Tackling The Laundry Monster: Part 2

Tackling The Laundry Monster: Part 2

It’s going on a year now since I started line-drying our laundry, and while I did a post about tackling the laundry monster back in fall, I figured it was time for an update.

Last summer, I began a serious line-drying endeavor for our family, and while I mostly enjoy it, I admit that there are times that I do not.  The fact of the matter is, the more people you have in your household, the more laundry there will be to wash.  My kids are still too little to help much, aside from sorting the laundry prior to washing, or folding and putting it away after it is dry.  I would love for nothing more than to have them all be responsible for their own clothing, but we just aren’t there yet.  We made some changes in how we do laundry, but I am still working out the kinks…

Where I left off with my first post was that our dryer was functioning again and that I was going to work on a way to figure out a way to line dry all year.  I had intended to figure out freeze-drying, but we didn’t get quite the right conditions for most of the winter, and I had taken down our laundry line outdoors and never got it back up, so even if the conditions were right, I didn’t have the right set up.  Maybe next year.

And then one day it dawned on me that I line dry certain items indoors all of the time…certain undergarments, sweaters, and large curtains or blankets or sheets, all of the time.  I felt pretty silly.  So I hung lines up for drying and propped up some odds and ends for drying racks, and I got myself up in running.  Just in time to, because my dryer died again.  This time it really does need repairs, but I had opted to just give the indoor line drying a fair shot.

My conclusion?  I don’t like line-drying indoors as much as I do outdoors.  It goes a lot slower, and it was a lot easier for laundry to pile up.  The other problem that I ran into is that, well, I have kids, and kids are messy.  Really, really messy.  Even in winter when they should have stayed fairly clean, somehow their clothing got incredibly messy.  It probably had to do with the fact that it was an unusually wet winter for us, and there was mud everywhere instead of snow.  And having kids means that they don’t always follow the rules or guidelines that mom and dad put in place.  Like…don’t play outside in the puddles, come in the house and change, go back out and play in the puddles, come in the house and change, go back outside again and play in the puddles and come back in and change again…mom may just lose her mind!

With laundry taking a good 24 hrs to dry (even with the dehumidifier running 24/7), there is no way for me to dry things quickly.  I need about 2 days notice to get the wash done for a particular item.

For the sake of those emergency washings and the kids excessive use of clothing, I may end up getting the dryer repaired in the next couple of months.  I’m actually surprised we got along without one for this long, though again, I admit that it hasn’t always been rainbows and sunshine.

Tackling The Laundry Monster: Part 2
Line Drying Laundry in the basement.

The other thing I did that helped with our laundry monster situation was to really cut back on everybody’s clothing.  This has proved to be exceptionally tricky.  There is no set rule as to how many pieces of clothing is appropriate, and certain people do better with less than others.  It appears that the younger you are, the more clothing you need.  Between dirt stains and food stains and potty training accidents, they always need fresh clothes.

Yes, we’re still dealing with potty training.  It hasn’t been fun.  Doodles may just be the most aggravating potty trainee in the world.  I look forward to him being done.  We have been doing cloth diapers for E, but seeing as they were second-hand, they have worn out quicker than a new one, and the liners are not quite as absorbent.  I now have to decide how to proceed as he is going to be one in a few days.  I think we’ll get a few new cloth diapers, but may rely on disposables for night-time, since he wakes more easily from wetness at night ever since he stopped nursing (it appears his diapers are more saturated now that he’s taking a bottle).  And just as Miss Lady is learning how to be not quite so messy, E has taken up that baton…

But the good news is that yes, you can reduce the amount of clothing your family owns, and for some of you, a lot more than you ever thought.  And if you need to save some cash, line drying will at least cut some money off of your bill (depending on how much laundry you have to wash and how often).  Not to mention it is entirely possible to line dry all year round if you are motivated and don’t have a good indoor drying source (a line by a fire place or near, but not too near a heater).  It’s harder when it’s humid out, but still possible.

So, from here on out, we will probably use a combination of line drying and electric dryer (relying on the line during the nice weather), and I know, if I ever find myself without a dryer again, I can get through this crazy thing called laundry!

What about you?  How do you deal with your family’s laundry?  Is there a laundry monster in your home, too?



  • prepper365

    We do a lot of the same, mostly line dry during nice weather, some items in the basement and using the dryer in the winter. Most of the laundry that we dry outside we also tumble in the dryer for 5 minutes or so – best of both worlds. In the long run we save a great deal of electricity, but can still bang out a quick load if needed. Keep up the great blog!

  • midlifeblogger

    I see people hanging their laundry out in the winter, but I always wondered how that worked. It seems like it would just freeze. It certainly wouldn’t be enjoyable for me. Maybe on the occasional beautiful day, but I wouldn’t want to have to do it all the time. I’m impressed by your resourcefulness and tenacity.

    • Spring Lake Homestead

      Thanks! I believe the way that the “freeze drying” works is that the water is drawn out and forms a shell on the clothing that you can crack off…though you need to be somewhat cautious about when you line dry and how you crack the ice. It is my understanding that these items may need to hang briefly indoors, or take a quick run through the dryer, though I haven’t actually tried it yet, so I’m not sure!

  • michelle

    I’m impressed, Danielle! I love line drying, but the tiny clothing pieces (which for you there are many) are so time-draining to line dry. (Not to mention I run out of clothes pins and line space!)

  • The Big Garden and Croft

    J > I know I’m going to come across a bit geeky, but actually it’s the engineer in me. Line drying (or any kind of drying) indoors is not a good idea. Firstly, drying is more about ventilation than it is of heat: and whilst you can dry without heat, you can;t dry without ventilation to remove the moisture vapour. Worse, drying indoors throws all that moisture into the air (warm indoor air holds more moisture than colder outdoors), but without it being removed quickly, that vapour seeks out anything cooler/colder and condenses on it. That may be in a corner of a little-used room, behind bookcases on an external wall (all these might give rise to mould – bad for house and health), or – worse still – within the frame of an older (not vapour-tight) timber building, risking the building. Do you have a shed in which you can rig up drying lines, where you can leave doors open to get a flow of air? In the UK, especially in urban areas and with working families, drying in a machine (nowadays usually of the eneregy-efficient condsensing and controlled by humidity sensors) has become the absolute norm – drying on a line is seen as idiosyncratic. But here in the islands the reverse is true. In the Waterboys album ‘Dream Harder’, there is a track called ‘Wonders of Lewis’ (our northern-most island), and one line mentions ‘clothes on the line’. We have here the tradition of the ‘drying green’: four poles in a square formation out on the croft (not in the garden), connected by lines, the washing well-pegged and flapping near to horizontal …

    • Spring Lake Homestead

      I had considered the possibility of mold, but I guess I hadn’t given it all of those same considerations. Typically the air inside of our homes becomes extremely dry where I live during the colder months, and this actually helps to alleviate that…though too much moisture in the air, and nothing dries at all…I suppose that’s just a few more thoughts to consider! Thanks for sharing.

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