A Line Drying Revolution
Sometimes I’m a slow learner. I dismiss certain frugal doing as ‘too difficult’, ‘inconvenient’, or ‘not for me’. Someday I will learn, that short of separating my two-ply into single, well that’s just dumb. Clotheslines are one of those things. Specifically the outdoor variety. I’ve got a couple indoor models in use in my basement. As a resident of rainy, overcast, damp Seattle, we are lucky to be able to use those all year round. But frankly, they kinda suck. Limited and inefficient. They save our shirts from a trip through the money guzzling heat box (what I’ve taken to calling our dryer). For anything of substance though, towels, jeans, sheets, pet bedding it takes too long, and there is simply not enough real estate to put the accursed appliance completely out of commission.
Oh, for summer time! Or spring. Or even a breezy dry fall day. Any day without precipitation really. I’ll take it. So begins my love affair with outdoor drying. Clothesline! How I love thee!
Just Add Wind. The Husband, generally not a fan of crunchy towels. Or stiff socks. Or anything he knows has been on that line. I get a grudging acceptance, and gentle sabotage, should he do the laundry. For indoor drying we prioritize, based on what dries in a timely manner and what he will tolerate. I’ve also been known to throw items into the dryer for 5 minutes once they are dry. Softens the blow – financially and in a tactile sense. Outside, this is not such a problem. The more wind the better. Items blown around are softened significantly compared to when they hang stiff as a board inside. Nowadays, he has to question what has come from the line. I provide vague responses, and hope for a cool breeze.
The Blessed Smell. There is nothing like bed sheets dried on the line. Fabric softeners, detergents, need not apply. I can not even describe it, but its bliss. I bury my nose in them for no particular reason other than satisfaction. The smell of sunshine and fresh air, whatever that smells like, photosynthesized into my bedclothes by some mysterious process. I’ll take it. Sheets are my favorite, but this works with everything. Particularly, a certain category of washing.
Dog Laundry. This has become my preferred method of drying all things dog accessory. I only wonder why I didn’t discover it sooner. With entirely too many dogs in residence, too many senior dogs (read: weak bladders), hairy senior dogs, I might add, and my affinity for dog beds. We generate a lot of pet-centric laundry. This is a special category, washed and traditionally dried separately to prevent its hair ridden, smelly-ness from spreading to the rest of our textiles. I’ve used numerous odor eliminating aids, as pre-treatment and in the wash itself. Nothing works to complete satisfaction. These items are still not fit for indoor drying, but outside. Odors eliminated. No purchase necessary. Hung right next to clothes and towels, with no concern of contamination. Why?
Solar Power. The sanitizing power of the sun, employed. Whites are whiter. Poop stains fade in the light of the sun. UV in this particular case is your friend. There is a marked difference in the staining that remains on line dried vs. dryer cooked diapers. One of the draw backs of homemade laundry detergent is its lack of commercial whitening agents. This often leaves us with a population dingy tank tops, socks, t-shirts and other oft pale garments. Utilizing the free and sometimes available (around here) fringe benefit of the rays, brightens up everything. Another tidbit, I shoulda coulda woulda known before.
Money Saved. That dreaded heat box is generally considered the most expensive household machine to operate. Even at that, what’s the cost? $.60/hour or so. A bargain, right? Compared to the Laundry Mat or just buying new clothes all the time. Consider the quantity of laundry you actually do. Add up those hours. If I think about it, we do a lot. Certainly hours upon hours a week. I’d say 6, conservatively. Probably, more like 8 or 9. Especially considering the addition of cloth diapers and wipes, which may need a brief dryer finish to get them baby butt friendly. This isn’t pennies a month. It’s dollars. Worth the time taken to pin and unpin. A happy, domestic excuse to hang out in the backyard. An efficient use of all the space I pay so much for with my Big Fat Mortgage.
My clothesline setup is not particularly sophisticated. Like, at all. The line sags. It’s probably not thick enough for the distance it covers. Or something. I’ve got no nifty clothespin storage that harkens back to days of yore. Rather a bunch of cheap plastic pins floating around in the bottom of my hamper. I’m also not subject to any gestapo neighborhood association business, preventing me from using my yard as I see fit. HOAs and I would not play well together, I can say this confidently. I could improve my set-up. Add to it. Fix it. I’m so enamored with my current barebones arrangement. Imagine how smitten I’d be with something that we actually planned, designed, engineered even. Currently, I can’t be bothered. I’m completely satisfied with the cheap and functional. I’ve embraced the moments of pinning clothes, the crunchy towels, the money saved. You should too.
Do you line dry when weather permits? When did you convert? Or what holds you back?