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Things I Love Thursday: Drying Clothes Outside


I love drying my clothes outside. It makes my little frugal heart sing. (Just like it does with chicken stock.) :) Its like getting something for nothing. (Even though my dad says there is not such thing as a free lunch.) I hang my clothes up and they get dry. And its free. I know, its not rocket science, but it makes me happy.

I have a confession to make, though. I liked just north of sunny San Diego California for three years and I never hung a load of clothes outside to dry. (Hangs head in shame.) I don’t know what I was thinking! Its perfect weather there like 350 days out of the year. It just wasn’t on my radar, though. I didn’t even think to hang them outside.

I turned over a new leaf once we got to Scotland, though. Lots of people in the UK don’t have dryers because there isn’t enough space in your home. The washer was in the kitchen and there just wasn’t a dryer. I quickly discovered that if I didn’t stay on top of my washing, it would take over the kitchen. I also discovered that if I hung more than two loads up at a time, they didn’t dry because of all the moisture in the apartment. (Although it wasn’t an issue in the winter because of the heat being on.) There was also a space issue–I barely had enough room for two loads to hang up in the house, if I hung the big stuff on hangers in the doorway.

Enter: the whirligig! Almost everyone has one of these in their back garden (a.k.a. back yard) in the UK.  If it was a nice day with a slight breeze, I could get LOADS of laundry done and dried all in one day. It was amazing. If I woke up and it was nice out, I’d immediately start some clothes in the washer and not stop washing and hanging up outside until afternoon. I like seeing my laundry pile down to almost nothing. :)  (I really must have liked it to go up and down three flights of stairs that many times in a morning!) My friend Allison wrote a blog post about the proper way to hang clothes on the line. I am not kidding when I say that I was looking at how the Scottish ladies hung clothes on the line to figure out the right way to do it. I’d never hung clothes out before and it got windy there sometimes. Surprisingly, there is actually a way to hang out different items of clothing to  help them dry faster and with fewer wrinkles.

Drying your clothes outside is good for the environment, my pocket book, and it makes my clothes smell all fresh and good. Another bonus is that the sun is great for removing stains. Whitens up my white clothes like nothing else! Besides, in the summer here, it would be the same temperature outside as it would be in my dryer. I can literally hang up my clothes in August and have them completely dry in two hours.

I have a great laundry set up here. My washer and dryer are on my screened in back porch. My whirligig is right outside the back porch door. In the back porch is three indoor clothes drying racks and a clothesline along the length of my back porch. I can hang three loads inside my back porch, which is great if there is rain in the area. No running outside to grab clothes off the line! It makes the task of doing the laundry so much nicer to have everything right where I need it. Having a whirligig here is the icing on the cake. It brings back very fond memories of my time in Scotland.

Anyone else as big of a fan of drying your clothes outside as I am ? :)

This post is linked up to TILT at The Diaper Diaries.

  1. 03/24/2011 3:15 pm

    I love the smell of clothes dried out side. Maybe I will one day live in a climate that is a little warmer and sunnier to make the process easier. I love your back porch set up… sounds perfect!

  2. Mamabellum permalink
    03/24/2011 6:19 pm

    Oh yeah, crunchy mama! I have one a lot like this that I bought for hanging the cloth diapers. I have missed it this winter; now that it’s just about spring in Indiana I will have that husband of mine haul it back out. The sun got stains out of her clothes that I wasn’t sure were ever coming out!

  3. Sarah permalink
    03/25/2011 1:45 am

    How do you prevent your clothes from not feel in stiff? I line dried a lot last summer, but my clothes always felt stiff afterward, which too away some of the appeal.

    • Kate permalink*
      03/25/2011 8:05 am

      Hi Sarah!
      I think I must’ve just gotten used to the crunchiness. :) I admit that its hard to get used to rough towels, but I like the smell of my clothes so much, I don’t mind the initial stiffness. It seems to go away after a few minutes of wearing it. If it does bother you, you could always just throw the clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes to fluff them up. It’d still be way less drying time than normal.

  4. sian permalink
    03/29/2011 10:43 pm

    Yes I love drying clothes outside – unfortunately we are not allowed to do it where we live!! Can you believe that??? Especially when for most of the year it would take two seconds to dry!! Each to his own!!

  5. 05/04/2011 4:25 pm

    Some of us don’t have the luxury of space for a whirlygig thingie. Wanted to point you to this at IKEA. It’s a great way to save $$ drying clothes and save space, too!

    • Kate permalink*
      05/12/2011 10:01 pm

      I so wish Ikea was closer! The closest one is 3 1/2 hours away. :(

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