June 5, 2007

line dry

Drying my clothes outside on a line has been on my to-do list for some time. I've never done it before. I never had a place to do it, nor the incentive. Now that I understand what a good thing it might be, I'm willing to give it a try. I hope it will save energy, reduce my carbon footprint and save money. I do already have an energy efficient dryer, but have heard that the clothes dryer is the 2nd highest energy user in a typical home (refrigerator is 1st). And aside from all the wonderful things drying outside might do for the earth, I've heard it does nice things for your clothes, too.

I must confess that one reason I haven't just hung up a line yet is that we get some pretty big, scary spiders in our backyard. I really don't want them on my clothes! So I will be sure to hang the line somewhere they cannot get to easily. I also have thought of an indoor drying rack, but space is pretty limited for laundry and I'm not sure where I could place a contraption that might hold a load or two.

I know people around the world hand their clothes to dry all the time. Many would consider it crazy to use a machine to do something which will inevitably happen naturally.

My blogging buddy at Gift of Green has inspired me to give line drying a go. Her recent post listed it as "something I could do this week" for the environment (see #5 on her list). I also like my friend Laura's idea of setting the delay timer on the washing machine so a load is washed while you sleep. When you wake up in the morning you can hang it to dry.

I did some searching online to find clothesline gear. There are all kinds of options depending on your situation (indoors, outdoors, freestanding, attached cable, etc.) Some good choices can be found at the Clothesline Shop or at Stacks and Stacks.

While searching I came across an article in the New York Times by Kathleen Hughes, in which she chronicles her efforts to hang her family's laundry. I hope to learn from her experiences and avoid some of her early pitfalls. It hadn't occurred to me how many people live in communities where clothes lines are not permitted! In fact, there is a non-profit called the laundry list dedicated to fighting for the right to dry clothes outside. The site also has lots of information on the why's and how's of drying clothes on the line.

My first step will be to get a line set up. Then I will be able to figure out how much and how often and just plain HOW to make it work. Stay tuned!


Gift of Green said...

Go Mom Go Green, Go Mom Go Green, Go Mom Go Green! (Boy, that's a mouthful!) I LOVE your graphic - that's adorable! And your advice is so much more helpful than my just go do it! : ) I have not had any problems with spiders. Honest.

Anonymous said...

You go! Make sure you visit the Project Laundry List website.

Anonymous said...

I read your articles on sunscreen and clothes lines. And, just today, I was heavily researching sunscreens and driving myself insane! I think I have come to the conclusion that we cannot expect any of our choices to be perfect (at least not yet) because we are trying to fight a huge chemical battle which the government doesn't want us to win. So, I believe the best thing to do is the best you can. And, in reference to hanging up clothes, I hang up what I can in my laundry area, and I use the machine to do the rest. I also don't do all the laundry in one day, so more can get hug up....and I never hang my kids jeans because they take too long to dry. Another consideration...I have also been know to hang up wet clothes in my closets an article or two at a time with no problems. (I have a website on yahoo.360. My screen name is CherNJOTR. Thanks for your articles. Enjoy reading them.

Chelsea Hodge said...

I'm a student at Pomona College in Claremont, California and recently spent a good amount of time looking into the various clothesline and drying rack options since Pomona is going to purchase some for student use and I wanted to make sure we purchased the best available option.

In my research, I was shocked to find that there is NO good website explaining all the different clotheslines and drying rack options, so I made my own! It's a wiki page on the Tip the Planet sustainable living wiki that ANYONE CAN EDIT. You can check it out here: http://www.tiptheplanet.com/index.php?title=Air_dry_washing

I'm trying to spread the word so that the site becomes a clearing house for drying rack information, and people have to spend less time scouring the web for the best products. Have a look, share it with your friends, and by all means add your wisdom!

Take care,