A clothesline is not just a wrestling move on WWE Monday Night Raw, it also used to be a place where people hung their wet clothes out to dry. The concept is uniquely simple. When the washing cycle is done, clothes are hung up on a taught string until they are dry. Sometimes pegs are needed to hold the clothes in place but often they aren’t .

At some point I guess some genius got the idea of building a machine much like a washing machine that threw the clothes around while blowing hot air on them. Thus for $300 and little hike on the utility bill, it is possible to dry clothes today without ever leaving the safety of your own home. In the land of home cinemas, rec rooms, and pools in every back yard, this was uniquely appealing to people. The only downside was that dry tumbling sometimes left the clothes smelling a wee bit burned and charged the clothes with static electricity. Also clothes that previously lasted 200 or more wash cycles would only last 100 wash cycles. Of course this problem was easily solved by inventing fabric softeners, anti static sprays, and buying more clothes. Nothing keeps people occupied and the economy chugging like solving the problems they just created, I mean just look the daily commute from suburbia.

However, last week or was it the week before, I bid farewell to our dryer (It came with the house which of course is no reason to use it) and installed a clothesline on the overhang in the back yard. I didn’t use hooks, nor did I go out to buy a “real” clothesline. DW simply sacrificed some of her yarn, pink no less, and we doubled it, doubled it once more and then tied it up tight between the overhang supports. Instant DIY clothesline! This process took 5 minutes of action and about 3 years of procrastination. I did not get clothes pegs. Unless it is really windy, they are not needed. I just hang pants along their folds and they dry into that. No ironing needed if hung correctly.

Here are some more ways of saving.

  • Americans are apparently the people that have the most clothes and wash them most often. I don’t wash my clothes every time I have worn them. I think washing machines coupled with obsessive compulsive germophobia has made us wash a lot more often than we really need to. I usually wash cotton slacks and denim jeans every 5-7 days as they don’t get dirty in an office environment. Underwear, socks, and tshirts get one wearing though. Cotton sweaters get five or more, same with dress shirts (I wear them over a tshirt). Apply the sniff test if in doubt. For those who are really hardcore I recommend changing into “dirty/play” clothes when getting home from school/job, etc. That way the good office clothes only gets worn 8 hours a day.
  • I never use “hot” water (that’s 90C for the people blessed with the metric system). Warm (60C) is sufficient for your hot water needs. I don’t think this makes any difference in how long the clothes last but it does make a difference on the utility bill.
  • Next time I would consider getting a front loading machine. It saves on both water and clothes. The agitator even looks like the clothes killer it is. The other thing that wears clothes down being the dry tumbler.
  • Washing clothes inside out to prevents losing the coloring. I must admit I only do this for my expensive cotton shirts, but it really should be done for everything.

Any other tips?

Originally posted 2007-12-26 09:45:00.