I remember watching my mom hang out the laundry one sunny summer day, and out of nowhere the new lady next door said to my mom, “You know there are driers for a reason.” Anytime after that, she glared at us if she saw our laundry hanging up outside.
However, a lot of people share the sentiment that hanging laundry outside looks trashy or low class. Some homeowner association conditions (HOA) prevent residents from hanging laundry for this very reason.
In fact, a few years ago a group of people banded together to remove laws in states like Florida and Hawaii that banned putting up outdoor clotheslines or “solar drying” devices. That’s right, some states actually have laws on the books protecting your right to hang out your laundry.
It all seems silly to me because outside the U.S. it’s more common for people to air-dry their laundry. To this day, the Hill Hoist, a type of rotary clothesline, is an iconic part of Australian culture.
Hanging out your laundry offers a ton of great benefits and it’s pretty simple to set up a clothesline at your home.
Setting Up a Clothesline at Home
All you need are two, sturdy upright posts and a rope. I used a rope I picked up for $2 at the local hardware store and two trees in my backyard to make my line.
Of course you can buy a clothesline system at most department stores. However, to me, it seems like a bit of overkill when a simple and more affordable rope can do the same job.
After you get your line set up, pick up a bag of clothespins and a few extra hangers. Then you’re good to go!
How to Hang Up Your Laundry
To make sure your clothes dry properly, here are a few things to consider when hanging your clothes:
- Wipe down the lines before you hang clothes on them.
- I generally use a thick, wooden clothes hanger for my nicer shirts so they don’t stretch out.
- Hang jeans from the bottom of the legs and flip the pockets out so they’ll dry faster.
- Pair socks together when you hang them up so you don’t have to hunt for matches later.
- Hang color clothes in the shade to prevent fading.
- Hang white clothes in the sun so they’ll dry faster.
Benefits of Using a Clothesline
Many people don’t like drying clothes outside because they say it takes too long or it’s too much work. Fair enough, but have you considered how much you can save by hanging your clothes outside?
Head on over to the Saving Electricity website to check out approximately how much gas or electricity your dryer uses and how much it costs you per year. Sunshine and heat are totally free, so why not take advantage of them to dry your clothes?
Clothes dryers wreak havoc on clothing as well – meaning you have to spend more money replacing pieces later. You know all that junk that ends up in the lint trap? Those are tiny pieces of your clothing getting worn off in the dryer. This weakens and wears your clothing much faster than normal. Also the intense heat can cause clothing to shrink.
Okay, I know a few of you out there are like, “Well, you can’t dry clothes outside when it’s cold and snowy.” Actually you can, and a lot of people do. Ecobaby Steps explains in detail how to do it. You could also set up a clothesline indoors during the winter.
Using an outdoor clothesline in the summer saves you money in several different ways. Plus it’s another small step toward reducing your energy consumption and making the planet a healthier place.
What do you think about hanging your laundry outside? Tell us in the comments below!
If so, subscribe now for tips on home, money, and life delivered straight to your inbox.