I think I have a fetish about doing laundry.  (Some proof – the info on making your own detergent).  But really, it’s more hanging things out to dry that elicits reverence and devotion on my part.

Reverence, devotion?  Bit strong you think?

airdrylineMaybe, but I’m not alone in air drying clothes.  According to a Pew Research Center Report, more and more people are saying a clothes dyer is not an essential household appliance.

OK, the study was done in 2009, right when the US was in a recession.  Pew researchers asked what appliances people would be willing to live without.  More people said they would eliminate a clothes dyer than any other household appliance.  (A dishwasher was considered the most essential. It’s 2014 – Which appliance would you rather do without?  Let us know in the comments section.)

Why go through the work of air drying your clothes? 

Several options are available to air dry - this portable rack can be used anywhere.

Several options are available to air dry – this portable rack can be used anywhere.

Here are five reasons for air drying clothes and for my devotion to this practice: To save energy.  To infuse your clothes with an outdoor scent.  To extend the life of your clothes.  To feel empowered as a DIYer.  To have some contemplative downtime away from your computer, phone, or other demands.

1) Saving energy: I prefer to let the sun and air do the work rather than drawing upon costly energy that uses up our precious natural resources and probably pollutes along the way.

The sun here in Colorado can dry things in half an hour sometimes, just like your gas or electric dryer.  And even when I lived in Ohio, where the sun didn’t shine as much, clothes dried nicely.  Air is an efficient dryer.

2) Getting that outdoor scent.  Why purchase a chemically based additive to simulate the outdoors when you can get the real thing?   (Here is something I noticed – the Midwest and far west seem to infuse the best scents…  readers, any insight here?)

3) Extending the life of your clothes. Air drying is gentle, you don’t have to worry about excessive heat and twisting.  Many of our fashionable clothes now caution against heated drying, anyway.

4) Feeling empowered – there’s a certain feeling of satisfaction in accomplishing things yourself, with your own hands.  (It’s a kind of Soulcraft – read about someone who dumped his white-collar job to work with his hands here).

5) Having some downtime.  Stress seems to be the 21st Century malady  – what with the constant enticement of your phone and computer, job demands, world crises, personal problems, the pressure to be thin and happy – get a little respite and downtime plus air and sun while you hang your clothes to air dry.

Is it allowable?

My unobtrusive clothesline - two posts, a retractable line that pulls out wen i want to use it.

My unobtrusive clothesline – two posts, a retractable line that pulls out when I want to use it.

Do you worry that your neighbors will complain or that your community covenants will not allow you to hang things out to dry?

In Colorado (and other states I’m sure) state law allows energy-conserving measures such as hanging laundry outside.  If it saves energy, community covenants cannot rule against it.  The law, most likely, is on your side.

How much time to invest?

According to some expert, “Since the average person spends at least six hours a week in their laundry room washing clothes, it’s no surprise why homeowners crave a more organized and attractive laundry space.”

Six hours a week – even of you only spend three – you can make some of that time count!  Take yourself out of the laundry room and outside.  It’s good for you, your clothes, and for the environment.

Editorial and photos by Bojinka Bishop, July 23, 2014.

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Comment(s) on Five reasons for using a clothesline

  1. anne cooper says:

    Hear hear. And you don t even need to install a line. I dry my sheets on the railing of my balcony using small hand weights to keep them from sailing away. For small items… . I use a hanging dryer with small clamps that I got in Japan. Asians do not waste precious energy on what is free….sun and wind.