“ Brand: Hills / Type: Clothes airer that folds flat to the wall when not in use and can be mounted inside the home or on an outside wall / Available: Various sizes „
Sometimes it feels like our entire house is being taken over by laundry. It feels like we're caught up in a constant battle to prevent the place being taken over by limp items dangling off every surface and creeping into every room. It's been making me feel oppressed for some time now but suddenly, thanks to the purchase of two Paraline dryers, we seem to be wrestling back the control of our environment.
Pre-Paraline life was crazy. The washing machine is downstairs in a long narrow utility room off the kitchen. Once clothes were cleaned, we then dragged them upstairs to one of the spare bedrooms and draped them over a collapsible (often when you don't want it to) clothes 'horse'. What didn't fit got draped over the room or cupboard doors, sometimes over the radiators and even - when desperate - inside the airing cupboard. Usually the cats would find their way onto the clothes horse and despite it looking horribly uncomfortable, they seem to like sleeping there. It felt like every room you entered was being eaten by wet linens. The ironing board didn't fit in the utility or the spare bedroom so often found itself in our bedroom or even at times in the living room. It was just plain stupid. Paraline dryers have finally given us back control.
Most people who go to Sydney come back impressed; usually it's by the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Botanical Gardens or Taronga Zoo. In the case of my family (my parents took my sister and me and our other halves on holiday in 2009), all the above applied but we also came back immensely taken with my uncle and aunt's clothes dryer in the back garden of their house. This dryer was a clever device that fixed to the garden fence, flipped up firmly into place when it was needed for laundry and then neatly folded flat to the fence again after use. This seemed to be the standard Australian way of dealing with drying your clothes and we all said we wished such things existed in the UK. Visiting my parents a few weeks ago, I was amazed to find that they'd managed to get hold of a couple of small folding dryers and had set them up in their utility room and inside their conservatory. Despite this style of dryer being rarer than hens' teeth over here in the UK, my step-father had tracked down a surplus store on the outskirts of Salisbury (I think it's called 'In Excess') where they were being sold for the tiny sum of around £7 each. Considering they'll set you back about ten times that amount at the other end of the world, he was pretty excited with his bargain. I showed them to my husband and he shot off to In Excess to pick up a couple and then my step-father talked him through the process of putting them up.
~ Our little lifesavers~
The model we bought is called the Paraline Inside-Out - which simply means that they can be used inside or ..... you guessed it .... outside. It's considerably smaller than the type we saw in Australia and that's a good thing. Nobody wants - or can fit - a 3m by 2m contraption inside their house. We already have a rotary washing line outside for those rare sunny days when you can use one and we didn't want or need more outdoor drying space. The joy of the Inside-out is that it's small enough to use indoors without completely taking over the entire room. The Paraline came in a remarkably small box which was a good thing since my parents have a titchy little Toyota Aygo and two fitted comfortably in the back. My step-father did some serious man-talk with my husband about the need for 'coach bolts' (very long screws to you or me) and to only stick them on solid walls. My husband indulgently nodded at being taught to suck eggs.
The next day the transformation of our utility room (and our laundry lives) began. My husband took down all the wall-mounted coat racks from the wall, worked out where to put the Paralines so that both could be opened without interfering with each other, popped to the village hardware shop for some very long screws (no rude sniggers please) and then set to work. The box contained instructions and since I didn't hear too much swearing I can conclude that the process was quite straightforward. My husband is of course a DIY God but even he confessed that it hadn't been difficult although he'd got a bit grumpy about not realising he needed to thread the wires through the holes quite early enough.
What you effectively get is a wide U-shaped frame that's 70 cm deep and 120 cm wide and has holes to thread the hanging wire through. This frame fits into the wall-mounted mechanism that enables it to lock firmly into place sticking out from the wall or to click up and then fold flat to the wall. With five wires on each you get 6 m of wire for hanging laundry and you can also use the metal frame at the front to get an extra 1.2 m of hanging space. The dryers benefit from being very close to our central heating boiler so we can take advantage of heat that would otherwise be wasted. Unlike the clothes horse which stands on the floor, there's no easy way for the cats to find a route to the top and sleep on your clothes.
Most regular washing (by which I exclude heavy items like towels and jeans) is dry in a few hours. The tumble drier sits under one of the rails but we've not used it since we installed them. By re-jigging the layout of the utility room, we managed to free up enough space to move the ironing board in between the washer and the tumble drier and now everything we need is all in one small room instead of spread throughout the entire house. For two weekends in a row we had guests who were able to use the spare room which had previously been eaten up by laundry and it starts to feel like we're getting our lives straight again. It's hard to believe that something so simple could make so much difference.