I have a confession to make. I don’t hang my laundry up to dry outside because it’s too much work and I’m lazy when it comes to laundry. To go from my laundry area in our basement to the backyard, I have to unlock the door, carry the collapsing laundry line outside, set it up, go back down the stairs into the basement and then lug the laundry basket filled with wet garments outside. Oh, and grab the clothes pins. And, then hope it doesn’t rain.
But I do hang our clothing to dry, just not outside, where I’m at the mercy of the weather. The laundry gets hung up to dry in our basement and by reducing our dryer usage by using an inside laundry line, I’ve reduced our costs by more than 50%. And it’s so much gentler on our clothing, too.
I got this idea from a home swap. This is what I love about home swapping: experiencing life how other people live and then taking their smart ideas and methods back to my home. The home we stayed in during our trip to Gouda, in The Netherlands, had an indoor wire laundry drying system. I think it may rain in Gouda more than it does in Portland! The home exchange family’s laundry area was small but they made a line drying system that was efficient and took up very little space. The Dutch are so smart with their limited space.
Why I use an inside laundry line
Here are the particulars on how I organize my laundry tasks:
- After cleaning clothing, sheets, towels in the washing machine, I put them in the dryer for 10 minutes.
- Once the 10 minute timer goes off, I hang items on the lines or drying racks. A few items remain in the dryer – those that need drying completely – and…
- After the next load of wash gets done, I put those items in the dryer for 10 minutes and repeat the 10 minute timer and then take those items out.
- After our weekly 5 or 6 loads of laundry, the dryer has only been used once or twice, rather than every time a load of wash gets done.
- Drying towels in the dryer for 10 minutes takes the “crunchiness” out of towels, too. Who wants to dry off after a shower with a scratchy, stiff towel?
- My kids both do their own laundry (another time saver!) but I do all the “whites” in one, weekly load. In general, our family only generates one load of white items per week so it makes more sense to combine those together.
- We try and only run our washer and dryer only on Sundays or after 10pm at night. Our family is on “time of use” electricity so our electricity costs less during those times.
- My basement laundry room has a window and screen that I leave cracked (and it has a safety bar in it) so that the moisture has an escape route. Our heater is located in the basement and in the winter, this helps dry our laundry as well.
I do occasionally use my laundry line outside in the summer, especially the previous 51 days, since we didn’t have a drop of rain fall in our city. But in case you haven’t heard, it rains in Portland, Oregon so the collapsing laundry line only gets dragged out and used when I’m guaranteed sunshine. During the summer, I use the line for airing out pillows or comforters. I also use my line for drying wool blankets that I’ve washed.
Hanging laundry outside is a lot of work. Sunny and warm days don’t happen regularly enough in the fall, winter or spring. I wanted to be able to use a hanging drying method year round and use my dryer less. By hanging the laundry in our basement, year round, I’ve been able to reduce our dryer costs by more than 50% and it makes our clothing, sheets, and towels last longer. Those are savings I’ll take any day!
Next up, I’ll show you how this inside laundry line works.
Do you hang your laundry to dry or do you use the dryer?
Go Gingham related links:
Taking care of clothing helps it last longer – and it’s easy
Preparing for winter and cleaning wool blankets
How to mend pillow cases to improve your sleeping – hah!
Want to learn to sew? Start here with easy cloth napkins