When you pull a load of clothes out of the dryer, it is a jumbled mess. When you pull clothes from the clothesline, they can be pulled in an orderly fashion which saves the time of sorting tiny baby socks stuck to the inside of grownup pant legs and the like. You can do a lot of the sorting and folding work while putting the clothes out to dry rather than fighting a static-y mess from the dryer later. *Genius.*
Before you decide you can’t use a washline because you haven’t the space, let me share the virtues of the clothes rack. The ones I have used and loved have all been wood but I know some are made of metal also. I have one made by Robbins Home Goods out of Maine and it has served me well for over 8 years. Yeah, it is kind of a big awkward thing but it folds flat and can be stored behind a door or under a bed when I’m not using it, which is almost never. This is the one I have and love.
My sister uses the wooden rack that my Great Grandmother used and it is still as sturdy as can be. You can buy a really simple and surely flimsy one at a big box store for about ten bucks but I’d recommend making an investment in a sturdy one that you can hang more than one load of laundry on at a time. They are advertized based on the number of drying feet they feature. Mine has about 50 feet of drying space, for example, and I fit about a load and a half on it. I use it by the wood stove in the winter and on the deck in the summer. A rack also cannot be beat for drying sweaters and delicates.
If you do have the space, a clothesline can be terrific. My clothesline is cotton twine tied with a Munter hitch (a knot that isn’t as fancy as it sounds) between the beams on my deck and it works perfectly. When choosing the site for a clothesline consider that while you don’t need direct sun, it is best if air can move around. Remember also that tree pitch and other organic matter can fall from above onto your clean laundry so plan accordingly.
When choosing clothespins, I’d look for a strong spring over anything else. I prefer wood because plastic ends up breaking eventually but if you see some of any variety at a second hand store or in someone’s attic, use them. You can keep your clothespins on the line or you might find it useful to make a bag for them that hangs on the line and is never far away.
How to Hang Laundry On the Line the RIGHT Way
There’s a knack to pinning clothes on a line to limit the tell-tale dried-in pinch marks and I hope my photos demonstrate how to prevent that. The way you lay clothes on the rack or line is how they will dry. If the pant legs are wadded up, they will dry that way, and slowly too because wrinkles dry more slowly that smooth fabric.
When I look at my basket of wet laundry ready to be hung, I pick a category of clothes or a person they belong to and hang those up together so when they are dry, I can fold them on the spot and then put them directly into the correct drawer.
This means that I hang all my son’s tee shirts together, in a row, then my daughter’s shirts, then their pants respectively.
Yeah, sometimes I don’t see a little boy shirt till the end and it ends up next to my underwear but for the most part it works. All of my husband’s work tee shirts get hung together, upside down, in a row, for example. By doing a good job of smoothing the fabric as you hang it and by sorting as you go, you save a lot of time. If you have a warm day and the air is moving, you can bet the dry time can be much faster than in the dryer and the process is completely free.
Jeans and towels are the items that most people seem to insist upon drying in the dryer. Some jeans need to be shrunk up to maximize their fit and God knows I wouldn’t want anyone in saggy-bottom jeans. I grew up with super scratchy line dried towels and I like the feel of them but I get it; some of you want super soft towels. In these scenarios I’d suggest line drying till they are halfway dry and then tossing in the dryer. You’d probably be pleased.
How much money does using a clothes line save? There’s a lot of things to factor in, and math is not my strongest suit but I can say that in my family of 4, in the dead of winter, our electric bill is over $250 and in the summer it is often under $90. We have an electric water heater and wood heat. Also consider that in the summer I probably do fewer loads all together because shorts and tees take up less room in the laundry basket than do pants and sweatshirts, but overall, I know that it indeed saves money.
The Best Laundry Detergent
As for the laundry detergent I’ve been happiest with, I can’t say enough good things about Norwex. Their laundry detergent UPP is free of fillers which can be anything from chalk, sheet rock ground peanut, whale bones, and other nonsense that doesn’t belong in your laundry. I learned about fillers at the end of my cloth diapering journey when I got my new, high efficiency washing machine. As nice as it is in some ways, it uses less water which means it simply doesn’t wash out those fillers as easily. Couple that with the hard water in my area and my cloth diapers weren’t absorbent, my whites weren’t bright white anymore, and my clothes felt…you know that feeling when you don’t wash the conditioner in your hair out all the way? My clothes felt like that. The Norwex Ultra Power Plus laundry detergent is free of fillers so my clothes are clean AND I appreciate that every dollar I spend on detergent is actually purchasing soap…not chalk that I have to fight to remove from my clothes on the next load. If you want to check out this wonderful detergent, talk to my friend Cassie. She’s a mom who sells this really high quality laundry soap, along with other family friendly cleaning products. I’m also in love with their mop… but that’s a topic for another blog post 🙂
If I haven’t convinced you to hang your clothes on the line and get vastly better laundry detergent yet, check out this lovely infographic. It outlines all the ways you can save money during the laundry process.
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