat to dry most clothes and even towels. Dress shirts go directly onto hangers, socks & undies onto the octopus/spider thingy from IKEA and I love these tall slender drying racks from Canadian Tire to trap the warm air from the air vents.
The sun shone all afternoon and the dress shirts were dry and wrinkle free by the time the sun dipped behind the neighbour’s roof at 3:30, as were the yoga pants, cotton t-shirts and pj bottoms! I sure am looking forward to when the days get a little longer in December – even JEANS will dry in a day when we have 5 straight hours of sunshine! The socks and undies were still a little damp and I moved the spider hanger to the bottom of the drying rack to catch some serious air until 5:00!
Dryer free living is totally do-able!
Everything was dry, folded
and put away by dinner time. The drying racks & gear all have a place in the laundry room (we just did a mini upgrade – pics in an upcoming blog post!). Our 10 month dryer costs are holding steady at $3 (from that “i’m flying to Cuba tomorrow” underwear emergency!) and I really feel like I’ve finally got a handle on the weekly ebb & flow to ensure that we’re not surrounded by drying racks in the evenings and over the weekend. Dryer free living is totally do-able!
This fall has been a dream for this dryerless dame – lots of sun and just the right amount of wind to keep the “smells” of autumn at bay (think farming community!). Thanksgiving Sunday was no exception and even though we were hosting family for dinner, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to hang out a couple of loads first thing in the morning.
Everything, including jeans, was dry by 4 and I opted to tuck the dryer racks under the gazebo instead of hauling them to the basement to fold later. It’s not that it would have taken more than a couple of minutes to move the 3 racks, it was more a question of “where will I be most motivated to fold the clean clothes tomorrow?“. I choose the sunny backyard view over the basement, any day!
Last night it rained. No, it poured. And the outer perimeter of clothes got drenched.
Thankfully it’s sunny today and I’m confident that the laundry will air dry again with no damage done. If it had been a wet day today, though, a trip to the laundromat to use the dryers would have been in order. So far, in the past year, we’ve only had to do that once. Everyone has their “eek, I’m flying to Cuba tomorrow” underwear emergencies every now and then, right?!
Fall can be a challenging season to dry indoors: we don’t have the furnace on yet nor do we get full sun through the patio doors until the last of the leaves have fallen. So even if I’d put the clothes back in the washing machine for one more spin cycle to get out the excess rain water, I don’t know that the jeans and heavier knits would have dried indoors on their own. Let me rephrase. I’m not sure that the jeans and heavier knits would have dried before starting to smell like wet dog. I’ve heard that happens (;
Our 10 month total spent on drying clothes is holding steady at $3.