Smug Laundry

It was after a sleepover trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I can remember where I was when I heard, time stood still and the moment was instantly ingrained in my memory.

My oldest son looked at me with bewilderment and quietly said, “I saw something at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They had this machine.”


“Yeah, and it was so weird. She put the wet clothes inside it.”

I think I see where this is going. Did the clothes come out later on and they were dry?”

“YES! How did you know?”

Well, son, I guess it’s time you learned the truth. Some people in this world, yes even people in our own family, these people, they own “dryers”.

“What’s a dryer?”

(Big breath) it’s a machine that dries your laundry.

“Wait, they have a machine that is just for drying clothes? Well, that’s dumb.”

Now before you judge your grandparents too harshly, a lot of people do that. Alright, most people. Most people do that.

“But why would you bother having a machine do that when you can just hang stuff up?”

Why indeed.


Secrets. We all have them. I feel compelled to share one. Some people are privvy, and you might have pieced this together already, but others might be shocked to learn that…

We don’t own a dryer.

You read that right. Not “we don’t use our dryer much” or “we hang some things to dry”. We really don’t own one.

Missed a day? Look for alternate drying arrangements. Again.
Missed a day? Look for alternate drying arrangements. Again.

I’ve hesitated to spill this somewhat little known fact because I didn’t want to seem smug. It’s kind of hard to tell someone “Oh, I don’t own a dryer” without lumping yourself in with those who tell you they “don’t watch TV” and sometimes “forget to eat.”

To be clear, I’m not ashamed, but I don’t feel the need to flaunt our “green-ness” or rub your nose in our energy efficiency.

We started hanging clothing to be more environmental. There was occasional use of the dryer for heavy things like towels and jeans that tended to get “crunchy” when exclusively hung to dry. Once we bought a front loader washer, the drying time was cut in half as was the crispiness of clothing. When we sold our first home and the buyer wanted our dryer, it wasn’t difficult to agree. I had intended to buy a cheap one for the new house, but we adapted to being dryer-less and never bothered.

I can hear you asking “Why?” maybe accompanied with an eye roll. Don’t worry, I get it. You’re not there yet. It’s hard to imagine life without the convenience of tossing wet laundry in a machine and an hour later poof! it’s ready to fold. It’s really not a big deal. Once you get a routine going, you’re all set. All you have to do is NEVER FORGET TO PUT A LOAD OF WASH IN AT LEAST ONCE PER DAY. Wet laundry takes a while to air dry, if you skip a day you are behind for a week.

What's underneath this bed sheet? More laundry, of course.
What’s underneath this bed sheet? More laundry, of course.

After a while you get to know some tricks and develop effective strategies. For instance, jeans take longer to dry and will smell “off” if you don’t hang them near the top of the rack with room to breath. Socks and underwear take hardly any time at all. Same goes for sheets, sports shorts, and lightweight sports clothing.

A word of warning, if you put off hanging laundry one evening, you have guaranteed that someone will throw up or wet the bed. It’s a fact.

Do my husband and I always agree on laundry-hanging techniques? No. But that’s okay because even though he’s wrong, the laundry still dries. Eventually.

Yes, I have tossed a blanket over the drying rack when there is an abundance of underwear on display. And yes, there have been times it looks like I’m taking in other people’s wash to make an extra buck (please see previous note about not getting behind). But overall, it’s not that much extra work. And it’s worth it.

Try it, your clothes will last longer, your house will never need a humidifier, and the extra damp really opens up your pores.

I forgot to mention, we also used cloth diapers.

For nine years.

I’ll see myself out.

Please note the careful placement and spacing to maximize drying.
Please note the careful placement and spacing to maximize drying.

More of the backstory can be found here.

Author: Jan Moyer

Embracing my inner child since 2005.

11 thoughts on “Smug Laundry”

  1. Probably not as interesting, but we don’t have a dishwasher. Have always washed dishes by hand. We do have a dryer although I hang alot of my nicer stuff. Dryers destroy clothes over time (think lint trap!). Where I love to use my dryer? To get the wrinkles out of the already dry clothes!

    1. I didnt have a dishwasher growing up, so I can relate. Did your mom always joke “I have FIVE dishwashers!” and then point to the rest of the family members? Just mine then.

  2. When we moved to this house almost 8 years ago, it was to live in the basement temporarily while husband finished the upstairs. So I said, what the heck, forget about hooking up the dryer and venting and all that, I’ll just hang it up. That was 8 years ago, we are still in the basement (but that’s another story) and still no dryer. The washing machine is in our bedroom, the drying racks are wherever I can find room for them. And it is true, it works much better with a front load washer and to do a load every day. Some days I’d rather have a dryer (mostly I think that’s when I’m PMS’ing) but most days are fine!

  3. Yes. The wrinkle thing (and jeans being crunchy, etc) is an issue for me. Ironing, smironing. I usually let things like jeans air dry but then put them in the dryer even though they are already dry, just to soften them up. Plus my husband literally puts a shirt in the dryer (already dry) to take out wrinkles every single morning so I think we would have an issue. 😉

    HOWEVER really I think it wouldn’t be so bad if we had a laundry room. I don’t think we would have enough space to let everything dry. haha.

    But godspeed.

  4. We have a dryer that I only use to “fluff” the clothes because I prefer to line dry. That way I can snap and hang as opposed to ironing! So true. Vinegar for jeans is the way to go – really. Nothing better than burrowing into bed and the fresh scent of sheets that have been hung outside.

    In recent years we have given up the dishwasher and cable. We are finding comfort in the quiet routines of hand-washing dishes and companionable silences. Wouldn’t go back to that previous lifestyle if paid to do so.

  5. We have no dryer because hardly anyone here does. I don’t really mind hanging it to dry, it’s the walk up to the roof that sometimes puts me over the edge…especially if it’s raining. And I agree, you cannot fall behind because soon you will run out of places to put it all. But I’m slowly adapting but not sure if I’ll give mine up whenever we return to Canada!

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