By Contributing Writer, Erin Long
When I started my natural living journey so many things seemed beyond my capacity to ever master (especially line-dry laundry!).
Make my own non-toxic cleaners?
They’ll probably make more of a mess than they cleaned.
Brew my own kombucha?
I know I’ll do it wrong and end up poisoning myself.
Can fruits and veggies?
I’ll definitely poison myself. And my family.
Line dry laundry for a family of five?
We’ll never have clean, dry clothes and the kids will injure themselves of the plethora of drying racks that will take over our home.
After several years and a steep learning curve I’ve mastered all those skills. And the one that has surprised me the most?
Line drying clothes.
I’ve been amazed at how I’ve come to enjoy this simple practice that initially seemed like a huge inconvenience.
It’s easy to line dry all our laundry during the hot summer months when it takes the same amount of time as the dryer and even though we live in a small home I’m still able to line dry part of our laundry in the winter.
Here are my seven favorite reasons for line drying laundry all year:
1. It’s great for your budget and the environment
The average cost of using your dryer in the US is $104.46 annually (source). While that’s not a lot of money, it’s money that doesn’t have to be spent on electricity.
Especially if you’re pinching pennies, line drying clothes is an easy way to save.
But even apart from the money savings, the energy savings is big. Clothes dryers are one of the biggest energy users in the home. Line drying is a simple way to make your home more green and reduce your carbon footprint.
2. It’s easy
I first started line drying laundry when my husband and I moved to Europe, a land where dryers are viewed as an unnecessary waste of precious energy.
I expected it to be a huge inconvenience and would quickly grow to resent it.
Turns out it really wasn’t a big deal.
Even in cold winter months it only took about 24 hours for thicker laundry like jeans and towels to dry and less than an hour when I could get things outside in the summer.
As our family has grown to include three kids it has become more challenging but that also has its benefits (I’ll explain in #4). Now that we’re living in the US we do have a dryer but I still line dry at least part of our laundry simply because it’s a great practice that has more positive benefits than drawbacks.
3. There are no nasty chemicals
While you don’t have to use fabric softener if you use a dryer (wool dryer balls are an awesome alternative) there’s absolutely no need for them when you line dry!
Especially in the summer, line drying gives your clothes a wonderful smell that can never be achieved by synthetic fragrances.
Nature for the win!
4. You have to stay on top of laundry
We all love the feeling when laundry baskets are under control and not spilling their contents all over the floor but that doesn’t happen often enough, does it?
You get that feeling more often when you line dry.
Because it does take more time from start to finish, you have to plan ahead and be proactive. It’s like a much needed kick in the pants. Because if you want to wear clean pants you have to get them in the wash now.
5. It’s a great chore for kids
Hanging clothes on a drying rack is a simple chore for young kids. And when they’re dry they can pull their clothes off and put them away.
Older kids can do the whole routine start to finish.
It’s a great way for kids to learn about doing laundry without the risk of them shrinking your favorite sweater.
6. It’s a mini exercise session
Do you ever wonder how our grandmas stayed trim and healthy in the days before group exercise classes?
By making line drying a part of your laundry routine you can burn a few extra calories and get muscle tone without hitting the gym. Yay!
7. It helps to slow life
In a culture that thrives on rush, busy and hustle, line drying laundry is a way to slow down.
Taking a few minutes to hang wet clothes on a rack can slow your body and mind and give you space to think.
It’s an intentional choice to pull back the reigns on a busy life and pause. And be patient.
It’s a deep breath. And you’re breathing in the wonderful smell of line dried laundry.