365 Frugality Tips: Money Saved Using Clothesline

February 10, 2013

Day 41: Year of Renewed Frugality

This weekend, thanks to Snowstorm Nemo, all of my daughters’ extracurricular activities were cancelled. That meant that we could hunker down as a family.

I spent Saturday and Sunday doing laundry, while my husband made tomato sauce. He is Italian, after all, and now we have enough sauce not only for tonight’s dinner–spaghetti and meatballs; yum–but for at least three more meals during the week.

Part of my laundry routine includes hanging clothes up to dry. While I do not have a traditional clothesline, I do have multiple hooks and two long horizontal bars in my laundry room where I can put wet clothing on hangers so they can air dry year round.

When it comes to frugality tips and using a clothesline, you may think that I’m going to tell you about how much money I save by not using my dryer. Except that I do use the dryer for things like underwear, socks, and pajamas.

According to the Green America website, not using your clothes dryer saves you $100 a year in electricity costs. I imagine that if you have a gas dryer, you might save even more by saving yourself from having to use both gas and electricity.

For me, though, the real savings comes from the fact that my clothes last so much longer because I don’t use the dryer on certain items. That’s not just me talking–a long ago study showed that cotton clothing subject to repeated drying in the dryer wore out faster.

As I was hanging up my husband’s work shirts, it dawned on me that some of his shirts are four and five years old. Some are even older. We moved to this house in 2007, and I remember washing and hanging up a few of those shirts in my old house.

It’s not like we buy one brand of dress shirt, and it outlasts all others. His work shirts range from mid-level (L.L. Bean and Lands’ End) to pricey (Brooks Brothers and Jos. A Bank). Don’t worry–most were purchased with gift cards he’d received for birthdays or Christmas.

Regardless of how they were purchased, though, the fact is the shirts have lasted for years. To put that in perspective, we moved to this house when my eldest daughter was in sixth grade. She is graduating high school this year. So some of those shirts have lasted longer than my daughter was in middle and high school. I think that’s pretty amazing.

Today was a terrific reminder that my habit of hanging clothes up to dry on my makeshift clothesline really does pay off–by saving us some money on electricity, to be sure, but, more importantly, by allowing us not to have to buy my husband new work clothes on a regular basis. Now that’s a testament to the money saved using clotheslines.

Tell me about how your clothesline saves you money.

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2 Responses to 365 Frugality Tips: Money Saved Using Clothesline

  1. Dee Dee on February 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Good post Leah. I too hang clothes to dry and agree that they last longer hen not subjected to all that heat and tumbling. I find that especially true for non cotton underwear as well as socks, tights, leggings and stockings. As for gas dryers, I was under the impression that they are less expensive to run than electric. Is ill have to look into that.

  2. Gina on February 11, 2013 at 12:01 am

    I am always looking for more ways to be frugal and eco-friendly. Save money, save the environment. Win-win all around. Laundry is something I’m trying to do better. One thing I invested in almost two years ago is the SmartKlean laundry ball (www.smartklean.com). I have not bought traditional laundry detergent since.

    I do still use a dryer for a good chunk of my laundry. I have many hang-to-dry items, and they take up the clothesline and drying rack in my basement. To minimize use of the dryer, I put the load of colours in, but wait until I can add the load of whites, and then dry it all together. Each load is smaller, because of how much is hung to dry, so the drying time is the equivalent of one load.

    I’m hoping to get a clothes rack for outside this summer so I can take advantage of the fresh air on my clothing.

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