Once upon a time, my daughter had a friend over to play. I had finished the laundry and it was hanging on the clothesline. The sun was bright, the breeze was just so and I was enjoying a glass of iced tea at the picnic table before starting to make lunch. I happened to overhear the conversation between the kids that went something like this:
“Does your mom have a dryer?”
“Yes, she has one.”
“Why does she dry clothes outside, then?”
“Because she likes to, I guess.”
No, I didn’t butt in with some frugal wisdom, although I thought about it! Why did I dry clothes outside? Why not?
The “why” has multiple answers.
First, I like to hang out clothes. It’s a lot more enjoyable than, say, cleaning the bathroom or dusting the bookshelf. I can hear birds sing, feel the breeze and/or the sun, see the sky and the grass and the trees and whatever else is in line of sight. Being outside and consciously looking around gets me out of the rut of chores and what is sometimes drudgery.
Secondly, hanging out clothes saves money that would have been spent on electricity or gas and that’s a definite plus for such an enjoyable chore. It’s nice to not have to listen to the dryer, too and it saves wear and tear on that appliance so it’s still there for me when I need it on occasion. The longer I can put off having to repair or replace it, the more money I save.
And then, drying clothes out on a clothesline saves clothes! Dryers heat fabric while it bounces and rubs it (not too gently) on other fabrics and the inside of the dryer. That causes a lot of wear and tear on those fabrics and it breaks fibers. I have clothes that have lasted for years with hardly any wear showing and I think it’s because they are seldom dried in a dryer.
Want more? How about saving the environment? Or keeping the house quiet? Or not having to run at the beck and call of a machine? Or not having to change loads at all? I can put the entire wash on the line and forget about it until I’m ready to bring it in.
Sure, there are those days when it’s so frigid out there that your fingers would freeze to the clothes before you got them pinned to the line or so windy that a towel could become a parachute and take off on its own. Want easy solutions to those times? You can either not do the laundry on that day or you can hang them on an inside line or clothes drying rack.
That dryer makes a really good place to pile clothes as you fold them. It’s not entirely useless!