Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Outdoor clothes drying

Just after my dryer quit, I saw a wooden drying rack in the trash on a street near my home and figured that it was a sign that I should pursue outdoor clothes drying rather than buying a brand new electric clothes dryer. I was several houses past the rack before I turned around and went back to check it out. As I stood at the curb setting the rack up and making sure that it worked properly, I decided on the spot that I would air dry all of my clothes from then on.

The problem was, I do about 3 loads of wash a week and my new found drying rack was too small to accommodate all of my wash. I needed another option and I wanted it to be inexpensive and if possible not require too many resources to produce. I checked into umbrella drying racks but they cost about $160 and used metal and plastic along with nylon rope in their production. After thinking it over for several days during which time my dirty clothing mounted, I finally decided on some simple clothesline purchased at Lowe's for $8 which I strung between my son's play fort and a well placed pine tree. I ended up with 2 lines by tying the rope on one side of the play fort, running it around the tree trunk and then back again to the other side of the play fort.

I felt quite ingenious about coming up with a great workable plan, but my family was less than enthused. My husband was worried that if he needed something clean for the next day, that it would be impossible to get it washed and dry in time. My older son thought I was being cheap, while my younger son, who had never in his life seen clothes outside drying on a line, couldn't understand why in the world I would want to do it. He was especially worried that I would dry his underwear outside for all the world to see. After I explained the environmental benefits to my family and reassured them that their underwear would be dried indoors on my trusty new found drying rack, they all got on board.

I have been air drying my clothes successfully for several weeks now and have discovered that I am more in touch with weather patterns and even humidity levels than ever before and I have to keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan accordingly. I have found on warm sunny breezy days, I can dry a load just as fast on the line as in an electric dryer. Humid cloudy days take much longer. Clothing smells much better after drying outside and even though it is stiff coming off the line, it eases soon after wearing.

The best thing about air drying my clothes is the process of hanging them on the line. As I grab each article of clothing from the basket and pin it to the line, the repetition of the work allows me time to think uninterrupted, feel the air on my face, hear the birds in the trees, and slow down.

All of my experiences with outdoor line drying can be found by clicking here.

1 comment:

Robin said...

I love the smell out outdoor-dried laundry! And that's a great insight about being in touch with the weather patterns (especially this spring here in the Northwest, it's been raining on my laundry a lot). In the winter, I use two wooden drying racks in my south-facing garage and just open the garage doors. I've got a photo of it in this post on my blog.