Laundry: so tragically different.
#firstworldproblems - for sure. Let's get that disclaimer out of the way.
It's taken months, but I've finally developed some laundry systems that increase my efficiency, but nonetheless it is the bane of my existence. In the states I complained about how the laundry is never completely done, how empty hampers are rare or impossible, and it was true. But here, it's even worse. In the states, I felt perpetually behind on a laundry in a way that was annoying. Here, I perpetually feel so far behind on laundry that it's downright depressing, and honestly I have cried over it. Six people is TOO MANY for European laundering ways.
I have a washing machine, which is on the smaller side of things but can manage an average size load. It is also a dryer, but it isn't the kind of dryer you find in the states. It has no air circulation, there is no vent, just a wet steamy... tumble. The dryer will dry clothes; IF I run the cycle for over an hour, I open the door to let out the steamy air approx every 20 minutes, and the clothes are made of fine/thin/delicate fabrics. So practically never. I dry underwear and towells in the dryer and that's it. The other drawback to the dryer? If I'm drying clothes in the dryer, I'm drying clothes in the washing machine, which means I'm not washing any clothes.
Wash a load. (Takes about 40 minutes if I do the fastest cycle.)
"Dry" (tumble) the load for 20 minutes just so the clothes aren't completely soaked.
Hang the load on the clothes rack.
Wash a load of underwear.
Dry the load of underwear until they are dry. (This gives more time for the clothes on the drying rack to dry.)
Wash another load.
Dry/tumble that load for 20 minutes.
Remove the dry clothes from the rack, hang the wet clothes.
Wash a load of underwear.
And so on...
This is tedious. Hanging clothes on the rack in a way that the won't get too wrinkly is tedious. Often times I'll throw them back in the "dryer" for a few minutes so they don't have that crusty/crunchy line-dry feeling. This kind of laundry takes a three days to get all our clothes done, and it's not like a "throw it in and forget about it until you have to change loads" kind of thing. It usually takes three days because inevitably I forget that I'm supposed to be doing laundry for a few hours and it sets me back. So by the time I've finished all the laundry the hampers are quickly filling up again. Then you factor in other things that need washing like towells, sheets, coats, etc and let's just say we have lowered our standards around here.
The kids are allowed two sets of pajamas per week. (There are penalties, and I'm totally serious.) I wear jeans more times between washes than I care to admit. School uniform shirts are allowed one wear per wash (they are white), but trousers must be worn at least twice before a wash. Socks and underwear can only be worn once but I'm not even gonna talk about how [in]frequently I wash the sheets. (Wetting the bed is your best bet for getting your sheets washed around here.)
Laundry stresses me, depresses me, and turns me into a crazy lady when I catch someone lazily throwing a clean article of clothing into a hamper. I loathe laundry.
What do I miss most (excluding people) about America? My dryer. Hands down.