I don’t own a clothes dryer. Although we bought our first ever washer a few months ago, we decided that we didn’t need to purchase a dryer. Now, nearly three months later, I’m happy to say that skipping the dryer was a great decision. For me personally, not owning a dryer offers a lot of benefits:
Energy savings: I’ve read that clothes dryers are one of the largest sources of household energy use. I’m sure we’re saving quite a bit of energy by not owning one.
Financial savings: No ongoing costs to run the dryer, as well as no upfront cost of purchasing the dryer.
Space savings:If you have a large garage to house your dryer, the space gained by not owning a dryer is probably negligible. In our 900 square foot apartment, however, storage space is limited so being able to use dryer space for something else is a huge benefit. I decided to put my pantry where the dryer would’ve gone:
(Yes, that’s a lot of food for two people. I buy things in bulk. And I like to be well-stocked at all times. :))
Harder to Succumb to Laziness: If I owned a dryer, I’m sure I’d be tempted to use it when I just didn’t feel like hanging clothes. Without one in the apartment, I can’t do that! I do have access to dryers in our apartment complex’s communal laundry room, but that requires me to drag my wet laundry down the street and then pay $1.50, so you can be sure that I won’t be taking that route unless it’s some sort of laundry emergency.
My Air-Drying Setup
I dry all of my laundry inside. We do have a small balcony, but our apartment complex does not allow outdoor clotheslines. Even if they did, I’m not sure that I would take advantage of it, as I’d rather use our limited balcony space for our garden. Drying laundry inside been working for me for years so I don’t really mind.
I have two folding drying racks and one indoor clothesline. Between the racks and the clothesline I can dry a full load of laundry from my 3.5 cubic foot front-load washer. When I used to use the top-load washers in the laundry room at our old apartment, my two drying racks were usually large enough to accommodate a full load from those machines.
The drying racks are perfect for drying most of our clothes. Now that I have extra space, I set these up in our second bedroom, but when we lived in a smaller apartment I used to set them up in whatever random spaces were large enough to fit them. They collapse when not in use so I think they’re a great option if you want to air-dry at least some of your laundry but don’t have much extra space.
The drying racks pictured in the above photo are no longer available anywhere that I can find, but after those eventually broke I purchased this long rack and two of these taller racks. I have been very pleased with all of them.
I purchased my indoor clothesline because I needed a drying apparatus that could accommodate a whole load of sheets and towels at once. I ended up purchasing this inexpensive clothesline from Amazon. It works very well for sheets and towels as well as for clothes. Jesse installed it in our second bedroom (a.k.a. our garage as it also holds our chest freezer and dehydrator :)). When the clothesline is full of tall things like sheets, you have to navigate your way through the room but I really don’t think it’s a big deal. When not in use, the clothesline can retract back into the wall. I don’t usually bother retracting it, though, as we hung it high enough that you can walk easily walk underneath the line.
Living without a dryer definitely requires a bit of thinking ahead. No longer can you expect to finish a load of laundry within a few hours. Depending on how warm it is, you may have to wait a day or two before your laundry is dry and ready to be put away. Once you get used to it, this really isn’t a big deal, but it does require you to plan ahead by a day or two rather than waiting until you’re completely out of everything. These days, the only time I have trouble with this is when we’re traveling. It can be tough to time my various loads so that everything we need is clean for our trip.
It’s been so hot here this summer that I haven’t really had issues with things drying slowly. When I was really in a hurry to get a few things dry because I had to pack for a trip, however, I experimented with aiming our big box fan at the laundry to speed drying. As you’d expect, this made a noticeable difference in how quickly things dried. I may end up doing this in the winter, too, if things are drying too slowly in the cold.
The one major drawback I’ve encountered with air-drying is that some of our towels dry very stiffly. At one point I noticed that this was mostly happening to our oldest towels. Our newer towels were certainly not drying soft and fluffy like you get with a dryer, but they were only minorly stiff, unlike the older towels which are downright unpleasant to have on your skin. So, I bought some new towels, which are drying quite nicely. I’m hanging on to the old towels, in case I can figure out how to solve the stiffness problem, but for the most part we’ll be avoiding them. There are enough difficult things in life without adding icky towels to the list. 🙂
No Dryer Works for Us
For now Jesse and I are just a family of two so we don’t have a ton of laundry. I usually do somewhere between one and three loads of laundry per week. If you have a lot more laundry in your life, living without a dryer may not be achievable, but you might experiment with air-drying a portion of your clothes to see if it works for you.
I’m sure it helps that I’m rarely drowning in laundry, but I also find hanging our laundry to be a relaxing activity. I put on a good podcast and get to have a little break from the rest of my work. It’s always nice to enjoy yourself while also doing something that’s good for your budget as well as the environment.
Do you air-dry your laundry? Why or why not?
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