DIY Old-Fashioned Clothesline

Save money by drying your clothes outside with this simple DIY project.

| Fall 2017

  • Clothes drying on an outdoor homemade clothesline.
    Photo by Rebekah Sell
  • You can easily create a basic clothesline using two solid trees or posts, line, a turnbuckle, heavy-duty J-hooks, metal U-bolt clamps, and rope thimbles.
    Photo by Rebekah Sell
  • To make your investment worthwhile, use plastic coated metal cable for your line, and be sure to invest in quality clothespins made with solid wood and heavy gauge springs, which will last longer and hold better.
    Photo by Rebekah Sell
  • There's nothing quite as refreshing as bedding dried by the sun and breeze.
    Photo by Rebekah Sell

Laundry is like the mail, in the sense that you can expect some every day.

In the warmer months, rural folks often take advantage of the sun’s drying power by hanging their laundry on a clothesline. With minimal investment, you can create an easy and sustainable outdoor clothes drying option that reduces your energy footprint – and the energy bill.

Normally, laundry is hung when the sun or breeze is sufficient to dry the clothes by the end of the day. In northern climates, this can typically be done from April through October. In the South, laundry can generally be hung all year long. Be sure to pay attention to the weather, and plan your laundry days to coincide with clear skies. If a sudden storm happens to pop up before you can get the clothes off the line, they'll be fine. You'll just have to leave them a little longer to dry again.

There are many benefits of line-dried laundry. The sun is a free source of heat, and also has disinfecting qualities since it acts like bleach, killing odors. The breeze is also free, giving your clothes the fresh scent and crispness only line-dried clothes can possess. While hanging up clothes is more time-consuming than dumping a load into a dryer, it's also meditative and peaceful. I love the time I spend hanging clothes on the line. The birds sing around me, the sunshine permeates my skin and reminds me that this time is a precious gift before winter returns, and last but not least, hanging laundry saves money! Whether you have a gas or electric dryer, those machines take a lot of energy to do their job.

Before You Install

If you decide to install a clothesline, there are a few things to consider.

First, find a location that has daily access to several hours of sunlight and breeze. Next, think about the general flow of your yard. You want prime sunshine, but not if you or your family members will get ‘clotheslined’ crossing the space. If you have a tiny yard, consider a small model, or one that's retractable or can be folded up between uses.

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