Hanging Around the Clothesline
Ah, the home crush. I’m so happy to have a washer and dryer in my dwelling for the first time since moving out of my folks’ house. As a bonus–loving you more every day new home–there was already an umbrella clothesline set up in the back yard.
When I was a kid my neighbor had one of these sweethearts and I’ve always wanted one for my very own. What a funny kid I was. Well, now I do! It was in extreme tangled disrepair. So last week I woke up early one morning and snip, snip, snip it was all off. Well shoot, how in the world do I restring this thing? It turned out to be very simple and intuitive. Just tie from one hole to the next and you are great.
Tip 1: If you are restringing one of these babies, remember you can always tighten it up later. I left long tails each time I tied it off so I could go back and cinch it up like shoe laces when I had it all strung up.
Tip 2: Start at the top and work your way towards the center, then adjust all the tensions working from the inside out.
Going Analog in a Good Way
While some friends commented that the umbrella clothes line would be the first thing to go (vs. the dead trees or crazy beat up garage door). I’m so delighted to have it in my backyard. In fact, I beamed with pride as I told them how I restrung it myself and was excited to use it for the first time and got their “you’re so crazy” looks.
Why am I so excited about this backyard old school drying method?
Saving money – Doing about 3-5 loads a week costs about $200 over a course of a year at $.08/kWh. Iowa has extremely low electricity rates. Calculate your usage cost with this neat calculator.
Saving my clothes – You know all that lint that’s collected in the lint trap each load? Yeah, well, that’s your clothing! With each load you are wearing them down, line drying prevents that. Which means I have to buy (or make) less clothing which means saving even more.
Saving my dryer – Less use = longer life span. And hooray, more savings. Or at least, fewer big purchases. I would be happy to keep this dryer working for the next 15 years or so.
Start up cost
Depending on what you have already on hand you can spend relatively little to a whole lot. I was lucky and had the umbrella clothsline holder in the backyard when I moved in.
A clothes line – The simplest is 4 eye screws + 1 clothes line. Just string it between your house and garage. That will cost you under $10.
Clothes pins – $2 for 10oish
Clothes pin holder – On Friday I’ll show you how I made mine for free (pictured below), but you can also pick up a plain one for under $5 at Target or some such place.
You can spend a bit more and purchase clothesline polls ($40ish), an umbrella clothesline ($40ish), or a retractable clothesline ($20ish). But that could be a later upgrade. You can always recycle the clothesline you get initially and use it with your new system. I found the best selection of clothesline was at the hardware store (Lowes) next to the rope in the “chain” aisle.
What kind of clothesline holder is the best?
Well, that’s really up to you.
I like this particular Umbrella-Style Clothes Dryer for a few reasons:
:: I can hide my undies in the center.
:: I can fold it up and not “clothesline” myself while mowing. Seriously, where do you think that phrase came from? Yeah. no thanks!
:: I can take the whole thing out of the ground and store it in the garage for the winter
:: It’s freaking cute and fulfills a childhood desire. :)
There are a lot of other choices.
:: Portable Umbrella Clothing Dryer – great if you can’t dig holes in your yard
:: Clothes line between two eye screws (This is what we used when I was growing up.)
:: Retractable Clothesline
::Clothesline T-Post Pole
Haven’t used a clothes line before? Here are a few tips to keep your clothes shiny.
To avoid weird drape – dry shirts and socks upside down. Dry jeans, shorts, undies from their waist band.
To hang big things – drape towels, blankets, and sheets over 2 strings of clothes lines.
To save clothes pins – double up by hanging clothes that are next to each other with one pin by overlapping each item slightly.
To have less wrinkles – Give your clothes a good shake and snap before hanging them up.
To avoid damage to delicate items (lacy, silky, fancy pants shirts and such) – Hang them on a hanger and pin the hanger to the line.
To avoid sun bleaching – Hang your brights inside out to preserve their fun bright colors.
To let the sun do it’s awesome natural bleaching – Hang whites right sides out.
To save time -If you hang all your clothes up in your closet, hang them on hangers on the clothesline OR take them down and put them on hangers right away. Coming off the line they are easy and quick to hang vs. being wrinkled and tangled up in a basket.
To keep it clean – Wipe down your clothesline at least once a month. I’ve actually added it to my weekly routine. It’s outside and gets dirty – and that dirt will transfer to your clothes if you don’t wipe it up.
Do you use a clothesline?
What made you choose the sun vs. the dryer?
Have you always dried your clothes by hanging them?
Any tips for clothesline newbies?
Happy homemaking! Seriously, I’m having a good time being all domestic. :) Never thought the day would come.