We have six people living in this house which means LOTS of laundry. With two adults, three rough and tumble boys and a daughter who changes clothes as many times as the mood strikes her, it takes me three to four loads a day to keep from getting buried in dirty clothes. Even using the one-towel-per-week rule, if I skip a day, I'm doomed. Which means my dryer could run almost all day long.
An electric dryer uses around 4000 watts of electricity per hour. My local electric company charges me 5.12 cents per kWh(which means 5.12 cents for every 1000 watts per hour).
Excuse me while I go math-geek on you. I do have a HUGE point to make.
4 x 5.12 cents = 21 cents per hour it costs me to run my dryer.
No big deal right? Only 21 cents? That's not much. It usually takes an hour to an hour and a half for me to dry a large load of towels. No biggie. But consider this. I run my dryer for an average of 5 hours....5 days a week.
21 cents per hour x 5 hours = $1.05 per day.
$1.05 per day x 5 days = $5.25 per week.
$5.25 per week x 52 weeks = $273.oo per year.
Now we're talking. See how those pennies can accumulate? Wouldn't you like to knock $273.oo off your budget each year? That's a frugal weekend at the beach, fresh paint throughout your whole house, a huge chunk towards paying off some debt, a nice chunk in your savings account.
So how can you do it? It's as simple as a clothesline.
If you hung all of your laundry on a clothesline you would save hundreds of dollars per year. But let's be conservative. Even if you only hung half of your laundry on a clothesline you'd still save over $100. My husband always says, "Well, if you found a $100 bill laying on the street, would you pick it up?" Uh...yeah! Duh!
Consider it picked up.
I happen to have a house that came with those metal posts already cemented into the ground so all I did was go to the dollar store and for $2 I got some new nylon laundry line and strung it up. I invested in some wooden spring-hinged clothespins that have lasted me at least 10 years, through sudden rainstorms, kids playing with them, and numerous loads of laundry. (Don't buy plastic. They end up breaking every year and you have to replace them too often.) And I'm set.
If you don't have posts in your yard you can buy a reasonably priced umbrella clothesline that folds up for around $50. (see my left sidebar under "I Recommend") And if you need to dry them inside you can buy a retractable clothesline for a little under $50 (see sidebar). The retractables are so cool because they just roll right up when you're not using them and can be used in small spaces.
Don't want to spend the money? Build your own. Get creative with some dollar store nylon line and a couple of trees in the backyard. Put some hooks between your deckposts and string some line up there. String up your garage. There are a gazillion ways to do it. And for a few hundred bucks in savings, it's worth it to get creative.
Here are a few tips for air drying your clothes...
- If your clothes are going to be in direct sun, hang them inside out to avoid fading.
- Hang clothes by their seams to avoid clothespin indentations on the front of your clothing.
- Knit clothing stays soft when hung outside but towels and jeans can get stiff. My husband likes it but I don't. Before they are completely dry, throw them in the dryer for about 10 minutes to soften them up and finish drying.
- The neater you hang your clothes the less wrinkles you'll have. Don't be messy = less ironing.
- Make sure your clothesline isn't set up around pine trees or sap will get on your clothes.
- Clothes that need to be hung up after drying can just be put on a hanger to dry. It saves a step and space on your clothesline.
- Hang matching socks together with one clothespin to also save time. Make sure to hang them toe-down. They will dry faster and softer.
If you want to save even more, try homemade laundry detergent at a penny per load.
For more WFMW tips go HERE.