In a bid for true environmental superiority, German homes typically do not have a clothes dryer. I’m not actually sure if it is more out of custom or pragmatic concern than a true holier than thou attitude with regards to energy consumption, but I have been told too many times exactly how much money a German has spent upgrading their house to be more energy efficient and lectured about horrible American overconsumption of fossil fuels to know that some sort of moral judgment goes hand in hand with dryer ownership (or lack thereof). Besides the side effect of saving money and being environmentally responsible, there are a few other side effects that we have found out about since living without a dryer.
1. If the drying rack is empty, there had better be a load in the washer. It typically takes about 24 hours for a rack of clothes to dry. This means that we really have to stay on the laundry, as skipping a few days can mean we are backed up for an entire week trying to catch up on the 7 or so loads that we as a family of 4 do every week. If you didn’t remember that you wanted to wear that specific shirt that needed to be washed 2 days ago, you can’t wear it today.
2. Not all things dry in the 24 hour period. I know, you’re saying, duh! But we were really unaware that our jeans would take 48 hours hanging inside the apartment to dry. We have since come up with a better system for drying them during the winter. We now hang jeans and hooded sweatshirts up on the radiators. I guess in the summer we’ll just have to wait it out though.
3. Sometimes I can’t tell if my clothes have gotten all stretched out or if I’ve lost weight. While I sincerely WISH it was the weight, I have a sneaking suspicion that my clothes are all stretching out and I’m just expanding to fit them. I MISS that feeling when you put on your freshly washed jeans and they are just a little snug, but then an hour later they fit perfectly. I would most definitely purchase clothing differently if I never had a dryer.
4. Crunchy Clothes are not so great. Despite the use of fabric softener, our clothing, towels, sheets, etc sometimes remain crunchy after drying them. I’m not sure I will ever get used to that.
5. Some things need to be dried quickly, and for that, we have to be creative. As evidence of our creativity, I submit the tale of the stinky monkey.
Background: When our youngest was born, her room was decorated in a jungle theme. Mamaw gave her a stuffed monkey for decoration in the room that came with a sachet inside to make the room smell nice. It was adorable, until Andy made the mistake of letting her sleep with it one night. My husband seemed to conveniently forget that smell is the strongest trigger for memory, and thus the Stinky Monkey attachment was born. (Note: With our oldest daughter we were extremely vigilant about making sure she never attached to one specific stuffed animal so that we would never have this exact problem that we are having now with our second!) She now keeps this monkey by her side, though we forbade him from ever leaving the house in the hopes of not ever losing him!
Last week, Stinky Monkey got covered in dried crusty food stuffs. I would be more specific, if we ever could have figured out what was on it. Stinky Monkey needed a bath, so reluctantly Mayzie helped put him in the washer, watched as he was tossed about, and then threw a giant fit because she couldn’t have him. When he came out of the washer, he was very wet (of course) but she didn’t care. She wanted that Stinky Monkey NOW. At home, we would have thrown him in the dryer. Andy, ingeniously, put the hairdryer in the back pocket of the monkey and he was dry in no time---or at least dry enough for Mayzie to cuddle with without getting soaked.
The next day when I got up in the morning with the girls, I was cuddling with Mayzie and her monkey on the couch. I wrapped my arms around both of them and my hand came to rest on the bottom part of the monkey, and that’s when I felt something hard. I wrestled the monkey from Mayzie to feel a lump approximately the size of a matchbox car in Stinky Monkey’s butt. I opened the zippered pocket where the sachet stays to see if someone put something inside him to hide it. No luck! Stinky monkey most assuredly had contracted a cancerous lump in his rump from the hairdryer! The little beads that used to be in his butt to make him extra cuddly had melted and congealed into a hard mass. Luckily for the Stinky Monkey, no colonoscopy was required. If only all cancerous lumps could be cured with a hammer. I’m happy to say it was a successful pulverization of the lump, and Stinky Monkey has returned to his owner, who is none the wiser and loves him just the same.
In the case of the Stinky Monkey, it was a good thing that we don’t have a dryer. If Stinky Monkey had been in the dryer, a much more serious whacking would have been required. He is also now forbidden from attending meals, for his own protection of course.