Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Save Money on Laundry by Line Drying

Laundry is my arch nemesis. I would have to say its the household chore I enjoy least. I mean, you just keep on doing it and doing it and doing it and the job never ends because there's always more laundry to be done! I rarely ever see the bottom of my laundry basket, and when I do, it lasts less than an hour. Kind of like with dishes in the sink (no wonder I strongly dislike dish washing as well!), but laundry has more parts to the task than dish washing- first sort it, then put it in the washing machine, then put it to dry, then take it out of wherever it was drying, then sort it, then fold it and put it away. Oh boy, I get tired just from thinking about it.
And it doesn't help that of all the appliances in our house, our washing machines have given us the most trouble. (We replaced our old one after it stopped working completely, and our current machine is on its last legs, constantly gets stuck mid cycle, and we have to do things to it midcycle- 4 times to be exact- to get it to continue working.)
I consider laundry to be a royal pain in the you -know-what.
Which is why, when I'm feeling lazy, or taking it easy after birth, or overwhelmed, laundry is the first thing I let slide.  And then when I do it, I try to cut corners where I can.
By using my dryer instead of line drying my laundry.

Uh... yea.
Not good.
Dryers use a ton of electricity.
But its easier to use the dryer. Especially in the winter when it often is raining outside, so I can't hang laundry on my outdoor rack, or if I do, I have to daily look at the weather forecast and check when it is supposed to rain so I can (hopefully remember to) bring it inside before it gets drenched...  Especially in a teeny tiny apartment where a folding laundry rack filled with wet clothes takes up so much of our barely existent floor space. Especially when its winter and our dryer is diverted indoors to help warm the place. (Safely, rest assured. We don't have one that releases carbon monoxide.) Especially when I have a 2.5 month old baby and my "hands are full" (even though she is such an easy baby and is content to "play by herself", she still needs to nurse and be put to sleep every so often) and I have a good excuse to be lazy...

So that's pretty much why for the last few months, I've hung up only 5 loads of laundry on the laundry rack and all the rest went into the dryer.

But its got to stop.
Food prices are going up. Rent is going up. My kids are growing, and as they grow older, require more and more money to raise them. Electricity rates are going up. I think its due time I took my own advice and switched to line drying exclusively, or at least exclusively as I can.
This post, is supposed to be my push to kick me in to gear with my line drying. (I actually hung up 2 of those 5 loads in the past 24 hours.)

And so, I share with you my reasons why using a dryer is not money smart.

Reason number one:

A four  letter word by the name of lint.

I've been collecting dryer lint. Half intentionally, half because I'm too lazy to carry the lint from the  dryer to  the garbage can every time.
Why intentionally?
So I can be reminded why using the dryer is such a bad idea.
You know what lint is? Its mostly bits of your clothing that is coming off in the dryer, each time you dry it there.
Yup, you're leaving bits of your clothes behind every single time, until eventually your clothes will wear so thin that they'll be unwearable anymore.
I sorta keep that lint collection to remind me that as that pile grows, my clothes are getting more and more ruined. Ok, and also because there actually are things you can do with your dryer lint instead of just sticking it in the trash.

Speaking of clothes becoming unwearable, that brings me to...
Reason number 2:
Your clothes got stain and they went through the wash and the stain remained. You stuck your clothes in the dryer, and you can now kiss those clothes good bye for anything other than use as a smock, because dryers set stains. When we made tie dye shirts once, we were told to put them in the dryer to set the ink.
As a mom of 3 kids (ok, and even if I weren't a mother, simply because I'm messy), lots of our clothes get dirty, potentially stained, and each time I stick clothes in the dryer, I'm making my stash of usable kids clothes grow smaller and smaller, because I'm setting stains each and every time... whereas line drying in the sun is actually an effective way to remove stains from clothes (yes, really- with the aid of lemon juice and salt).

Reason number 3:
Clothes don't always stay as they should after they've been through a cycle in the dryer. In fact, many materials get  ruined. Cotton clothes shrink after their first dryer cycle. Wool gets ruined as well. Elastic gets ruined...

Reason number 4:
Any item that heats up or cools off via electricity uses the most electricity. Water heaters, dryers, ovens, fridges, freezers, and air conditioners are the biggest electricity guzzlers. Dryers heat the clothes in addition to tumbling them around; they aren't stingy on the amount of electricity they use. Using the dryer can make your electric bill increase greatly...

The sun, on the other hand, is free to use. So long as you don't leave your clothes out there in the sun for ages and ages to get faded by the sun.

So, there you have it- 4 reasons why using a dryer is a bad idea. Hopefully enough motivation to get me to actually take my own advice and line dry my laundry from now on. Or at least when its not raining...

Do you line dry or dry in the dryer? Why do you dry your clothes in the method  that you do?
Anyone else ever saved their dryer lint to do anything with it? (I think we'll be making dryer lint paper.)

Linking up to Frugal Friday 

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