Want to try and live without a dryer…saving your clothes and saving money on electricity? Here’s my year around laundry routine that eliminates laundry stress, all without using a dryer.
My Year Around Laundry Routine Without a Dryer
I’m really not a fan of big appliances. They take up so much space, are very expensive to buy and fix, and half the time they don’t work like you’d want them to. Last year we were in a rental and the dryer was so old that it almost caught on fire multiple times so I stopped using it.
Once we moved onto our land, I didn’t have a place (or a plug in) for a dryer so we didn’t have one. When we were starting to put appliances into our home, I did buy a washer but told my husband I wasn’t interested in a dryer. I’d already been drying our clothes without one for almost a year and I didn’t want to spend money on the appliance nor spend the money to run it.
It’s a decision that I don’t regret.
According to The Spruce, it costs about $0.45 to run a dryer for 40 minutes. Those costs can vary based on your electricity rates in your area. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you run 5 loads of laundry per week, that’s about $115 a year on the electricity costs. You also have to factor in the cost of the machine. The average dryer costs around $700 and it’s estimated that it will last about 10 years so you can add an additional $70 a year onto that cost, not factoring any costs of repairs.
That amount might not be a big deal for you, but if you are trying to save as much money as you can, or if you just don’t like spending money on unnecessary things, you might think about this a little more!
And don’t get me wrong…a clothes dryer isn’t totally an “unnecessary” thing. It can be very useful. Especially if you are a busy person and just don’t have the time to hang dry clothing. Plus there’s nothing like a fluffy towel straight out of the dryer!
But let’s talk about clothing for a moment too…it’s common knowledge that if you dry your clothes in a clothes dryer, they won’t have as long of a life as clothing that has been hung to dry. So if you are figuring in the costs of having a dryer versus not having one, be sure and add in extra clothing costs as well.
Ok, I didn’t want to get too stuck on that part so let’s move on with this article!
Our Laundry Routine
Our laundry routine is very simple. I wash laundry when the basket is full. One basketful will fill my washer and since we need to conserve water, I only wash when the washer is full. On days when I need to wash sheets or towels, I always add in any clothing in the basket to fill the washer.
As a family of 5, we fill the clothing basket about every 3 days. So if I was only washing clothing, I would wash twice a week. I also have to wash towels and sheets so it usually adds up to about 3 loads of laundry per week, sometimes 4 if we had a really messy week.
Our family enjoys having minimal clothing. I’ve talked about this in my articles about Creating a Minimalistic Wardrobe, Minimalist Children’s Clothing, and Winter Clothing for Kids. It seems like you would have to do laundry more when you have fewer clothes, but we’ve found the opposite to be true. I’m actually doing much less laundry since we have minimal clothing and I think it’s mostly because there isn’t the option of getting out multiple outfits each day. (Anyone else have kids that do that? Just me? Ok….)
I do not wash more than one load of clothing in a day simply because I don’t have the space to dry more than one large load at a time. As long as things are kept up with, it’s not a problem.
When I’m ready to dry the clothing I have a few options. I have these amazing Heavy Duty Drying Racks that I bought from Lehmans. I have a smaller one which is the “small” and a larger one is the “large” size. In the picture above you can see the “Small Drying Rack” from Lehmans compared to a regular wooden drying rack from Walmart. There is no comparison!
I also have a Pulley Clothesline System which I bought from Amazon. If you’ve ever been to Amish country, you will recognize this type of clothing dryer. They are usually strung from the house to a pole out in the yard so that the clothing can easily be brought in when it’s done. I have mine strung from my bedroom (which is where my washer is) out into the yard.
On nice days I can use either system outdoors. They both work great and my clothes will dry in just a few hours.
When the weather isn’t so nice, I use the Drying Racks indoors. It takes a bit longer for the clothing to dry but it still works just the same.
It takes me about 5 minutes to hang a load of clothing so it’s not much longer than putting the clothing into a dryer.
Other Drying Options
If you aren’t able to have a line to dry outside, here are some alternatives places to dry your clothing without a dryer.
- Place a drying rack in the bathtub during the day.
- Use the shower rod to hang the clothing to dry (only if it’s firmly attached to the walls).
- Hang clothing on hangers and then hang on the trim in doorways around the house.
- Place a tension rod in a small room or closet to hang clothes on.
- A wall mount drying rack.
Once my clothing is dry, I fold it just like anyone else and put it all away. Since we keep minimal clothing, each of us has a small dresser with a specific drawer for bottoms, tops, etc, and that just makes things much easier to put away. When the children are a bit older, they will be putting away their own clothing. They occasionally help with it now too.
Last year we had a family closet and that was also something that worked very well. If you are looking to save time on folding your clothing, I would recommend checking out my article here: How to Have a Realistic Family Closet. We originally planned on putting a family closet in our new home, but space didn’t allow for it otherwise I would still be using that system!
Now I’d like to hear from you! If you don’t have a dryer (or a washer!), how do you do your laundry year around? What does your laundry routine look like?