Laundry on the Line

| 10/3/2012 5:00:00 PM

I don't suppose it's a stretch to say that hanging up clothes on a braided white cord strung between two large trees is a form of homesteading, but I wanted to include it in my posts because it's such an easy way for people to take that "first step" into a more sustainable lifestyle.

The simple act of allowing the sun and breeze dry the clothes is certainly more time consuming than tossing a heap of wet clothes from one appliance hole into another. However, the meditative and environmental bonuses should outweigh the convenience...most of the time.

Obviously if laundry day(s) lands on an overcast or raining period, throwing the wash into the dryer is almost the only option. Or winter...don't see a lot of socks on the line in January. But I have seen laundry out with snow on the ground, so it is possible to be that hard core. And I have friends who have drying racks built into the walls of their great rooms for rainy days or winter time. So it's definitely possible. Of all the appliances our modern lifestyle afford us, I would say that the dishwasher and the dryer are the most un-essential. A small adjustment and you can get by perfectly without them.

[I don't count a microwave as an appliance that any household should have to begin with, so that doesn't make my list at all.]

Now before you think I'm stepping up to some hand-made soap box, I will be the FIRST to admit that our gravitation to hang laundry on the line came partly from necessity, mostly that. When we first moved in to our house in April, the dryer plug did not fit the outlet and we had to wait about a week before the correct one could be installed. In our house, a week's worth of laundry might as well be a month! I had to get something washed and dried, so we bought some clothes line at the local Fleet Farm and looked for a place to set it up.

Despite two large side yards and a backyard to boot, there are scant few trees with which to string a line. The only option was two mature trees in the shared yard with our neighbors. Andy is a whiz with knots and came up with a hook and knot solution that tied the singular strand of cord to itself without pulling away under the stress of heavy, wet clothes. A single fat nail in each trunk keeps the line from scooting downwards as it wraps around the tree. And within minutes, we had our natural dryer all set in place.

Terrie Lawson
6/18/2013 5:01:09 AM

In the suburbs of Sacramento, my husband and I live on a quarter acre. I hang dry most of our laundry and do love the few minutes of solitude. Especially in the morning when the birds are singing and the pond pump has started a little trickle(solar pump). Last year we added the outdoor window shades and started hanging our laundry spuratically. We decreased our energy bill by about a 7th. This year , all other things being equal, we simply hang dry more frequently, we are saving another 6th. This year that's about $10 per month from spring through late fall. Here, five of savings would fetch a nice, clean, working dryer off Craigslist.

10/7/2012 2:05:04 PM

Becky and Andy, The correct term for clothes dryer is a "Solar clothes dryer". I'm afraid I'm hooked on the convince of having a clothes dryer. The weather elements are just too unpredictable here in Nebraska. Winter is a definite down time for drying clothes outside. Then there are the times of rain that prevent the hanging of clothes. Some areas in the city, not where I live, deny the hanging of clothes to dry. Many housing developments have too many rules for me. One area of town that I would never live requires the cars to always be in the garage and only two hours to retrieve the empty trash can on trash day. Too much regulation for me. I don't even drive through that part of town. Have a great solar dryer day.

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