the magic of air drying.

I've been air drying my laundry for years, a practice that started as an effort to spend as a little time as possible in basement college laundry rooms, whose creepy passageways made me feel like an extra in a horror film. The laundry room in my building these days is clean, well-lit, and modern - but by now, I've fallen for air drying, and I can't imagine I'll ever go back. Here's what I love about it:

-Reduced energy usage. Whether it's the environment or your energy bill that you care about, this is such a tangible benefit. I don't want to pay money to have the dryer do something that the air does FOR FREE! and completely carbon-neutrally.

-Decreased wear and tear. When not tumbled around and subjected to the high heat of the dryer, clothing and home linens don't wear out, fade, develop holes, or pill as quickly. The heat of the dryer also acts to "set" stains, sometimes making them permanent. You'll have a better chance of scrubbing out a drop of salad dressing if you've air-dried that shirt. (Somehow I never seem to catch notice stains until my clothes are back in the closet, so I need this!).

-It humidifies your air. Fellow sinus sufferers, you feel me on this. As the water from your laundry evaporates, it gently humidifies the air and help you breathe more easily on dry, cold days.

-Simplicity. As a college friend of mine noted to me once, "I think we could all afford to be a little more old-fashioned." Doing a chore by hand gives the mind a few moments of rest and meditation during days that are often too hectic. Hanging my laundry up to air-dry is more pleasant than using the dryer. And, it doesn't take as much time as you'd think: I turn on some upbeat music, and by the end of a song or two I'm finished with the task.

A few tips for making dryer-less laundry work for you & your family:

If you have a backyard, consider stringing up a clothesline outdoors, because things dry much more quickly in the sun and the open air (bonus: the sun acts as a natural bleaching agent for white items, and kills bacteria, as well!).

If you don't, maybe a clothesline indoors will fit in your home, something as simple as a piece of cord strung between two hooks that are mounted near the ceiling line. My apartment is too small to make that feasible, so I use collapsible dryer racks like the one above.