A homesteader’s blog post I read recently discussed using washboards and ringers to wash clothes. It was interesting, but absent some catastrophe that’s not something I expect we’ll be doing here. But we have begun making ourselves less dependent upon the dryer.
A few years ago we had some friends move into our old farm house for a couple of years. Not long after they moved in they asked if we would take the dryer out of the laundry room. They wanted the space for something else and they said they had no plans to use the dryer. That baffled me. Why not, I asked. Because, they said, the dryer is an energy hog and they were perfectly happy drying their clothes on the clothes line. I took out the dryer, but I didn’t agree with them. Now, a few years later, I understand completely.
We never had a dryer when I was growing up. We dried clothes by hanging them on a clothes line. My mother wanted a dryer but my father would never agree to it. It seemed unnecessary to him. I think it was the first thing she bought for the house after he died.
My grandfather would never agree to a dryer either. He outlived my grandmother so they never had one. One of his objections was that clothes dryers wore clothes out sooner. He said that the lint that dryers create comes from the clothes. He was probably right about that.
We have a dryer and we still use it sometimes. But whenever we can, we now dry our laundry outside. And why not? The sun and breeze do a fine job of it and the energy to do it is completely natural. Besides, I like the smell and feel of clothes dried that way. Reminds me of my childhood.