Friday, July 30, 2010

Tips for Hanging Laundry Outside

Using a clothesline, or as I like to call it my solar-wind hybrid dryer, can be both green and frugal. It can also be daunting and a pain in the butt without a little planning. Here are my tips for making a clothsline work for you:

1. Get an early start -- I have 3 lines in my backyard, none of which are very long so if I want to get all of my laundry out on any given day I have to do it in 2 shifts.

2. Wash the clothes the night before -- In order to get clothes out on the line early in the morning I have to wash them the night before. I let them sit wet in the laundry basket and then hang them after breakfast. NOTE: I have a plastic laundry basket so mold/mildew is not an issue for me, if you have a wicker basket you may want to reconsider this step.

3. Double Hang -- On really hot days, to make the most of my line space, I double hang things. For example, I put two socks under one clothespin. I hang two T-shirts as if they were 1. All of my laundry drys without a problem. On overcast or more mild days it will take longer for the laundry to dry if it is double hung, but it will dry eventually.

4. DO NOT LEAVE LAUNDRY ON THE LINE OVERNIGHT -- In my expereince, and my mother's experience, this invites spiders into your clothes... enough said. There is the urban legend (or maybe it is actual fact) about the woman who had a bat in her clothes after leaving them outside all night... either way, better to err on the side of caution and bring it in for the night.

5. Don't have a clothesline, don't despair -- Use a drying rack. I use a drying rack in the winter to dry clothes inside, but before I have lines up outside I used to take the rack outside. It works just as well. Remember, because loaded drying racks are top heavy they have a tendency to fall over on windy days. Anchor them from the bottom with something heavy, even if it is rice in a Ziplock thrown over the bottom rung.

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