Wednesday, March 5, 2008

#186 - Where There's A Will, There's A Clothesline

Getting Creative With Line Drying

Just last month I posted about how I finally got a drying rack and was using it to dry about 15-20% of my clothes sans electricity. Wendy and Green Bean both left me comments about how "once you go rack, you never go back" and said that I would become "racked with guilt" anytime I turned on the dryer. Pfffff.

Well, turns out them bitches was right. I load my rack up to the point where it nearly topples over, then I begin to toss items across the back of kitchen chairs, over the top of doors and shower curtain rods - I even utilize the various door knobs when possible. All this leaves my house looking like some shabbily-dressed strippers just left, and it tends to make my OCD personality twitch. Besides, I've caught the kids wiping their paint-y hands all over things recently and don't want to have the "but those were my best work slacks" conversation with hubby.

Of course, you loyal readers will know that I live in a subdivision whose HOA rules prohibit me from hanging a clothesline anywhere outside of the 4x4 fenced area that houses our garbage cans and compost bin. Not the best spot to hang clothes -- especially when you realize that area sits directly under several sappy pine trees. I initially had planned to go commando and install some sort of 007-esque retractable line this spring, but I have to wait for the foliage to grow in a bit more or it will be visible from the road. And in the meantime, Wendy and GreenBean's prediction is coming true. I am obsessing over what I dry in the machine.

So here's the stylin' new clothesline at Casa Del Burban:

Tres chic, no? Well, as my Dad always says, Form Follows Function and that puppy is definitely functional. I took a length of rope and two of those screw-into-the-wall-hooks. Some pounding and spinning, a couple of those "the rabbit comes out of the hole, around the tree and back down the hole" knots and voila! Instant clothesline. It's totally retractable too. Kind of. I just unhook one end, loop the line up (with clothespins still attached, of course) and hang it on the other hook. Although the clothes don't have that "sunshine smell", they also don't smell like a garage. Plus I'm not violating any HOA rules,and most importantly, I'm not using my dryer!

The only downside is, when I told hubby about my plan, he was quite concerned that whatever spiders may be in the garage would wind up in the clothes. I poo-pooed that idea and told him we were WAY more likely to get spiders from hanging the clothes outside. He insisted that he did not want his clothes hung up in the garage and, being the dutiful wife that I am, I relented and assured him I would definitely not put his clothes out there to dry.

Now how long do you suppose it will take him to realize that means he'll be doing his own laundry?


I still use the dryer for socks, underwear and bras. After all, nobody likes crunchy toes, butts or boobs (but if you do that's ok, we don't judge here). As such, I have gone from an average of six full dryer loads per week to one really small load. Since I use the moisture sensor, that one load only takes about 35 minutes to dry.

So, get your calculators out folks. Our 3,000 watt dryer went from running 45 minutes, six days per week (13.5 kWh / week) down to 35 minutes, one day per week (1.75 kWh /week). That's a weekly savings of 11.75 kWh per week, 611 kWh per year. At a windblown electrical rate of approximately $0.10 kWh, that's a dollar savings of $61.10 a year.

Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

Getting the idea was easy, since Paula Hewitt left a comment on my drying rack post about how she hangs her wash in the garage. Constructing the indoor line was also a relatively simple task. Even the actual hanging process is nice because it allows me to escape to the quiet sanctuary of the garage for a few moments in the day, where I can no longer hear "DAH-EE KNOCK OVER MY LEGO TOWER MOMMY!!!!!" and the oft-repeated rebuttal of "BRUH-BRUH KICK ME!!!!!" I'm thinking about getting a washboard and a bucket to put out there, if only to buy me some solitude. Maybe then I could get in a full 30 minutes of meditation. ;-)


organicneedle said...

My produce bag fabric came in last night and my enthusiasm got the best of me. I immediately ran down to the laundry room and tossed it in. (Just water of course to keep it chemical free.) Now keep in mind this is in 3 yard sheets. The only place I have tall enough in my apartment to dry them is over the bars on my 4 poster bed. During the day, this isn't an issue. This was 9:00 at night. My husband walked into the bedroom thinking he was getting some kind of special, albeit weird, night of love. Instead, he was instructed to sleep in the fetal position as to not get man feet on my material.

redsoxwoman said...

I am impressed. I have to say I am with your hubby on this one. My phobia is going to win on this one. I am changing my ways slowly, but this one I don't think I can change. I would be up all night beating my sheets with a broom just to ensure there were not any creepy crawlies in my bed. Sleep deprivation would not be a good thing.

Joyce said...

I'd take your garage spiders over our basement laundry room centipedes any day!

Wendy said...

Well, now, see? You figured out why stay-at-home Moms like using a clothesline - it's that fifteen minutes of solitude we so rarely get. I knew you'd catch on quick :).

I predict that it won't be long before you say, "dash it all" and start hanging EVERYTHING on the line. When I first started using my line, my rules were no jeans, no towels and no undies on the line. It's all air dried now.

My husband hasn't been all enthusiastic about some of the things I've wanted to do - like the clothesline, which he ABSOLUTELY HATED! But after seeing the drop in the electric bill, he's more on board with it :).

But the bottom line is, I do the laundry, he washes dishes. I don't tell him how to wash the dishes, and he doesn't tell me how to do the laundry. He wears "crunchy" jeans, and I scrape the egg off my fork.

Oanh said...


I found you via Google Recommends and have been reading for, oh, maybe a month or so now. Loving it :-) can't remember if I have de-lurked or not yet, but here I go!

I don't have a dryer - plus I don't really like them - so a drying rack it is. But to maximise hanging space and also because I am lazy, I hang some things on clothes hangers and dry them by hanging them off the curtain rods in windows. During the day and if the clothes aren't dry, I move the hangers into the bedroom. At night and just before I sleep, if the clothes *still* aren't dry, I move the hangers en masse and ever so easily into the living room. This resolves my OCD issues of seeing laundry everywhere - out of sigh, out of mind!

Bonus is that some things, like shirts, need less ironing and can go straight into the wardrobe when dry!

Sheets I hang on my drying rack, partially folded, and I turn them over regularly. They look neat sitting on the drying rack, and don't need much folding when finally done.

Good luck re spiders! I don't think it's a problem, honestly. Spiders don't like the smell of clean laundry.

Brian said...

WOW!!! And imagine, some people actually use their garages to park their cars in!!


Vera said...

I think you're making it more complicated...just hang them over the doorways! :-) Check out my April 17, 2007 post on how we do our laundry. LOL.

Stephanie said...

I fluff all of my clothes in the dryer on the extra low setting for 10 minutes after line drying. It takes care of the stiffness and it might even take care of your spider problem. (If you are an animal lover like me it also helps remove the hair.)

By the way I have heard you should never dry your bras in the dryer because it wears the elastic out faster.

Green Bean said...

Told ya! Your house sounds like mine - wet clothing strung up all over the place. It's a classy joint! And my husband, ahhh, he would definitely get along with yours. He's very concerned about bugs and spiders getting on his clothes when I line dry outside. I should adopt your plan and make him do it himself. Instead, I just ignore his complaints - per usual. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I've been using the excuse of not having any decent rope around the house keep me from getting started on this. I have no qualms hanging stuff in my basement - my parents did it when I was growing up (though only really to avoid shrinkage), and I tend to leave folded laundry in baskets down there anyhow. I figure if the spiders cared about my laundry, I'd have seen them in there by now.

I need to find some rope!

Anonymous said...

Glad you liked the idea! I hadnt even thought about spiders etc in the garage - most spiders hide in corners and boots....not climbing the walls to sneak into undies. As for parking the car - we do that too - I hang the small things above the car and the longer stuff beside it. This may turn some people off outside lines, or it may just make you grateful you only have to deal with spiders, or that you dont live in Australia - but I found a (small harmless) green tree snake on our outside line the other a whole new meaning to the term trouser snake!

Riana Lagarde said...

ahh it is so meditative to hang laundry each day (we have crunchy butts and toes, but oh well). i also use my living room. near the wood stove to hang the baby diaper-- very class for those unexpected visitors! but cuts the drying time in half.

love your blog, going to add you to my links for daily inspiration!

Chile said...

I'm with oanh - use clothes hangers. My blothesline is a tiny little lightweight pull-out contraption that can't handle much weight or volume. It is, however, right next to a wrought iron fence. All shirts are hung on hangers (t-shirts inside out to reduce fading). This works well and can be used for lightweight pants in a pinch. Heavy stuff like jeans and towels are hung on a clothes rack outside (or inside if it's windy enough to blow them over into the dirt).

Congrats on making the change!

Amy K. said...

I'm with Stephanie, and tumble for 10 minutes to get the stiffness out. The socks and undies are all old enough that they're permanently soft, so no worries there :-) The only tough one is towels, so I do cave and dry those in the dryer every 3rd or 4th time. I haven't braved indoor drying yet, but dried outdoors all last summer. Only downside: when the birds pooped on my pants. Score one for drying in the garage!

kale for sale said...

I've been considering a dryer rack and now that rack jingle is going to haunt me each time the dryer is on! I've been hanging shirts and soft clothes for years to selfishly make them last longer. And now I can be green too. It's time to make the next step though. Thank you.

Jessica said...

I am going to link to this blog in my newest blog post about clotheslines.

Thanks for the great blog. Looking forward to reading more.

Jessica at