The Art of Clothesline Laundry

6 years ago


Spring is officially here when you see my clothes hanging out on the line. There's nothing I look forward to more (as far as housework goes!) A few years ago, my DH and his BFF (he he!) were kind enough to hang a trio of lines between two trees on our property. Each line is about 46 feet in length, which is usually more than enough for our family of three, unless I'm doing bed clothes in addition to the normal laundry.

I've had more than a couple people ask me why I prefer to line dry my laundry. Well, I have my reasons, but it mostly boils down to the fact that I'm cheap =) According to a website called Dryer Tips, it takes approximately $150-$200 a year to run your dryer 5 hours per week. Now, I don't know about you, but I think that's a lot of money. I figure I spend about half of that amount, since I predominately use my dryer in the winter (and only because I've tried to hang dry inside in the winter, and for me, it just doesn't work as well)

Since I've been line drying clothes for a while now, I figured I'd share some of tips that I've come up with.

1. I like the wooden spring clothespins. This is just a personal preference over the plastic type and the slotted pins.
2. When I hang jeans, I hang them feet side up and even with the line. I fold the ends over slightly and put two pins on each leg. I have tried hanging them right-side-up and I just don't like the creases it can leave in the waist band.
3. Yes, I hang "unmentionables" on the line, although I am particular about how I hang them. Since I have three parallel lines, I will hang them on the middle line towards the center so they are not so noticable... although I'm not generally worried about people seeing my son's underwear, mine is a little more noticeable from the road =)
4. When hanging socks, I usually use one pin per sock with the sock being clipped on at the toe. I've found this works best with longer socks, especially the tube socks my husband wears with his works boots, because they are thicker at the tops vs. the toes. This keeps the drying more even.
5. I always hang my shirts upside down on the line to keep any possible creases out of sight. I have hung them right-side-up before and I just don't like the way the clip leaves marks on the shoulders of the shirts. The upside-down method works especially well for hooded sweatshirts because the hood is always the last thing to dry.
6. For towels, if it is a fairly breezy day outside, I will fold them in half over the line and use two to three clips per large towel. If it's just regular day, I will fold only the last two or three inches of towel over the top of the line and clip it on with two clips. I've found doing this let's more wind get to the towel and makes them a little softer. (For anyone wondering, we don't mind line dried towels... it cuts down on loofah time because we're getting extra exfoliation!)
7. I have found a particular method for wash cloths that is a must for me. I always fold them in half over the line and use two pins per cloth. I have tried hanging the cloths by a single pin (to save on space and pins) but this deforms the cloth until the next laundry cycle. It just doesn't work. Two pins per cloth = a must.
8. The breeze level determines the amount of pins I use on my bed clothes. If it's a very windy day (or they're calling for it to be before I will remove the clothes) I use three to four pins on my comforters as well as my sheets.

9. The wind will also determine at what notch I attach the pins on the line. My wooden spring pins have two notches, almost like two different strengths. For very breezy days, I use the notch closest to the spring and for regular days, I use the big notch.

10. I don't use a special handmade clothespin bag. I reuse Wal-Mart, Kroger, or whosever's shopping bag as my clothespin bag. I once bought a "cloth" pin bag from the local dollar store and it ripped, but left me with the fantastic hook. I just hook my shopping bags to it and go on about my way. I don't see the need for a special made bag, but if it works for you, then so be it.
11. As you know, drying times will vary greatly between materials. Jeans will always take the longest, with comforters and hooded sweat shirts following a close second. Light tee shirts and wash cloths take usually about an hour to dry, but the humidity and breeze level will determine exactly how long anything takes.
12. I never put clothes on the line after 12 noon. It's mostly personal preference because it just gives the clothes ample time to dry and gets them the most sunlight. The light helps brighten white clothes and lessens my need for bleaching agents in the summer.

Of all the reasons I have with line drying clothes, the biggest reason that I have is because my family line dried their clothes. I guess it's just a tradition that I'm following. And I love having family traditions.


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