Saturday, May 30, 2009

Line Drying Clothes

It ought to be harder and more time consuming to line dry clothes compared to machine drying. If I told my friends it was actually easier, they wouldn't believe me. They'd think I was trying to be brave in the face of difficulties. Or trying to lure them into my insane peak oil fantasies.

But seriously, I think it's easier, most of the time. And I've always considered laundry to be the most tedious of household work. Here's my previous routine:

1. Put a load of laundry in the washer.
2. Switch the load to the dryer, add another load to the washer, go do something else, oops, got distracted and now the clothes in the dryer are wrinkled.
3. Add another load to the washer. Pile wrinkled clothes on the bed, planning to figure out what to do with them later.
4. Come back in a few hours later and discover dogs have decided to nest in clean, wrinkled laundry.
5. Start over at step 1.

The problem is there are so many things to do in a single day that I can't seem to stay close enough to the washer and dryer to make the process efficient. At least one out of two loads of laundry ends up sitting in the bottom of the dryer, wrinkled as a Shar Pei.

But with line drying, here's how it goes.
1. Put a load of laundry in the washer.
2. Hang out laundry.
3. Sometime during the day, remember to pull fresh, unwrinkled laundry from the line, fold right laundry into baskets.

Of course, the other benefits to line drying are pretty obvious. It saves energy, doesn't heat up the house, clothes smell wonderful and are naturally disinfected by sunshine. Additionally, the dryer is pretty hard on fabric. All that lint you take out of the lint trap? That's your clothes, disintegrating.

We don't have an ideal set up for a clothes line. The house is situated on a steep hill, with lots of trees. If I put up a clothes line anywhere around the house, I'd have to tramp down about 100 hillside stairs every single time I wanted to use it. Or, I could hang it near the garden, which is about 200 yards from the house. Instead, Widget Man installed a retractable line on our deck, which get lots of sun and is conveniently located adjacent to our actual house. It looks kind of crazy, I guess, when I've got undies and socks drying on the back deck. But we've gotten used to looking crazy.


  1. I love line-drying clothes, and around these parts, sometimes the clothes dry faster on the line than in the dryer!

  2. Indeed, they do dry fast around here -- especially linens and quilts, which seem to take forever in the dryer.