If you are an avid follower of this website (and I hope you are!), you will know that upon re-reading How Bad are Bananas by Mike Berners-Lee, I was reminded that drying your clothes in a dryer is a huge waste of electricity.
We’ve always tried to reduce the amount of laundry we do by reimagining what it means to be “dirty” or “clean” (underwear has to be washed after each use, but pants definitely don’t and sheets and towels do not need to be washed once a week). We use foldable drying racks to dry diapers, and small rugs and towels and I always put our dryer on the lowest settings, but ever since I wrote that post in September, I have been feeling a lot of iceberg-melting, rainforest-burning guilt every time I press “Start”. I clearly needed to make a change – for the Earth and for myself. I needed a clothesline.
I grew up hanging clothes, towels, and sheets out on a line to dry (my parents thought it was silly to waste money on drying clothes when the sun would do it for free). It was a makeshift line strung between two trees, but it did the trick. I have tried to recreate that at our last two apartments, but haven’t achieved the capacity I would need to hang laundry for five people. Now that we are living in a house, I finally asked my husband to recreate the wonderful clothesline we had when we lived in South Dakota and he did (and before anyone goes all gender-role crazy on me, I am perfectly capable of building a clothesline, a garden bed, and any number of similar projects, but prefer to spend my time gardening – so there!).
Ben referenced an easy plan from ManMadeDIY.com to construct this project. I’ll let you check it out the plans directly from that site, but I will put in a plug for using locally-sourced, green, rough-cut hemlock, if you don’t have salvaged lumber for the project. “Locally-sourced” reduces the shipping and “rough-cut” reduces the processing. We got our lumber from Goosebay Lumber in Chichester, New Hampshire.
I am so to be using the power of the sun to dry our clothes instead of wasting electricity!
UPDATE: Want to learn all the line drying hacks I’ve learned since building this clothesline a year ago? Check out Clothesline Hacks 101!