Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter drying

I've developed a small aversion to using our clothes dryer. After having a glorious fall for clothes drying and almost never using the machine it was hard for me to start again. I'm not exactly sure what pained me so much. I don't like running machines that do the work I can do? Probably not. I love my stand mixer, for example, even though I have arms. Maybe I don't like the way clothes feel after being in the dryer? True at times, but I love soft bath towels, and line-dried towels feel like crusty bread. The greenhouse gases? Maybe, although I've tried to mitigate my guilt by paying to get our power from wind turbines (more on my suspicion about that in another post). The money? If I calculated how much money I saved by avoiding the dryer I'm not entirely sure I'd be impressed, and it's an experiment that would take a month of drying to carry out, which would annoy me too much to try. It's better for the clothes? Everyone knows that, but geesh, I couldn't do bring myself to do it for wardrobe considerations.

Maybe I like the work. Just like I like cooking, even though getting frozen meals would clearly save me a lot of time, I do believe I like hanging up laundry, even though it's "menial" labor. It comes as a surprise that I find pleasure in it even when it's done in my basement. I do have a spacious place to hang in the basement. And it's not a nasty basement, other than the clutter. I would love to hang the clothes in the living space on our main floor, but my toddler would not be able to keep his hands off of them. [N.B.- Clean wet clothes are a great air freshener on a main floor, I've found, but if you are cooking onions or salmon on the same floor, you better not expect your clothes to smell like lavender.] I like shaking out the clothes to make them straight for hanging. I have a little system: tops and pajamas on the big rack, baby clothes on the little rack, and pants and boxers on the line. I like the smell of fresh, wet clothes and how different fabrics feel when wet. Which reminds me that I need to have a long post about my love affair with linen, which is by FAR my favorite item to hang dry. Yes, I like the work. I like it.

I even play favorites with the clothespins. I have 3 sets. The "set" that came on the line downstairs when we bought the house is made up of 5 or 7 rogue clothespins that had been in the house for years I imagine. These are nice, sturdy pins. There is one (I imagine it to be a 1960 original, from the days when clothespins were made for daily use) that is a real workhorse. I can string up heavy jeans on either side of this pin and it doesn't even strain. The other set is a set I bought at Mansfield Supply when Theo was born and I put up a tiny clothesline for his diapers on the deck of our apartment (much to the horror of the landlord). They are okay, but no great pins to be sure-- most are broken by now. And the sad last set that I bought at H*me Dep*t (awful store) this summer, which could only ever be useful for hanging up brassieres and undies. They peter out under the weight of a diaper sometimes. Truly pathetic.

Even in my indoor line-drying days I do use the dryer for some things, especially things that I usually relish hanging out in the sun: white sheets, napkins and dishtowels, and diapers. I don't have the room to hang out a good load of diapers in the basement, nor do I have the diaper supply to hold out while they dry inside. And there is something about the high heat of the dryer that, while not as good a "bleaching" agent as the sun, does give the smackdown to any lingering stink. Maybe that's why the dishtowels and sheets are dried in the machine now, too.

Despite my laundry fetish (and I do like it even when machine drying-- I like emptying the lint trap). I detest putting the clothes away. Our guest bed has been the holding tank for the "clean" clothes lately. It's always a revolving melange of partially folded clothes and lonely socks...

1 comment:

  1. Hey there from Apron Strings!
    In the course of updating my links, I got to put some of your blogs into my reader that had fallen between the cracks. I think I had popped into yours before but like many great blogs I've found and lost, forgot to save it to my reader. Anyway, here I am. And here you are. Hello fellow laundry hanging lover! I SOOO know what you mean. My favorite domestic task. The only cleaning related thing I really love to do. And ditto on the putting away!!! I've put so much work into it by that point, can't somebody else fold sort and ferry? I don't have a guest bed, so my clean baskets sit around looking very much like the dirties till I get round to em.