Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Let it all hang out

Happy people clothespinsNo, I'm not talking about going commando, I'm talking about National Hanging Out Day on April 19th. Promoted by Project Laundry List, NHOD is an effort to get people to hang their clothes out on a line rather than using their clothes dryers.

For some, hanging laundry out to dry poses a big challenge. Clotheslines are banned or restricted by many of the roughly 300,000 homeowners’ associations that set rules for about 60 million people. The very act of hanging clothes out to dry becomes one of subversion, with people sneaking around in their yards and trying to hide their illicit lines. It's really a pity when you look at some stats:

  • Electric dryers use five to ten percent of residential electricity in the United States
  • There are 88 million dryers in America, and if everyone converted to lines 1/2 the year it could reduce residential output of CO2 by 3.3%.
  • Clothes last longer when air dried
  • Indoor racks can humidify your home in dry winter weather
  • Clothes dryer fires account for about 15,600 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries annually



    For those of you who don't believe you have enough space to dry your clothes inside, consider the fact that very few Parisians and Europeans living in densely populated cities rely on clothes dryers - they line dry their clothes.
  • 60 comments:

    Robj98168 said...

    I have a great clothes line here-I am ashamed to say it doesn't get used- I just don't have the time to line dry my clothes. I work the 2nd shift, and being Seattle the weather does not always cooperate.

    Plus add to the fact the last time I lined dried clothes, a flock of Crunchy's cousins flew by and pooped on them!

    Mud Mama said...

    The weather is my issue too. I live in the Maritimes so the weather can turn on a dime and we spend a lot of time being *clammy*. I started off drying on a rack in here this winter but our house felt so damp with it (2 kids using diapers means DAILY laundry!)I was running the furnace more often (we heat with a woodstove and an oil furnace), seemed less economical than using the dryer!

    One of our "buy nothing in April" challenges is to find a pole for our super duper line outside! Until we get that up all I have is a rack in the backyard on nice days.

    Kimberly said...

    I try to use the my line as often as possible year round. But I found that it does get used alot in the winter due to weather and insode space issues. I live in an older house and I'm considering finding a way to duct the exhaust back into the basement which will help heat the first floor.
    I grew up line drying. My gramdma's line was really long and Grandpa notched 10 ft bean poles for her to use to get the lines up high enough so the sheets and such wouldn't drag on the ground.
    I love the smell of stuff dried outside but City Boy husband still complains on occasion when he forgets to take the towels off and they become a little stiff. My response is they'll make great exfolants!

    Burbanmom said...

    Very little space needed! I have a family of four and line dry everything but socks and undies inside using one drying rack, one mini retractable clothes line (fits over the washer and dryer) and the backs of my kitchen chairs. Fits two full loads, I kid you not!

    The Green Panther said...

    I chose "clothes dryer" but I also line dry some items inside.

    My mother and grandmother line-dried all our clothes outside, summer or winter. During autumn I always smelled like smoke from forest fires!

    kadnkadnk said...

    We just moved to a small apartment until our new cohousing house is built and don't have a clothes dryer, so we rack-dry inside on rainy days and line-dry outside on sunny ones. I'm finding I have to pay attention to the weather forecast a lot more because cloth diapers don't dry well inside and bedsheets don't fit on the inside racks, so those are reserved for sunny days!

    Fortunately my landlord is my best friend and is very willing to let me have a clothesline outside. We're planning on getting a dryer in cohousing to use for diapers and bedsheets in the winter but hope to keep with the line and rack drying as much as we can.

    Mazzajo said...

    Also: clothes hung outside in the breeze and sunshine SMELL so much better!

    Living in Australia, I have no need for a dryer - everything dries outside pretty much all year round. And I don't live in a particularly warm area either. We have indoor racks for the wetter months, but still hang out sheets etc outside in winter.

    I remember seeing tiny apartments in Europe which had indoor racks which folded down from the wall in the bathrooms - really good use of space, assuming the bathroom wasn't too humid.

    MamaBird said...

    We live in a row house - and could do a line over our back patio if we didn't have several trees + pollen/bird issues. I dry some stuff on a small rack and over curtain rods/in the bathroom but most goes through the dryer. My grandmother never got a dryer at all -- she hand ironed her sheet and towels until she died in her late 90s.

    DramaMama said...

    I voted for out in the summer and in the rest of the year, but I would like to add that actually I put my laundry out for spring, summer and fall. Even here in the northern Midwest, we can hang laundry out when it's sunny, windy and 40*!

    Beany said...

    I line dry inside year round. When I purchase the clothesline last year, it was at the height of the summer. But our backyard has a huge fly problem and smells terrible. So I didn't want to go out to hang any of our clothes. The clothes drying indoors does act as a humidifier in the winter and as a cooler in the summer so I'm glad I set up the line indoors.

    kssnflwr said...

    There wasn't an option to vote for both, so I picked the dryer option due to lack of space. I line dry inside some of our clothes and dry the rest. I don't line dry outside because I don't like the way the clothes smell and feel. Does anyone have any suggestions for that?
    Melissa

    maryann said...

    I line dry probably about 95% of the laundry, winter in NewEngland isn't ideal for outside so most goes in the basement. I do have to confess the undies, socks, and small items do go in the dryer and I do need to run it in the winter to get the final bit of dampness out of the clothes but that's after trying to remove as much moisture as possible. Mostly I'm too cheap to pay for the electric bill.

    LisaZ said...

    Oh my goodness, sinking into bed at night with freshly line-dried-outdoors sheets is one of the best treats I can think of! Both my grandma and my mom always line-dried sheets and many clothes. When I was a kid and we moved to suburban Minneapolis in 1978, one of the first things my mom did was have heavy-duty clotheslines installed in the back yard.

    I think she, like me, also loved to be out there hanging clothes out under an open sky. I find it so relaxing. I'm very picky about how things are hung, too, just like the women before me. In the book, _Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House_, author Cheryl Mendelson describes well the "proper" methods for line drying items. Of course, no one needs to be this anal about it, but I love to be!

    Right now, in Minnesota, I line dry outside in the spring, summer and fall. Then when the snow hits I move to two indoor drying racks in the basement--one small for smaller items and one large old one. I can do two loads at a time, usually. It works well. I always give the clothes a good shake, shake, shake before putting them on either the line or the rack, to get out wrinkles. That way I don't use a dryer at all.

    Abby said...

    I can't wait until I move to Egypt, so that I can line dry outside all year without worrying about rain or snow!

    I am definitely getting clothesline this year to line dry for the summer/fall.

    Joyce said...

    I just had a funny conversation about line drying with some older ladies. They said they were taught to always hang the "unmentionables" on the inside two lines of their four lines outside, so the neighbors couldn't see them!

    The Simpleton said...

    I too voted for summer only, clothes dryer rest of the time, although it's really the opposite: it's too humid in the summer to line-dry inside or outside. Spring and fall, clothes go on the line outside; on either edge of winter, they dry on the rack, but in the dead of winter (laziness) and all through the summer (humidity) they're in the dryer, although I'm a big fan of the "less dry" setting.

    That's probably way more than you wanted to know.

    I'll leave you who live in clothesline-fascist neighborhoods with this thought. A friend who lives in France part of the year sent me pictures of their town's arrangement. Each building (housing separate flats) has a communal drying area under the eaves of the house, in an attic-like place that's open to the air. No pesky laundry showing from the outside!

    S.N. said...

    I voted for lack of space- We use a dryer most of the time, but we just moved to a larger apartment so I am hoping that we can dry inside on a rack more often since we dont have access to an outdoor space for drying. I will admit to being afraid of carting wet clothes from the laundromat to our apartment- it is a long walk for something that becomes so heavy. I think thats the reason I never see line drying here (nyc). Lack of space and having to cart heavy wet things home. In many years once we purchase a home I am determined to have a huge outdoor line.

    jessierose said...

    I enjoy line drying my clothes, but my mom usually uses the dryer. However, since we are all actively trying to save money, she is more on board with the clothes line. Personally, I think running the clothes dryer seems like such a waste the weather is warm.

    For those who dislike the stiffer clothes, you may want to try laundry softener. I don't which options would be the most natural though

    Anonymous said...

    We line dry outdoors in warm weather and do a combo of indoor racks and dryer in the winter. Things like blankets, towels would take too long otherwise.

    To kimberly: you can get a simple device at hardware stores to divert dryer exhaust. It's a little box with a screen on the front and a flap which you can turn to either block off the pipe leading to the outside or block the screen so the exhaust goes outside. Of course, that would only work if your dryer is in the basement :)

    I try to plan drying time for the coldest nights and that way the extra heat warms the basement to prevent freezing pipes.

    Segwyne said...

    I line dry as soon as it is warm enough that I can still feel my fingers after hanging out the wet clothes. That was about two weeks ago here in southwest New Hampshire. 7 people create just over a load of laundry a day (not counting sheets), and I have only about 36' of clothesline (holds one load when I smoosh things up close), so on rainy days and from December to March, they go in the dryer. Before I had a dryer, I hung them up in the closet on hangers, left an inch or so of space between them and turned on the fan to move the air around. We are planning to get an umbrella-style line with our money from China so that I can hang up more than one load at a time. Then I will be able to hang two loads after a rainy day.

    thingsyoudidntdo said...

    You hit on one of my biggest pet peeves - how ridiculous is it to ban clotheslines?!?!? Is the neighbours underwear so offensive or are developers simply worried that a few ratty bed sheets and towels will distract from their cookie cutter, uber-planned subdivisions? Grrrr...nothing gets my goat more!

    Luckily I live in an older development with a huge long clothesline! I dry my stuff outside all summer and once in a while over the winter, but usually I use a dryer in the winter. And just to spite al those clothesline banning people I purposely hang my sexy lingerie on the line for all my neighbours to see ;-)

    LL said...

    I'm glad you brought this up. I just tried line drying for the first time last week, and it did not work out _at all_. If there are any others out there who can advise me on the way to dry clothes in semi-tropical, inforest-like conditions, I'd appreciate it. Obviously, in my great-grandma's time, it was done, even here in South Louisiana with all the humidity and more trees than open land. How did they keep the clothes from mildewing on the line? Did it always take days to dry?

    DC said...

    Since we consistently started hanging up our laundry to dry, we've noticed that our electric bill is about $10 lower each month. If you have the time and space to do it, ditching your dryer is a great way to save electricity and money.

    II (and others living in areas of high humidity) -- if you have air conditioning and room indoors, you could try drying your clothes inside on a drying rack. If you don't have AC, you could try putting a fan in front of the clothes rack to dry them faster. A fan uses a fraction of the electricity that an electric dryer does.

    Green Bean said...

    Here are a few things I've found very helpful in line drying:

    - do a load once a day, first thing in the morning. if it's hot, i can sometimes squeeze an extra load in.

    - put your clothesline somewhere so you can enjoy the birds singing a view of the flowers, so that it becomes a time of peace and being with nature

    - it takes a little time to get used to but keep with it. last year, it was a chore. this year, it is a joy.

    Ellen said...

    I just wanted to add my part because I couldn't in the survey. My neighborhood won't let us line dry but I've been subversive for years, especially with the diapers. I don't line dry inside in the winter, and like the cloth wipes thing, why the heck don't I? Seriously, I need to turn my brain on. I don't have a line but we have a large drying rack that we use on the deck. I'm going to get it out right now!

    Rachel said...

    Line drying outisde is a priviledge I sure wish I had, but sadly big city apartments don't come with clotheslines, at least not around here (and generally not balconies either, at least not the ones I can afford). We line-dried when I was growing up, and I miss it!

    I do use the rack and dry inside, but in the summer it's so humid that the clothes (and especially the towels) don't ever get dry, so sometimes I have to resort to the dryer.

    R. M. Koske said...

    I didn't vote because I do a combo - every load gets fifteen minutes in the dryer and then gets hung up inside for the rest. (I'm in an apartment so outdoor drying isn't an option for me.)

    I use the dryer to knock the creases out of the clothes and get them started drying. It seemed like when I tried to just pull things from the washer and hang them to dry, they took forever and had all kinds of creases that had to be ironed out (even the tee shirts! I refuse to iron tee shirts!).

    Our dryer is really old and inefficient, so I should be looking for other ways to deal with it, but you do what you can.

    Sue in the Western Great Basin said...

    I've just moved to a really big (ugh!) house so room for my collapsible indoor drying rack isn't a problem. But until recently I shared a 400-square-foot house with my ex and all our laundry was line dried inside! Talk about space issues! But it worked great -- we strung a line along one wall of the bedroom (about a foot away from the wall) plus we had a similar setup in the bathroom. We rarely did more than one load at a time (on solar power, had to spread the load) but when we did, the dryer rack got brought out and set in the middle of the one (and only) available room. Fortunately it's very arid here and about a half a day was all the time needed to dry hanging stuff. We couldn't dry outdoors because it was often windy and usually dusty -- laundry ended up dirtier than before the wash! :)

    Anyway, it can be done, even in a tiny space! And stiff-towel syndrome can be cured with a couple of *snaps* -- one as it's being hung to dry, and another as it's being taken down. Same for jeans etc.

    Sue
    Western Great Basin
    http://dogslittleacre.wordpress.com

    Cheap Like Me said...

    I love to line dry!

    And Parisians probably line dry because otherwise it's hopeless. At least in my experience, when we stayed in a French apartment with a baby, the all-in-one washer/dryer took 8 hours plus to wash/dry one load of clothing!

    donna jean said...

    oh pity, I need more options to vote on this one. We use the line as long as temps are above 45-50 degrees - so thats more than just hanging out during summer only. We use the dryer otherwise though hopefully we'll be using the dryer less next year.

    Ani said...

    Well- I line-dry spring, summer and fall- and only give up when the clothes freeze stiff as a board-then I move to the indoor racks. Just started being able to line-dry outside a week or so ago- at first I had to fold the clothes over the line as the snow depth was too high but now it is much better and even the shirts will fit and not drag in the snow- we're getting there- think melt!! :-)

    ehmeelu said...

    I lived in Taiwan for four years. It's very humid, but dryers are virtually unheard of in homes. To dry clothes, everyone has bamboo poles running the length of their balcony, and just puts the clothing on hangers on the rod like in a closet. You become aware of doing laundry on less muggy days, and plan ahead so you're washing the things you want to wear a couple days (not hours!)ahead of when you want them. Of course it helps that the fabrics popular there are lighter ones that dry more quickly.

    stella said...

    I am an apartment dweller. I have six lines that run along my bathroom, over my bathtub/shower.

    I do machine dry towels, robes, sheets, and napkins. (But I only wash two towels every two weeks and robes very rarely and sheets once a month.)

    Jennifer said...

    I couldn't vote... we don't use line drying for ALLERGY reasons. My husband is very allergic to pollens, dusts, etc... he can't handle his clothes, towels, or bedding dried outside.

    kimberly said...

    for those who don't think that they can line dry due to space or weather limitations, this is what i do:

    after washing my clothes i hang everything to dry on clothes hangers (including socks and underwear) and i hang them a couple inches apart along my shower curtain. what also works is to hang a couple hangers on each doorknob in the apartment. towels and sheets go over the doors (bathroom, closets, etc) also, when i was studying in the czech republic last summer (keep in mind, the residences there are TINY communist style buildings) we hung a line across the bedroom and hung our clothes out on it. it really is do-able. it doesn't take a lot of time either... if i wash my clothes in the evening they'll all be dry by the next day. and you'd be surprised how much longer your clothes last when you don't machine dry them.

    Theresa said...

    I line dry only about 1 of 5 loads of laundry. I could do a lot better, but I'm lazy. The drying rack is in the basement, the washing machine is on the main floor and the clothes closets are upstairs - very inefficient. I really need to just suck it up and deal with having the drying rack upstairs.

    crstn85 said...

    My apartment was perfectly set up for line drying inside (inadvertently I suspect). Above the washer and dryer there are wire shelves on either side of the 'laundry closet'. I just ran a line back and forth between the shelves and I now have plenty of space to hang a load! Its a tiny space, but everything fits just fine. The only thing I use my dryer for is as a shelf to place my mesh drying rack where I spread my cloth wipes.

    Marie said...

    I do use a dryer, but it's a gas dryer, which uses much less electricity.

    The Green Panther said...

    When I think "outside the dryer" I use clothes hangers on the shower curtain rod, too.

    Anything with elastic lasts WAY longer.

    Yielded Heart said...

    I just posted about line drying/laundry here:
    http://yielded.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/laundry-matters/

    I'd say it's a great perk to have little helpers get the job done!

    Karen said...

    I'm sorry, this is going to tip my hand. I'm mechanically challenged & more crunchy than my husband and really want to line dry. I bought a line and a pulley and I just really need some instructions. Someone said I need a second pulley, but I thought I just needed a little loop on the other side. I have a big yard, two trees and it feels so close - I can't find instructions on anything I bought - or on google! anyone here done this themselves. I also have two diapers and feel we could really be doing the earth a favor if we were hanging them to dry - as well as our jammies and t-shirts (not to mention the other three people who live here)

    Melissa said...

    I don't mind the crunchy clothes, but I read that putting a bit of vinegar in the rinse cycle can help with this...haven't tried it.

    I have a wire shelf running the length of the wash closet and use binder clips I had lying around to hang the stuff from there; what doesn't fit gets hung on the shower or doorknobs.

    innercitygarden said...

    I'm nearly 30, and I haven't used a drier ever in my adult life. And yet I wear clean dry clothes, and I live in the inner city, and I've lived in several tiny apartments with no balconies. These days I have an outside line, but I find the inside racks more convenient most of the time (because I don't have to run out when it rains etc).

    Really, it's not that hard. Sometimes, horror of horrors, it means you have to watch your clothes dry in the corner of the room while you watch television or something.

    Erika said...

    I chose the closest option... Line dry outside in summer, dryer rest of year. It's partly due to weather (I live in Western Washington), and partly due to indoor drying times. In the winter, if I want to dry clothes inside or in the garage, it takes up to four days, and sometimes the clothes smell mildewey before they dry, so generally, the "heavy stuff" gets hung for a day or so, then tossed in the dryer. I must add, I heard through the grapevine last week that there might be sun on the weekend, and saved up ALL our laundry for the rumored sunny weekend and was VERY excited to hang it all on the line for the first *hot* day of the year!

    Pippi said...

    I used to line dry all our clothes in our last apartment. The drying rack fit right beside our bed and though it was a bit of a pain to get around it it was totally doable. Our new place is a basement suite, though, and even I have had a hard time finding a place to dry our clothes. It doesn't help that we have a baby and a load of diapers takes up the whole rack and in the Vancouver winter diapers take more than 24 hours to dry. I'm trying to line dry more, though, and make it work because I feel awful every time I turn on the stupid dryer.

    Katie said...

    We visited France and Scotland this fall and came back inspired about line drying. We haven't used our dryer since Sept. 1. AND - we live in a tiny apt in Tacoma - meaning we've had to get creative. But, we have never minded it and it makes the place look homey. I think its a perspective thing, once we realized the whole entire rest of the world didn't use dryers, it made our excuses seem a little less worthwhile.

    Louise said...

    I hung a small link chain across my basement and I hang my clothes on hangers and hook them into the links of the chain...That way I save steps by just taking the hangers and putting the clothes into the closet. I also have a wooden drying rack that I use for small items like sox; dishcloths; underwear, etc.
    Louise in Alberta, Canada

    Laura said...

    I have been not line dried because I have lived in a studio apartment. I am kind of making excuses there, I know. :/
    My boyfriend and I are moving into an duplex with a yard though, so I think we may have to do some civil disobedience and line dry.
    :D

    saltgirl said...

    Thankfully our porch is covered or line drying outside in Seattle could be a challenge. We just zig-zagged a line just below the roof and it works great!

    emily said...

    If you live in a humid climate, just remember that a little wind or sun can work wonders. I've never been to the Deep South, but parts of the Midwest are pretty bad, too (think 95% humidity and 90F in July). We found that it could even be 40F and humid, but with either sun or wind, our laundry would dry outside on the line within 6 or 8 hrs.

    While living on the Continent, I dried my clothes in a dank attic all winter long (it was a major incentive to do laundry as infrequently as humanly possible, about once per month). Sometimes it took 3 days to be sure it was dry, because cold laundry feels like wet laundry. But it never mildewed, perhaps because front-loaders tend to spin more moisture out of the laundry than top-loaders do. It helps a LOT to start out with clothes that are drier. Someone mentioned the French washing machine taking forever. I never minded that, because the front-loader really did clean things much better than any American top-loader I've ever seen (sorry). Front-loaders are also usually more efficient in both water and electricity use.

    happyhippychick said...

    Washing lines are banned? how silly!

    I have a sort of washing line in our small patio garden but it still isn't fixed up to use, something that is on my to-do list for this summer. Although it is difficult for me as I work long hours and often what starts a fine day turns into a wet one, so getting washing out is a weekend job. I do use a clothes horse indoors for as much as possible, but with little room have to dry some things in the drier. My dream is to have more space so I can have a proper line and dry things naturally

    Ashley said...

    I live in a TINY 500 sq ft apartment with my husband, no balcony. If we can line dry, anyone can!!

    We have a wooden rack and a retractable line. It saves money since we don't have a washer or dryer, plus it humidifies our apartment and is better for the environment.

    A little bit more work, but it's sooo worth it!

    Randa said...

    We don't own a dryer (got rid of the one we had years ago, because we never used it). We put everything on the outdoor clothesline in good weather (year round). When it's raining or snowing, we use our indoor rack, which my husband built. It hangs against the wall beside our wood stove (which is our sole source of heat); when we need to use it, we pull the rack parallel to the floor and attach it with a hook hanging from the ceiling. Great for humidifying the house during the winter months, in addition to saving a ton of energy!

    stella said...

    An added note--our street is on Google Street view, and we could see that the picture of our apartment building was on the day after we do laundry b/c all of our windows were filled with hanging clothes.

    People who live in apartments with no outdoor access or who live in cold climates can do this! Even if you only do half of your clothes!

    Maggie said...

    I hang dry year round in my tiny 450square foot apt. If I can do it, anyone can! And yes, it does add moisture to the place in the winter.

    I have a small apartment size washer that hooks up to the kitchen sink. When I'm on top of things, I will do a small load a night, hang the clothes on the drying rack in the kitchen and they're dry by morning. If I'm really cookin' with gas, I will do two loads at night and both will be dry by morning.

    I have asked the new landlord to replace the clothes line outside. It's one of those on a pulley running from the fire escape to a pole in the yard. This will make drying sheets, blankets etc.. much easier. When I do wash those, in particular blankets, I have to use the washer in the building and the dryer.

    The only potential issue with the outdoor clothes line is that the smokers congregate near it. But we shall see. Maybe I can convince them not to?

    On a final note, I absolutely refuse to live in a neighbourhood that bans clotheslines. There's one such neighbourhood in my city and i think it's absolutely stupid. Are people that afraid of seeing each other's laundry???

    ruralaspirations said...

    We just moved into this house last fall and it has a clothesline, so I'm planning on using it when the weather improves.

    One day when we have our own home we will have a covered verandah and then I will be able to line dry even when it rains!

    Joe said...

    I was visiting my cousin in Ireland, it was January and freezing, but it was still completely normal to line dry the wash.
    We just V-8'd ourselves, and are now getting stuff to frame dry or line dry.

    Janell said...

    Wish there'd been a half and half option in the survey. We 'hanger' dry about half our clothes from the bathroom shower rod. The remainder we machine dry on the air setting until barely damp. Will discuss with hubby about hanging a line in the backyard. Exposure to sunlight is one of the most effective ways of killing bacteria, so outside hang dries make double sense!

    Maggie said...

    Just heard good news -- the banning of clotheslines with NO LONGER be allowed in Ontario! And it's retroactive. So if you're in a neighbourhood in Ontario that bans clotheslines -- it is no more! Feel free to air your laundry in public!

    Here's an article from the Toronto Star
    http://www.thestar.com/article/415836

    Condo Blues said...

    This year I started line drying my laundry inside. I hang everything on hangers on the shower curtain rod in a tiny guest bathroom. It took 24 hours to dry one load of laundry (that's all my bath will accommodate) and added much needed moisture to my home during the winter. We're allergy sufferers so I'm interested to find if indoor line drying is going to affect us pollen-wise. I hope not.

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