02 December 2006

Laundry day

Doing our laundry in Italy has certainly required some adjustments from when we lived in New Mexico. In the US it seems that hanging clothes out to dry became passé about forty years ago. I always remember using a dryer growing up but I also recall seeing a clothes-line at my grandparents’ homes. The neighborhood were we lived in New Mexico even had covenants that restricted the use of outdoor clothes-lines; it seems that some people think they are unsightly.

This seems strange when you watch laundry commercials in the US or look at the laundry and fabric softeners for sale in the stores as many advertise a fresh air scent or even have pictures of clothes drying outside. It appears there is a want of nostalgia but without the effort.

Here in Italy there is definitely a wide use of clothes-lines as many homes do not have dryers, including our current apartment and our previous place in Anzio. Clothes hanging out to dry are a common sight in the cities as well as the countryside. In Anzio we had a yard where there was a line between some trees where our clothes dried quickly on those many sunny summer days. Here in Ascoli drying our clothes presents more of a challenge as we have no yard. Our apartment has an inner courtyard with a clothes-line on the stairway but this time of year very little sunshine penetrates this space.

Our primary means of drying clothes this winter will involve the use of another wonderful Italian invention: the indoor clothes drying rack. These are folding apparatus that are made of metal or plastic and are about as big as a couch where you hang your wet clothes, and can be used inside or outside. When folded up this easily fits out of the way behind a cabinet.

Doing our laundry in Italy requires a little more planning, no tossing a load into the washer, then the dryer and having it ready in two hours. Here the washing machines have as many as fifteen different settings and wash cycles seem to require at least an hour and a half. In addition this time of year drying can take one to two days, depending on the weather conditions.

This process for laundry does use a lot less energy and fits the slower pace of life here in Italia.


Anonymous said...

Ciao e benvenuti in Italia! Can I just tell you that my dryer is still, after almost 6 years, one of the TOP things I miss about my former life, and, one of the things I savor most about going back to the States to visit? Get ready for winter, when you just might resort to tactics I have tried many a time, such as draping thick socks and jeans over the radiators. Sigh. Great post by the way...I have often thought about doing something along these lines. If I ever do I will definitely link back to yours as well!

Anonymous said...

PS Bryan, are you Valerie from 2Baci's other half? This is great...I didn't know you had a blog as well...!! Did you manage to catch the big game in Rome?

Bryan said...

We have made use of the radiators already for socks and jeans. Yes Valerie is my better half. We both enjoy reading about you in Trastevere.

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Dora from expats, just a little advice for winter time (when the heaters are on)instead of hanging the clothes directly on the radiator place the drying rack in front of it and when the clothes on one side are dry turn it around, your clothes will dry quicker and you will have an automatic air humidifier :)

Anonymous said...

I find it sad to think how much energy is wasted in the US and the resulting implications for the environment purely because people insist on using dryers even when they are not neccessary or when ridiculous legislation is enacted.