Saturday, October 8, 2011

Do they even have that in Poland? #9

Now *this* is the "Do they even have that" that started this whole "do they even have that" business. The "do they even have that" that helped inspire this whole blog.  The"do they even have that in Poland" that caused my husband to look at me with shock and horror and beg me to never start a conversation with that question again (so, of course, I have a whole category devoted to just that one question, what did he think would happen?)...

That's right. The clothes dryer. A miraculous invention that mimics the effects of wind and sun to get this:

The wet clothes, not the little boy. I would *never* put a little boy in the dryer. Wow, you guys are morbid!

To look like this:

Dry clothes.

Without having to do this:

There are clothes dryers in Poland. They sell them. Some people own them. But, I'm pretty sure that the majority of people do not own or use clothes dryers. 

Some reasons:
 1) they are expensive to use (Texas, in particular has lower electricity costs than other states), if you're trying to cut costs it's an easy one to axe.

2) they are huge, take up a lot of space, and a lot of Poles (in Krakow at least) live in an urban environment/ flats...

3) God gave us the great outdoors, suitable for air-drying anything that may get wet (except of course for the 6 months where it is too cold/wet to hand clothes outside and that's where God gave us...attics? bathrooms?  wherever you can fit one of these...)

4) They are, in fact, a luxury item. I'll say that again...they are a luxury item. Now, I never thought I would hear myself say that, but I do believe it to be true. Why I still think it is important, nay, necessary, for me to have such a luxury? I have a large family, and it's only going to get larger. And I plan on homeschooling, and taking language courses, and tending chickens and growing veggies, etc. I just don't know where I will find the time to do all that laundry *and* hang it up. Others have done it in the past, others will continue to do it in the future, but I'm not quite sure I want to join the "others" just yet.

5) Other reasons. I'm only one woman.

Last summer Martin and I rented a flat right in the heart of downtown Krakow. The entire week the children were the most sick I have ever seen them, all at the same time. I was 5 months pregnant with Kacio. And, to top it all off, we were on the 4th floor of an apartment building, with no A/C, during one of the worst heat waves Poland has ever seen. The children threw up (and other stuff. goo.) over every piece of cloth in that apartment, more than once. No towel, rag, duvet cover, pillowcase, sheet, or piece of clothing was left unscathed. And the majority of it was not ours. It belonged to the apartment owners. And we were there for a week! This was no hotel where they replace the linens for you on a daily basis. We were in charge of using what they provided and making it last a week. And yet, within 48 hours it had all been used up, soiled beyond recognition. 

I panicked for a bit. On the inside. What was I going to do? 

Never fear. The apartment came with one of these...

A washer/dryer combo, in one machine. No bother that I could only fit one sheet in it at a time. (European sheets are the same size as American sheets) No bother that I could only fit about 5 towels at one time. (again, towels, same size here, as there) I washed and dried my little fat, sweaty, heart out the entire time we stayed there (it took forever! why, when everything is the same size here, as there, do they insist on having such small washing machines!!!???) and I left that apartment manager lady with the freshest, cleanest linens known to man.You're welcome weird apartment manager lady. You're welcome.

I know, I know, clothesline are wistful and romantic. Sheets, line dried, smell so fresh and clean compared to machine dried. Having little baby clothes flapping in the wind in the backyard just gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling. One the inside. 

Yeah, well, you know what doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling? On the outside? How clothes dried on the line are all stiff and scratchy. How any piece of clothing with the least amount of stretch doesn't "bounce back" into shape after being line dried so your pants just get more and more stretched out, and your t-shirts just start to look like big square sacks hanging off ya'. And how, when it rains unexpectedly, have to start all over. Yes, I'm spoiled, but then I could say the same thing about Poles, after all, they get rain at regular life-giving intervals, they have no right to point fingers. No right!

But, seriously,

For the first year or so I don't know that we will have access to a dryer. I might find at the end of that year that I just don't need one. I might just invent a new home-school class called "Hanging Clothes out to dry 101: the do's, dont's and everything else under the sun.  (get it? get it? "under the sun" like the sheets... under the sun... awesome) But, knowing that they exist, and that Martin has promised that we will have one in our house, if I want one, and even if I rarely use it, has made me a little more peaceful. On the inside. Where it counts. 

In closing, if we don't have a dryer, how in the world will we be able to do this?

Ok, so I *do* put kids in the dryer. But, honestly, who doesn't?


  1. Do you know that we have no dryer? And that is the EXACT drying rack we use when the weather isn't good! What you're forgetting, my poor stressed out friend, is that your older kids are almost old enough already to hang clothes on the line themselves. Soon you will have at least 4 people doing all sorts of various chores around your home and all you'll have to do is delegate. True story! You can totally live without a dryer, I promise. It IS fun!

  2. I know you have no dryer. And when I posted this I though of you, but it didn't stop me! I think, more so than anything, the IDEA of the dryer and the IDEA that I can have it if I want it, as in, they exist and we can buy one and hook it up, if I want, is really way more important to my psyche than whether or not it actually happens. It's one in a long list of items that I see as very American and that I may never want or have... but I COULD, and for some reason that makes things better. Does that make sense?

  3. I think living without a dryer would encourage me to lengthen the life of clothes before throwing them in the wash. I cannot imagine how our grandparents washed and dried everything by hand with 8 little kids running around. I imagine your kids will learn a new meaning of working hard!

  4. It's funny. Back in the older days it seems like homes were spick and span, clotehs were hand washed and line dried, bread was made from scratch, etc. and yet soemtimes we can't find the time to do even two of those things in the same day. BUT, at he same time, I also think priorities and relationships between parents and children were different. Relationships were based around work and everyone pitching in to get it done. There was only one day of rest, Sunday, and that's when you get your play time in. I doubt it was all hum-glum or anything, but probably far less free time to enjoy each other on a personal, "get down on the floor and play" type way. I dont know. Of course, they also weren't writing blogs and checking email and trying to sew Thanksgiving decorations and make homemade foods they don't really need, etc. Soooo....

  5. Hey. I found your blog some time ago and I really enjoy reading about Poland seen through a lens of a foreigner planning to move here. The posts on "Do they even have that in Poland?" are particularly funny, so I had to comment on it, I hope you don't mind. These questions show how "the point of view depends on the point of sitting" as we (literally) say in Poland. How something one cannot imagine living without can be completely disregarded by other. Now, responding your question: we do have the dryers, meaning I guess they are available in stores, but personally I don't know anyone who uses them. I myself never thought of getting one, or lacked it. I guess it is just a matter of being used to that. I mean it's just obvious that laundry needs some time to dry and you just take that into account when doing your washing. And it will dry eventually :) Also note that most of the year (like October-March) it is cold enough to have the central heating on at home. That makes the loundry dry much quicker.
    Anyway, I wish you good luck with it:)))



  6. Hello Marta,
    I'm so glad you found my blog, and like it! Comment away!
    Yes, it is all about point of view, I think you are right. We'll see about the dryer situation. I am sure that I can do without one. As it is now, once the clothes are dry and folded they can sit in the same spot for well over the amount of time it would take for them to dry on the line so it won't be that different. ;) For most of these things, it's not so much about whether or not WE will have them but if they exist in Poland at all, and really, in the end, how that will effect us, me, and how our lifestyle will be different. It's fun to think about.
    Thanks for posting! You are welcome any time!

  7. Hi Olivia :)
    It's Kama again :) We do have dryers in Poland so you shouldn't worry too much. You'll be OK. I'm sure of it :):):)

  8. I have the same washer/dryer combo! :D and yes, it only fits one sheet, sometimes it takes 5 loads to wash everything, but I am still very happy that we bought it. We live in a small apartment and don't have room to hang our clothes. My husband grew up in the US and he demanded a dryer :D this one was a pretty good choice I definitely recommend getting one.
    People do not have dryers in Poland because they are not used to using them. They are much more affordable right now, but a lot of people are convinced that dryers damage clothes.

    It's a great blog keep up the good work and good luck!


    1. Why have I never seen this comment before?! Hi, Agata!
      Wow, you have a dryer? Seriously, you are the first person I know who lives in Poland that has a dryer. It's good to know there are others like me. We'll see how it all unfolds...hehehehe, get it..."unfolds?"

  9. last week, I got back visiting Poland for the past 5 weeks. Stayed with my friend.In appreciation I would like to buy a clothes dryer for he. I have search the internet without prevail. Perhaps you can help. I live in US therefore all the transaction has to be arranged here....Thank you kindly....Lisa

  10. We just came back from Poland, and honestly, until I got there, I had NO IDEA that they didn't use dryers -- I thought I would DIE!! I learned quickly to hang our wet clothes wherever I could find something to hang them on ... we too rented an apartment in the heart of Old Town Krakow -- our balcony overlooked the Mariacki Church, Cloth Hall and the Wawel Castle... it was the best apartment I've rented in Poland, but the whole "no dryer thing" just killed me... when I got back to Ohio last month, I hugged and kissed my dryer!!

    So your original post is 3 years old -- did you ever get a dryer??

    We are planning to move to the Krakow region after I am done with school, and a Clothes Dryer is at the top of my MUST HAVE OR NO DEAL list!


    1. We did get a dryer! It's a condensation dryer, so it takes longer than the hot air blowing dryers in America, but it is definitely better than not having one at all. It's worth it.