Even the most mundane of household chores is an adventure in Poland. Dryers are not the norm in a large part of Europe and our flat is no exception. We have a washing machine and a drying rack — nature’s clothes dryer.
Our washing machine is located in the bathroom, right next to the bathtub. Strange place if you ask me, but I guess that’s where there was already a lot of plumbing. And how do you fit a big washing machine in a bathroom you ask? Forget those big jumbo deluxe models that can do laundry for an entire baseball team…this little gem of a washer holds the equivalent of 2-3 pairs of jeans (if you’re a little person) and if the weight of your laundry exceeds the limit, it just won’t work at all! So plan on doing lots of loads.
This is how to do laundry in five easy steps:
Step One: This part of the laundry adventure is the most important — go to the window, look outside and decide if it will be sunny enough — no chance of rain….that you can get your clothes washed and hung out to dry before one of the many 10 minute rain showers hits and you’re hurrying to drag the drying rack into the house, only to drag it back out 10 minutes later when it quits.
Step Two: Make sure you have plenty of time….because a load in this little baby (if you are washing in hot water) takes a whopping 2 HOURS and 27 MINUTES to run through the wash cycle! I kid you not! Makes you want to wash everything in cold water because that only takes ONE HOUR and 49 MINUTES!c Real time saver there! Needless to say, you have to plan to have nothing else to do on laundry day because you spend all your time waiting for the darn washer to finish so you can put in another tiny load…again and again….
Step Three: Get over the fact that you’re going to hang all your dainty unmentionables out on your balcony for the world to see. Fortunately we have balcony’s on both sides of our flat…the side that faces the street and the side that faces an inner courtyard. I opted for the courtyard side for two reasons. Less people looking at my laundry, it’s the sunnier side of the building which means the clothes will dry faster, always a plus.
Step Four: Make sure you put a weight on the legs of the “light as a feather” drying rack and have clothes pins. Being up on the top floor (They call it the fourth floor, but it’s actually the fifth because they start at zero here in numbering floors) it can get a little windy at times. And the wind can flip your drying rack on its side and now your clean clothes are getting dirty. I had to improvise for this. My weight is actually a free shoe bag I got on the airplane on my flight here that I filled with a huge bottle of water and some canned goods. The first time the drying rack flipped I hadn’t learned the weight trick (or have clothes pins) so I was frantically trying to figure out if any of the said “dainty unmentionables” had gone flying over the balcony railing. I took a panicked look over the side to see if anything had escaped because they would have landed right next to the gate where people walk in and where the gate guard sits. My Google Translate App would be getting a workout trying to explain that!
And last–Step Five: Folding and the most hated….Ironing. You have to do LOTS. Mother Nature doesn’t have a “fluff” cycle that will get rid of all the wrinkles. Shaking out your clothes only does so much and if you don’t want to look like you’ve slept in your clothes….get out the iron. Although I like to leave Step Five for another day…because by now I’m exhausted….and I hate to iron…..and if I play my cards right, David will take me out for dinner because I’ve been working so hard all day.
Oh, and don’t forget the fabric softener. It is your new best friend….no one wants to take a shower and then use a towel that feels like sand paper.