Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hanging it up

Looks like I am moving my laundry drying operation indoors for the winter. While it was sunny and 41 yesterday, my clothes hanging outside on the line never did get completely dry and I ended up re-hanging them inside to finish them off. I think that the sun lays too far down in the sky at this time of year and my clothesline doesn't get the sun it needs for as long as it needs given the colder temperatures. Even just a few weeks back, I was able to dry at 41 degrees and sunny, but the sun was just that much higher in the sky. Once we get past the winter solstice and the days get longer, I will bring my wash back outdoors.

Moving my drying indoors does present some challenges given that I wash at least 3 loads a week. I have figured out a way to hang a total 2 loads of laundry at a time in my laundry room and because the room has a south facing window, things dry fairly fast in there. Larger bedsheets present some problems but I can string them across the room using a combination of hooks and clothespins. It will simply require some creative planning.

Creative planning is really all that has been required to make living without a dryer possible. When my dryer broke at the beginning of the summer, I didn't have a clue about how to go about all of this, but things fell into place fairly easily. Because I didn't have a working dryer to fall back on when things got tough, I just made it work.

Here are a few bits of information I have discovered along the way to make living without a dryer easier:

- reduce the sheer amount of laundry that goes into your wash in the first place. Don't wash clothing until it needs to be washed. Many items can be worn several days before laundering. This is especially important for kids to understand when they seem to think it is easier to wear something once and then throw it into the hamper. I take things out of the dirty wash pile and give them back to my son to put in his closet if they don't pass the "dirty enough" test.

-Don't wash bedsheets or towels as often. Believe me, you can go much longer than what grandma told you when it comes to washing these items, with no adverse affects.

-clothes don't need to be finished off in the dryer to get the wrinkles out after hanging on the line. Granted, clothes do come off the line more wrinkled than out of the dryer, but these wrinkles will fall out soon after you put the clothing on. I believe that your body heat acts like a natural iron, allowing the wrinkes to naturally subside.

I find it interesting that exactly when the outdoor air becomes too cold to dry clothing outdoors, it is exactly when we need more humidity indoors anyway. Bringing the outdoor drying operation indoors at this time of year will add much needed humidity to dry heated indoor air. When the cycles of my life work out and connect like this, I feel like I am operating more in tune with the natural world.

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

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