Monday, September 24, 2012

Line Drying at Home

With more of us trying to reduce our carbon footprint these days by taking certain measures in our daily lives, I feel it's important for every household to line dry their laundry either all of the time or at least part of the time.  Line drying at home has been a way of life for us ever since we moved into our first house.  It's just always made sense to me, because it's how mom used to dry her laundry while I was growing up.  She had a dedicated area at the side of the house with a built-in clothesline for the weekly wash.  Mom dried her laundry this way more out of a sense of economy than anything else.


My utility/mudroom in the annex provides plenty of space in which to line dry indoors.  It is bright with plenty of windows to provide cross ventilation if I open them; this dries things quickly!


Now that I'm older I too want to economize as much as I can, while reducing my energy consumption at home.  Line drying is undoubtedly one way to go about this and is in keeping with the notion of "being green".  Although I don't have a built-in clothesline like mom had in her former home, I do make use of collapsible racks to dry most of our laundry, placing them either in my bright, sun-filled mudroom or on the porch of the annex, depending on the weather.  It's good knowing I don't use one watt of electricity to dry my laundry most of the time. 


Beyond the multipaned door lies the porch.  It's a breezy spot that allows me to effectively line dry without the use of power. 



Don't think that I completely go without a dryer.  There are instances when it is absolutely imperative to employ the dryer, such as when it's damp & humid outdoors.  If I'm drying heavy items like comforters, bath towels or jeans, I give them a head start in the dryer before making use of my racks to finish the drying.  If the laundry has to stay indoors because of the weather, I make sure I strategically place those collapsible racks near a vent to dry with the air conditioning in summer or with the heating in fall & winter. 


I take advantage of the outdoors on dry, hot days or when a light breeze is blowing through.  It's a pleasure doing laundry this way. 


Washing delicate items (sweaters, undergarments, antique linens, etc.) also requires gentle drying.  Having a rack or two enables us to dry these pieces effectively without the fear of destroying or shrinking them.  I love handwashing my collection of antique & vintage linens in the deep sink of the utility/mudroom and then carefully placing them on those handy racks as soon as I'm done.  I don't have to worry about them being mangled or ruined in my washer or dryer.  Another nice thing about line drying is that wrinkles are minimized on most items, making the task of ironing them a lot easier.

This deep sink is where I handwash the most delicate items.  It's deep enough to hold plenty of dinner linens. 
When not in use, the racks collapse to mere inches.  I either leave them here or store them in the linen closet opposite the washer & dryer.

The key to line drying with success is to do laundry throughout the week, rather than waiting for the weekend to do load after load of laundry.  I find it more efficacious to do laundry once a day and only when I have a full washer to load; the laundry is always separated by color & type.  If your home relies on a septic system like mine, it's helpful to do laundry this way.  One doesn't want to overwhelm these tanks with multiple loads of laundry, so it's best to space them evenly on a weekly basis.


A clean mudroom is a touchstone of good homekeeping.



If you already line dry part of your laundry or all of your laundry, cheers to you!  As you can see, it doesn't take much to be more environmentally conscious in one's everyday life, especially when it comes to drying laundry.  With one, two or more of these racks placed anywhere there is room in the home, one can achieve a greener approach to laundry.  Line drying makes sense both economically & ecologically.  My hope is that more and more of us attempt to become less dependent on dryers that consume a lot of energy and move toward a more natural way of drying laundry.  Line drying is a green thing, an easy thing, a smart thing and a good thing.  Make this approach to laundry keeping your good thing for a better life. 

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