Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Money in the Bank

I got to thinking today, as I was loading up my clothesline outside, about my last post on the savings from washing and ironing the clothes myself.  

In that post, I didn't add that I line dry all of our clothes and have been doing so for more than a decade.  

This site gives a pretty good formula for determining how much it costs to run the clothes dryer.  Since I don't have a clothes dryer, I will use their $0.45 per load in my calculations of what I save by line drying my clothes.

Maine has some form of precipitation on average 131 days per year with an estimated 192 days of sun.  If I estimate that I do laundry every sunny day (and I do laundry on nearly every sunny day), and also during the winter regardless of the weather, it works out to about five loads of laundry per week - which is accurate.  Sometimes, if I get the clothes in the washer early enough, I'll even have time for two loads in one day!

At an average of 257 loads of laundry per year, the savings is $115/annually, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it's $9/month and $2/week in savings.  If we're still using the $18/hour wage, it would require working a half hour per month just for the privilege of putting one's clothes in an electric clothes dryer.  

It doesn't sound like much - it's just a half hour, right?  But every hour one works takes away from other things that most people would prefer to be doing, and certainly, most folks don't *want* to do laundry, but ....

I actually find putting clothes on the line pretty meditative, and on beautiful, sunny days, like today, it's nice to be outside, in the warm sun, under that deep blue sky, hanging clothes on the line.  

And I would much rather spend 15 minutes outside, putting clothes on the line, than stuck inside an office answering phones or checking my employer's email messages.



  1. My grandmother did that to! I washed and hung out clothing at one point but there's such high pollen where I live and some of us with allergies that I just couldn't continue. Nothing like having a wet sheet covered with lots of pollen Yukko

  2. This reminds me of how I have literally put money back into our bank through line drying! It's on pause now, but the military utility program was an incentive program where those who conserved and "beat" the average use got their money back - and those who didn't conserve and used more than the average paid the difference. (The average being paid as part of our rent funds each month.) I had three years in WA and a year in AZ where I got a check in the mail or a deposit in our account with our utility refund - all because we kept the HVAC set high or low for the season, use daylight as much as possible vs lamps, and used the clothesline and drying racks instead of the electric dryer.

    I miss those checks. No word on when the program will restart, so during this multi-year pause, Housing agencies are just keeping any difference earned by those of us conserving. :(

  3. I join you in the proud tradition of air drying all of our clothes. I haven't owned a dryer in years (like 7 years now), and even then I used it sparingly. We've been renters for these past 7 years until we JUST recently bought out new home back in April. As renters, we were never allowed to install a clothes line but we did always have a back porch. On nice days I would put two large drying racks on the porch and drape larger items like sheets and towels over the railings.

    One challenge was that the days I had available to do laundry were not always the days the sun was shining, and so I'd use drying racks INSIDE my house. I also would hang up shirts on clothes hangers, which brings me to my next point!...

    I found a spot at the end of a short hallway to be the perfect width to put up a shower tension rod that I found at Goodwill for $1. I put it about 5 inches from the ceiling to allow room to get hangers up and over it, and about 8 inches from the wall in the back so the clothes had some room to hang straight. What I discovered by hanging all of our shirts on hangers was that the shirts never needed ironing, which was particularly important for my husband's job to have professional-looking clothing. Not spending irons slaving over an ironing board is a huge win for me (plus no electricity needed for the iron).

    When we bought this house, I didn't even purchase a clothes dryer at all! We only got a washer (and a basic, mid-priced energy efficient washer at that). I use that extra space meant for a dryer for pantry shelving since we do not have a pantry in this house.

    I still currently dry clothes on drying racks on our back deck on sunny days, and on drying racks inside the house on rainy days, and I simply hang shirts in our spare shower (or wherever I find a spot). I installed 8 hooks hidden cleverly under the lip of our back deck for hanging shirts-on-hangers as well, which is perfect for hanging my husband's work shirts from. I may get around to installing a clothes line or a huge umbrella-style clothes rack outside at some point, but for now this is working perfectly and I already had the clothes racks, hangers, and hooks. A penny saved is a penny earned :)