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Hanging Out In Britain
A country that is notorious for damp cold weather and small gardens is not what most people would think of as a perfect place to hang laundry out, yet in Britain as in many other European countries, most people do hang laundry out. The stigma, I have heard, is creeping in, but for the most part it is a normal thing to do.
It is not that electric dryers are unavailable – they are, but as most homes do not have a separate utility room and basements are very rare, the space for a dryer is usually in the garage. Another option is the dual washing/drying machine which is also available.
The difference seems to be more an approach to dryers that are looked at as useful when needed, rather than the American approach which is that the dryer is looked at as the only way to dry washing. Clearly if you live in an apartment or work out of the house all week and the weekends are damp and rainy, then a dryer is useful, but they are expensive to run. Consequently if you have a piece of land outside it is regarded as rather silly and lazy to use the dryer instead of outdoors.
When you see your parents, friends and neighbors hanging laundry or using a washing line, it makes it part of the culture rather than you being the odd one out.
So I continue the tradition of hanging out in the Midwest, and some of my rural neighbors also hang laundry, but I am well aware that people look at me as being slightly different.