Tuesday 28 February 2012

Winter Laundry Solutions

The view from the office.
We've never owned a tumble dryer and one of the things we really enjoy about living in France is that for much of the year we can dry the laundry outside on a line. In London we lived in a National Trust house, so we were not allowed to hang washing outside in case the sight of our smalls flapping in the breeze caused a visitor's experience to be ruined. With no room for a dryer inside washing used to hang around for days in my sewing room. And even in France there is that period from November to March where it mostly has to dry inside, because it is either too wet (not just rain, but damp misty days) or too cold to dry outside.

At the top of the stairs.
Until recently we had one of those stupid multi tiered laundry racks, which unless you are the size of a small infant, means that you have to thread your clothes through at least one of the wire grills to hang them full length. Trying to squeeze a pair of jeans through all those wires drives me crazy. Fortunately it started to fall apart, so I felt buying a replacement was fully justified.

Kitchen cloths on the rack in the bathroom.
It proved surprisingly difficult to find a laundry rack in a different, more user friendly style. Finally we managed it, at Babou, a household goods store, in Chateauroux. We've purchased a rack that hangs off the handrail at the top of the stairs and a long rack that stands at the back of the bathroom. Hanging stuff off the staircase rack is still somewhat challenging, but at least I don't have the palaver of threading the clothes through all the wires below.

Washing hung up here at the top of the house benefits from wafts of warm air rising and it mostly dries overnight. This isn't too bad a turn around, but still much slower than the mere couple of hours it needs outdoors in the summer time.



Tim said...

With the recent burst of sunshine, we've managed three consecutive washes using the whirly outside and then finishing them off with a go on the bathroom "long dryer"... the underfloor heating works very effectively overnight as a dryer ... the last lot, though, even managed to avoid needing the dryer!

One day I'll find somewhere to mount up Pauline's "Lazy Susan"... was thinking of over the bath... we've got the height... but it is too long for in there!!

Jean said...

Now you've set me yearning for those days when you hang the washing out at ten in the morning and it's dry by lunchtime......aaahhhhhh.

(I'm not talking about here in Derbyshire either - those days are very rare here !!)

Pearl said...

hard to get the hang of it, you say? how nerve-racking? (pardon) summer breezes will hopefully seem to come momentarily.

GaynorB said...

We have one of those old fashioned laundry rachs which we hoist with a system of pulleys up to the ceiling of our utility room.

At le Pre Vert our boiler is in the sous sol and we have a network of washing lines.

Both systems work fairly efficiently and dry our washing quickly.

i think your racks are a good winter compromise

Susan said...

Tim: I managed the sheets and towels outdoors the other day too.

Jean: how many baking days until you are here?

Pearl: LOL and groan...

Gaynor: I've always hankered after one of those Victorian racks that you haul up and down on pulleys - unfortunately I've never lived anywhere you could install one.

Abbeysmum said...

Hope you get some good drying days soon.
If I got desperate, I used to hang the washing in a small "walk in" wardrobe, turn the light on and shut the door.The old incandecsent globes threw out lots of heat in a small space.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

We, too, make full use of the top of the stairs for winter drying. The chimney goes up through the mezzanine so washing is usually dry overnight.

You can't beat the smell of outdoor dried laundry too; it wins hands down over expensive perfume for me... but perhaps that says more about me than about the perfume!

Susan said...

Abbeysmum: ultimately the plan is to install a line in the walk in cupboard in the attic bathroom and a vent from the chimney at the end.

C&E: agreed! I try to buy the least scented laundry powder, use the smallest possible dose and never use fabric softener or other products.

Ken Broadhurst said...

We have an indoor clothesline that hangs off hooks screwed into the ceiling in the utility room. It's great, and gets some use year-round (in winter of course and on rainy summer/spring/fall days). I'd love to find another clothesline like the one we have, but I've never seen one. It was here when we moved in. I agree about threading big pieces of laundry through all those wires and rods of the folding laundry racks being a very tedious job.

SweetpeainFrance said...

Do you have a grenier? Many French people dry their linen and smalls in the roofspace. PS. Even when I lived in the country I hid my smalls from public view..it is considered improper in social strata to put them on display!

Susan said...

Ken: it's true - even in the summer you need some indoor drying space.

Sweetpea: the bathroom is the attic, so we have a rack there because it's warm and there is space. And it's only the middle class who worry about whose looking at their knickers isn't it? :-))

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