June baby steps challenge: progress report

That’s me, hanging out laundry in our own backyard.

The baby steps challenge for June is to air dry the laundry. And as you can tell by the smile on my face, I LOVE hanging out the laundry. I’m joking. It was okay, but I’m not smiling with glee over it. That would be a little bit too much excitement over laundry. My husband is taking the photo and I’m laughing at something he said.

I was skeptical when people said they loved hanging the laundry out to dry. It reminded me of how my dad always says he doesn’t like sweets. It was more like he’s convinced himself he doesn’t like sweets. And I think I thought people who said they loved hanging out their clothes to dry were convincing themselves in this same way. But I can see how they might actually come to love the meditative, deliberate quality of it. Especially if their sheets were fresh-smelling, which I’m afraid I can’t claim.

This was really easy. My husband had the toughest part, putting up the line. Other than when it rains, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem at all. My only tiny complaint is that with just the one line, I have to do two rounds per load. So that takes a little more time and attention than just throwing it in the dryer. But we only have 3 or 4 loads a week, so I think this will be easy. I still don’t like the aesthetic, and will have to get used to taking down the line between washings.

Okay, I’m ready for my next challenge. Bring it on. I’m wrestling with an imaginary foe: “is that all you got?” I may even tackle composting next month. Leave me your thoughts about air drying the laundry in the Comments section.


  1. WilliamB says

    Composting is *so* much easier than line drying! I'll keep an eye out for when you decide to start so I can point you to my favorite learn-to-compost sites.

  2. Michele says

    I line dry whenever I can. Here in Montana, we don't have the smog problem so all our clothes come in smelling very fresh. There are a few items I never hang out though… socks and undergarments mainly. I only hang jeans and towels until they are almost dry, and finish up in the dryer so they aren't stiff.
    The air is so dry here that I can have a load of wash dried in half the time as a conventional dryer. I think that is the main reason I do it.

    I'm still curious about those strange squash things. What kind are they? I've never seen anything like them before.

  3. Amanda says

    So I have been thinking about line drying too. However, I live in a pretty windy climate and I don't know if that will be helpful or cause additional problems. I worry about dirt, pollen, etc. blowing onto my clean laundry. Any thoughts?? Thanks :)

  4. Angela says

    Hi Amanda-
    I would say just try it. That's what I'm doing- I had so many considerations, and once my husband put that line up and I got some clothespins, it was easy. I don't notice any dirt, although it's not that windy here. But you'll be able to tell.

    It's really easy- I'm actually surprised at how easy it is. good luck!

  5. Sharon says

    I've hung up laundry for years as a way to save money, but then I grew up with my Mom hanging stuff out. I too, toss jeans and towels in the dryer for a bit to "fluff" them. Also, in the fall I don't hang out sheets if the pollen count is high. And if it's really hot…in the dryer they all go!

  6. bugbear says

    Maybe you could put up another line.

    If you put a crossbar on those poles you can use them to put up 2 lines. Or, just sink a hook into a stud in that garage in the photo and use that as an anchor point for the second line, anchoring it on the other end off of your existing post.

    The retractable lines are nice but it's a lot cheaper and actually just as easy to just buy some cotton clothesline, tie loops on both ends, with one end bein a large loop adjusted to exactly the right length using a trucker's hitch, which lets you tighten the line as tight as you could want. Then when you want to hang up the laundry you literally stretch the line onto the laundry hook and you're good to go. When you're done, just coil the line up and leave it coiled on the hooks closest to your house.


  7. bugbear says

    Getting a big wooden drying rack is a great way to dry your clothes indoors, and a full laundry load only takes maybe a 4 foot by 4 foot area of floorspace dried this way. I actually prefer indoors in most cases because I don't have to worry about the weather (plus it's my preferred way in winter. Although I've seen pictures of people in Labrador with their laundry hung outside in the middle of winter!) But if it's a sunny day and I'm doing laundry I'll hang it on the line I've strung on the porch.

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