This spring, armed with clothespins and a basket full of damp laundry, I braved the beautiful sunshine to save my family a bit of money. Years ago when I had more time than money I would hang all our laundry. When my arms started filling up with babies and homeschool books, I quit hanging out our laundry. Now I’m back to hanging laundry, but in a different more time efficient way.
My #1 Clothesline tip: Hang only the big stuff
Do not, I repeat, do not start hanging socks, baby clothes, or wash clothes. Put your time where it counts the most. I hang mostly Husband and my clothes, kids jeans, sheets, jackets, and other large items. If money is really tight, then by all means hang all your laundry, but if your time is precious like mine, then hang only the bulky items.
My 2nd Tip: Get good clothespins!
For years I wasted my time on clothespins that had tiny springs in them. They were always breaking and dropping the clothes on the ground. Then I upgraded and have had few problems with my new bigger spring clothespins (see the difference in the above picture?). Make sure your clothespin have a good sized spring like these.
How much do I save?
Your dryer is a huge energy hog, but even so, is hanging your laundry really worth your time? Time to bust out the calculator. Here are my real life numbers:
# of loads per week: 15
Cost of drying 1 load of laundry: $.34 – $.48
(This cost was calculated assuming I run our dryer, which uses 3.4 kilowatts per hour, at a cost of $.10 per KWH or $.14 – this is what our energy supplier charges depending on the time of use.)
# of loads hung per week: 10
(I can usually wash 3 loads per day and then hang enough to only run one load in the dryer)
Savings per week: $3.40-4.80
Time spent per week: 30 minutes
(It takes me approximately 3 minutes per load to hang and remove the laundry. Multiplied by 10 loads per week equals 30 minutes of extra work.)
Hourly Rate: $6.80 – $9.60 per hour after taxes
Savings per year: $88.40-$126.80
(Based on the “drying” season here in the Midwest, which is probably half of the year or 26 weeks.)
Is it worth it?
So is it worth my time? Hmm…. It really depends on the time of day we would use the dryer. I am not awake enough during the non peak hours to run all our laundry through the dryer, so we would definitely use some peak power if I used the electric dryer for every load.
However, I find hanging and taking down the laundry enjoyable and relaxing as long as it’s only the big stuff. If I enjoy it and it only takes 30 minutes per week, then I might just keep on doing it, even though it doesn’t quite financially pan out.
If you want to learn more about my laundry routine, you’ll enjoy my #1 tip for getting the laundry done, and here is my recipe for laundry detergent that saves our family $177 per year for 10 minutes of work (a much better return for your time investment).
So, do you hang your laundry?
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