We have an electric dryer in the basement, but we use it only once or twice a year. We’ve been hanging our laundry outdoors (and indoors, especially in winter) ever since our children were young 30 years ago.
Here are five reasons it makes sense to hang laundry:
1) It saves energy. Dryers use 12 percent of the electricity in a typical household. By spending just a few minutes extra, everyone can make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving the Earth as a liveable planet.
2) It saves money. A typical dryer load costs 50 cents in electricity. If you have 7.5 loads a week and pay 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, that’s an annual cost of $193.
3) Weather consciousness. Using a clothesline forces you to pay attention to not only the sun, clouds and temperature, but also the humidity and wind speed. I do that anyway because I’m a runner, bicyclist and gardener, but we enjoy speculating about when it’s laundry day.
4) A meditative experience. We enjoy going outside with a basket of washed clothes and hearing the birds and the wind in the trees and breathing fresh air. It gives us an opportunity to slow down, and be mindful of each article of clothing. It’s not an onerous burden; we almost vie for whose turn it is to hang the laundry.
5) Making a statement. What better symbol of saving energy than clothes whipping in the wind? We see them as flags declaring our support for saving the earth. It’s amazing to us that some housing developments prohibit visible clotheslines; I read that in Japan, even people in luxury apartments hang their laundry.