Airing out your laundry isn’t just for TMZ. Drying in the sun brings benefits other than saving electricity. There’s a knack to it, but like all things done for millenia but abandoned for progress, the internet can tell you how to do it.
Staking out a sunny spot to dry your wash can be easy if you happen to have existing structures to support your clothesline. For city dwellers, especially in the Mid Atlantic and Northeast where back yards are narrow and often bordered by high wooden fences, take a look around for a pair of potential clothesline anchors. Consider between the corner of a tall deck and the fence, between a pair of opposing windows with sturdy iron security bars or between a pair of tall iron staircases such as we have.
Wet clothes are heavy, so your clothesline supports need to be secure. Don’t bother tying it to that rickety wooden fence post that sways when you lean on it. If you live in a condo or a neighborhood with an association, check the bylaws before you buy your clothespins, clotheslines can be considered shabby and may not be allowed.
See the photoset above for a simple take-it-down-at-will clothesline for a busy apartment building back yard.
A Few Notes:
1. Our single line hangs a set of sheets or about a half-load of laundry (from our less-than-full-sized washer), which is fine. I’m not doing this to unplug the dryer for good, I don’t want to inflict our underpants on our apartment building.
2. I used a turnbuckle I picked up for cheap to make the clothesline easily detachable. In theory, I can take up the line slack with it but it’s tiny and have much of an impact. Any kind of sturdy carabiner or clip will work.
4. Give your laundry a shake as you take it down to knock off any hitchhiking bugs.
5. You do need clothes pins. It may drape heavily as you hang it but laundry lightens as it dries – a slight breeze will send your favorite tee off to the dirty corner of the yard (or alley). Thankfully, hardware stores, drug stores, dollar stores and Target sell clothes pins.
6. A laundry basket rules, but if you’re short on space, a clean reusable shopping bag or two works well. It gets damp from the wet laundry but you can clothespin it to the line inside-out and upside down (pinning the bottom to the line so it doesn’t catch wind like a sail and blow away). It’ll be dry before your laundry is. (For large capacity, there’s always the mega-useful Ikea bag.)
String one up and soon you’ll be singing to your clothes out on the party line.