With the heat of Texas summers, the thought of running a dryer all day to get clothes clean for the next week is unappealing to say the least. As the house struggles to stay cool, adding additional heat from the dryer does not seem very smart. So this past summer I got to where I started to drape my towels over the back porch. The towels typically would take a dryer cycle and an additional 10 minutes or so to be totally dry. This would back up the next load being able to go in the dryer and so stretch out doing laundry much longer than needed as well as adding unwanted heat to the house.
Draping the towels over a deck rail is not ideal and they really can’t be spread out much. But, it allowed me to get other things washed and dried quickly and drying outside only took a few hours till the towels were dried. I loved the smell of the air dried towels and it made up for the stiffness they got blowing in the wind rather than tumbled in a dryer.
Since I was enjoying my air dried towels I decided to throw the other things that take a while in the dryer.. jeans.. over the front deck rails. I only had a few every week and the front porch takes a beating in the sun. In hardly anytime at all the jeans were also dry and it left my dryer for the remaining things in the laundry… whites and my shirts.
Since I only have small to medium size loads of clothes I found I could do the whites, put them in the dryer and then wash the shirts. I would not turn on the dryer until I had both loads in the dryer, effectively getting both loads dry on one dryer cycle. I ended up only having to run one dryer cycle every weekend and it made a big difference in my electric bill every month.
The nice thing about doing my laundry this way was I was not adding too much heat to the house. It was lowering my electric bill and also reducing the time I had to do laundry. I have an app on my phone where I can see the daily usage of electricity and I always saw a huge spike in usage on the day I did laundry. Now there is not much additional usage and my electric bill is lower than it was last year even with an A/C issues that caused it to run non stop until for a few week. So, by the end of the summer I decided I need to do something to dry my clothes other than throw them over my deck rails and I started to think about putting up a clothesline.
Initially I wanted two T poles with line between them as that is what my Grandmother had. It is what came to mind when I thought of putting up a clothesline. I had an idea where in the yard I could put one to take advantage of the nice breeze I tend to have here. But even with it being just me and the small amount of laundry I do it would still take up a bit of the yard. One night discussing it with my mother, she said I might want to look into getting one that is like an umbrella. At first it did not seem appealing, but I was looking at the ones with lines on all four sides. For some reason I did not like the clothes facing all different directions. I liked the idea of the clothes all running the same direction so a breeze could blow over them. But I was open to options out there so decided to do some research.
I spent time searching online looking at my options. I found some umbrella types that have parallel lines rather then the lines running all directions and decided they may be jut what I need. The parallel lines would have all the clothes running the same direction and I could turn it to catch the days prevailing winds. I also like the idea that you can put a sleeve into the ground and can then remove the clothesline to mow or at the end of the year for storage. The sleeve would sit far enough into the ground so that my mower could easily go over the top of it without it catching the blade. Not having something to weed eat around was a plus.
Seems these clotheslines can also be put in a 5 gallon bucket with the sleeve encased in concrete. Being able to move it around is a plus to this idea, but I would have to make sure it would not tip over fully loaded down with clothes. Need to think this option through as I am short and do not want to have to cut the bottom off to reach the lines. Still nice to have some options for setting it up.
I was a bit amazed at the price range of this type of clothes line. I found some well over $100. As much as I like to save and get quality rather than get cheap and have to buy again.. this was a bit more than I wanted to spend. I did find a parallel clothesline that I think will be fine for the small amount of laundry I do every week. At $64 the price seems reasonable and it can be delivered to my door.
Another option I found and want to look into is pulleys. I think I could run something like this from the house and into a nearby Mesquite tree. But I need to see how sturdy the branch is and determine if I can reach and install the pulley where I would want it to go. I also need to research and see if that single hook holding the pulley shown in in the photo is enough to hold loads of laundry. I would be anchoring one end into my house like this and don’t want it to pull loose with a few loads of clothes hanging on it.
What ever I decide to do I know I am going to get something up and take advantage of Mother Nature to dry my clothes. With the mild winters we have in Texas I think I am going to be able to dry clothes even through most of the winter months. I think the only time I will be using my dryer is when it rains or is bitter cold. Though drying clothes outside a bit old fashioned for most today, saving money never goes out of style. So going forward I am going to have both my clothes and my electric bill blowing in the wind.