Monday, June 8, 2009

#2 Install & Use a Clothesline

I live in a northern climate, so there will be a certain percentage of the year when it's frozen and I can't hang clothes on the line outside but I am already planning how I can remedy this to an extent for the upcoming winter.

They say it costs over $100 in electricty costs to use a gas or electric dryer each year. That's the money out of our pocket, but what about the impact it cost to create that electricity in the first place. We can't all afford to have our homes solar powered or have access to utility companies that are utilizing wind, hydro, or solar power.

But we can use solar & wind power for FREE (or almost free as the supplies pay for themselves over the year) by drying clothes outside.

About a month and half ago I purchased an umbrella clothesline at an area store during a shopping trip where I purchased many other items. I didn't need to pay shipping costs or have a shipping company make a special trip to my house to deliver the product. Granted, stores only carry limisted quantities of seasonal items, so you need to plan in advance.

In addition to the already assembled clothes line I needed to buy a bag of Quik-krete, some clothespins (buy wooden rather than plastic, they are cheaper and contain a renewable resource rather than causing more plastic to be manufactured) and I bought a clothespin bag. The clothespin bag was the splurge and not necessary since I could have found bucket around the house to use or waited until we finished the gallon of ice cream in the freezer, but I wanted the convenience of not having to bend over so much (which will be appreciated as my belly gets bigger & bigger with this pregnancy.)

My total cost for the clothesline, concrete, clothespins & bag was about $50. I expect to save about $50 this summer alone on electricity, even more if I can use it longer in the year. After this summer it will be saving me green.

My plan for the winter is to use my drying rack more. I have owned it for years, so I am sure it has already saved me the money it cost to buy it. So, drying clothes on there will be free. The other part of the plan is to install a rope & pulley clothesline in the laundry room/ back entry. I had actually purchased this a few years but had not installed it because the line would have been too short to reach between trees or house & trees & I would have had to install at least one pole in the yard. It cost me about $10 in supplies. I never gave too much thought to installing it inside until this year. So, it may only take a month of using it this winter to have that starting saving me green. And remember, I still have my clothespins & bag from outdoors which I will bring indoors for the winter.

One more thing - the sun is a natural disinfectant and naturally bleaches clothes as well. So, you save money on bleach, save your lungs from having to breathe in the toxic fumes from bleach, and save money on costs to natural resources it costs to manufacture bleach. Plus your clothes will last longer from not having bleach break down the fibers. Drying in the dryer removes more fibers and clothes repeatedly dried in a dryer wear out faster than those hung on a clothesline or allowed to airdry. 

I persoanlly don't use bleach in our house anymore. I stopped a few years ago when I had my daughter when I realized the respitory impact it had on us, as well as how it was for sensitive skin. But I will save that info for the next post.

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