Dry winter air: The perfect opportunity for an eco-fix

sunEnvironment

I have a touch of spring fever already! Dreaming of warm days.

I don’t know about your house, but the air in mine is really dry this time of year.

I have my evaporative humidifier running near the bedroom so sleeping is more pleasant, though it’s too small to handle the entire house. This is the perfect time for a little environmentalism!

I line dry my clothing all year, minus those select summer days when the humidity makes it nearly impossible, and, okay, if I’m super short on time or patience I sometimes throw all those little socks and undies in the dryer. And for just a few minutes to stop stiff towels (why do they get this way?). Otherwise, always. During the winter, my house air straight-up needs this extra moisture, and clothes dry pretty quickly.

There isn’t a place to hang a large clothesline outside, so I just rigged some rope and small carabiners, which I wrap around a post on my porch railing at each end and connect back to the rope. Super easy.

A collapsible rack that I can stash behind something when not in use is great for both inside and outside, if it’s not too windy since mine tips over easily.

I also have one of those three-panel accordion room dividers, which is perfect for hanging shirts on (on hangers), or throwing a sheet or blanket over. Mine happens to have support bars across it here and there to hang things from. Thanks to my sister Jamie who saw this for $5 at a yard sale many years ago and thought I would like it!

WinterLineDryClothes

What about the shower curtain rod in your home? Is there a time of day when no one is showering that it could be used to hang wet clothing on hangers?

I’m willing to live with the slight unsightly-ness hanging clothes causes in my house, though there have been a couple of awkward moments when someone has knocked on my door and almost certainly seen my undergarments hanging behind me.

Hey, the room where the door is just happens to be the least-used thus most-convenient clothes-drying location. Consider this official notice, friends, that this is the risk you take when knocking on my door ;). Really, so what? Honestly though, in the summer, I tend to put socks and sports bras outside, but still hang the rest inside, considering my neighbors are so close.

So for times like this when I need the humidity, line drying in the house helps. It also (supposedly) extends the life of your clothing. The primary reason I do it is just to cut back on electricity consumption. Why run electricity to heat up an appliance in the summer when there’s a hot sun outside?! Toward that end, I also wear the same clothes multiple times whenever possible, saving electricity and water. There’s generally no reason I can’t wear the same shirt and pants multiple times. Some of this may be a benefit of working from home (no one else will even notice if my shirt’s a little wrinkled!). If this doesn’t work for you, consider at least rewearing the clothes you sleep in.

Apparently once a sign of pride1, many in the US see clotheslines these days in a negative light. Some cities or neighborhoods ban line drying outside for aesthetic reasons, though many states are working to stop that. If that’s the case where you live, you still have inside your house to take into consideration :). Hopefully, this view will continue to shift to one of good for the environment.

According to a 2009 government survey, 85% (74.4 million) of the households surveyed in the US put their clothes in the dryer after every load they wash2, and it’s costing us $9 billion dollars per year.3 How’s that for another reason to give it a try?

 

Additional resources:

SHOP – http://realgoods.com/wooden-clothes-dryer-rack – Drying rack made from sustainably harvested wood. Made in Maine by a generations-old family business.

SHOP – http://countrylife.lehmans.com/grandmas-pegs-make-laundry-day-a-little-greener – Recycled clothespins.

SHOP/DIY – https://www.pinterest.com/explore/clothes-drying-racks – If Pinterest is your thing for ideas, here you go.

http://laundrylist.org/about – Working toward making it hip to line dry, and to stop ordinances that make it illegal.

http://www.dryingforfreedom.com – A documentary I just discovered today!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/17/world/americas/17clothesline.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=clothesline&st=nyt&oref=slogin

http://blog.opower.com/2013/07/americas-most-unpopular-way-of-saving-energy-is-one-of-europes-favorites

http://www.sightline.org/2012/02/21/clothesline-bans-void-in-19-states

1. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/07/ditch-tumble-dryer-use-washing-line-laundry – A bit of washing history

2. http://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/data/2009/?src=%E2%80%B9%20Consumption%20%20%20%20%20%20Residential%20Energy%20Consumption%20Survey%20%28RECS%29-b2#appliances

3. http://www.nrdc.org/energy/efficient-clothes-dryers.asp

Featured image: © Chaoss | Dreamstime.com
Second image: © Sunny DiMartino