Friday, March 26, 2010

Frugal Tip Friday: Line drying your clothes

You are looking at my first load of laundry drying on the clothes line this year. I'm so excited!

Call me crazy, but I love hanging clean, wet clothes on the line. I love driving though the country and seeing someones laundry on the line. I love carrying in freshly dried clothes that smell of wind and sunshine. No bottled detergent could ever compare with that smell! And sunshine is a natural bleach for your whites and cloth diapers!

As you can see in the picture, we don't have one of those big beautiful country yards. Heck, we don't even have a "traditional" clothes line. We have what is called an "umbrella style" clothes line. We got ours at Home Depot. It is much like this one but I don't think we paid that much for it!

Anyway, whether you have a regular cloths line or an umbrella type, drying your clothes on the line can save you a good bit of money every year for just a little extra effort. You can throw your clothes in the wash before going to work. Then hang them on the line when you get home. By the time you are ready for dinner, your clothes will be dry!

I did some math on drying clothes on the line verses drying in an eclectic dryer. The price per load is taken from a book called Miserly Moms (this is their website). The book I have was copyrighted in 2001 so these numbers may be a little off but not by much. It is probably more expensive now, depending on if you have an energy efficient dryer or not.

A load of laundry costs an average of $0.70 to dry per load.
I would guess that the average family does 4 loads of laundry per week. (I do 2-3 but we are a small family still).
Here in Indiana there are about 33 weeks in the year that you can dry your clothes outside. Starting the first week of November to the second week of March is what I consider not viable for line drying due to weather.

$0.70 per load X 4 loads a week = $2.80 a week in savings
$2.80 a week X 33 weeks of possible drying= $92.40 per year in savings

$92 dollars that could be spent some where else.

At $7.50 a movie that is 12 movies that could be viewed.
At $1.50 per cup that is 61 cups of morning coffee from a fast food place.
At $4.00 a gallon that is 23 gallons of ice cream.
At $200 a month that is almost half of a car payment.
At $33.99 per adult and $29.99 per child that is 2 adults and one child admitted into Kings Island for one day for just $10.00 more!

Now, I will admit that the clothes aren't as soft as when the come out of the dryer. But there is an easy solution to that. Take the clothes off the line and pop them in the dryer for five minutes with a couple tennis balls (you can read my other blog on that if you haven't) on a low heat or no heat setting.

So whether you have a big yard or a small yard, a traditional line or an umbrella line, you can save a good bit of money every year and enjoy fresh smelling clothes!


  1. The first time I hung laundry on the line was on my honeymoon with my husband. The scent is soft and delicate- like the first steps we take in our married life.

  2. What a beautiful memory and a lovely way to look at it!

  3. It's surprising how fast the dollars add up! We live in an apartment and don't have a clothesline, but still air dry our clothes using this laundry drying rack - being round it works really nice under a ceiling fan!

  4. That is really a neat drying rack! I will have to look into one for next winter! When we lived in an apartment in Indy, we actually had a rope strung across the room from the closet rod to the computer desk in the spare bedroom. It was quite funny! But hey, it worked!