Save Energy and Money—Hang Your Laundry Out to Dry

MP900255612In this age of high speed everything it is hard to imagine how people did the most mundane tasks as little as 100 years ago. When it comes to doing laundry, we in the developed countries can’t really fathom life without access to a dryer. But folks managed. It was labor intensive, but it worked.

Why would anyone want to go back to those days? For one thing, Americans use the entire output of several power plants just on drying laundry in a machine. We could close several large nuclear plants and cut our carbon emissions substantially just by hanging our laundry. For another, on a more personal note, using a dryer is running up your utility bill. Hanging your clothes is one way to reap the benefits of solar energy without any upfront costs. Just a clothesline and some clothes pins.

There are places that frown on hanging your clothes. In some neighborhoods it is considered unsightly. If you live in a place like that, but are intrigued by the idea, maybe you can work to get enough people interested and change the rule. As the energy profile of the country changes, so will the attitudes about line drying.

So—how do you do it? I am going to assume you are washing in a machine with a spin cycle. (The washing machine is another story…)

  1. Wait for a sunny day with a breeze. The sun is more important than the wind though.
  2. Hang your line. Make sure it is far enough from the ground that nothing will drag, but low enough that you can easily reach with the pins. Make sure it is well secured between two posts, or a fence and a post, or two trees. The line should be taut.
  3. Set a bucket of clothes pins nearby.
  4. Put your wet laundry in a basket and set down near the line.
  5. Take one item at a time and secure it with two pins to the line. Make sure the item isn’t doubled over or you will have wet spots.
  6. Come back in a couple of hours and check. If you are working around the house anyhow you can take your time.
  7. Fold as usual.
  8. Enjoy the fresh scent of air dried laundry.

You may notice that your items are stiffer and less soft than when you use a dryer. They will soften up with use. And besides, this is more than made up for in freshness and savings.

Here are some links for supplies:



And—if you have no place to anchor the line try this:


Spring Cleaning is Frugal and Fun

It's Spring! Time for a Clean Sweep!

Today is the first day of spring! So what does spring cleaning have to do with frugality, and how can it possibly be fun?

Frugality is all about old-fashioned values, and requires that we maintain what we have. A little over a half century ago we were all much more affected by the natural changes that came with the seasons. Spring was a time to open up the house and sweep out all the mustiness that came with being stuck indoors all winter. Now we have advanced ways to make the indoors comfortable all year round. We control our environments with technology. We can almost ignore the seasons. But there is a natural exuberance to the spring that it would be a shame to ignore.

Our stuff may not need to be “aired out”, but it does still need to be maintained. Starting the new season by deep cleaning will prolong the life of our interiors and furniture, and create a sense of order necessary for a frugal life. Spring cleaning means knocking down the cob-webs on the outside which then knocks out the internal cob-webs.

But how can this be fun? Some of the actual work may be a pain in the neck. That is why we only do it a couple of times a year. But if you do it as a family it is a team-building, self-esteem building activity. And when you are done it is fun to see the results. So go ahead, order a pizza and get out the cleaning rags.

Here are a few things you may want to include:

  • The windows, at least the insides. Save the outsides for later if you expect more foul weather.
  • The kitchen cupboards should be emptied and wiped down. This is a good opportunity to reorganize as well.
  • The stove and refrigerator should be cleaned inside and out.
  • The furniture should be pulled back from the walls so you can clean under and behind where it usually is.
  • All rooms should be cobwebbed and dusted.
  • The carpets and drapes should be cleaned.
  • As you clean make a list of anything broken so it can be repaired.
  • The laundry room should be cleared out and scrubbed down.
  • Any other obvious messes should be cleaned up.
  • The winter things should be put away, and the summer things taken out and repaired as needed.
Just try it and see how great it feels. Happy spring, my frugalistas!!

Here is a link on frugal and green cleaning to help you get the job done:

Clean it Up-Cheap and Green

Simple Cleaning Products are Best

Most frugalistas will agree when I say that I love a clean house as much as the next person, I just don’t believe I need to break the bank getting it that way. Household cleaners are a multi-million dollar industry, but we clean and green fruaglistas would rather spare ourselves both the chemicals and the expense. Especially when the expense is not necessary to get great results.

Cleaning a house can be divided between wet jobs and dry jobs. Wet jobs are wiping down the whole bathroom, and the whole kitchen, also any floors in any room that are made of tile or linoleum. Dry jobs are dusting, vacuuming, and knocking down spider webs. Then there is the laundry.

The first line of defense for wet jobs is water. Don Aslett, author of many books on cleaning and organizing, says that just soaking the area to be cleaned for one half hour before scrubbing will help remove more dirt and cut your time in half. This is just one of the natural properties of water-it dissolves things. If the target area isn’t germy, just dirty, water is all you need. Otherwise, try adding some vinegar. Vinegar is the housecleaner’s best friend.

For windows, vinegar water on a damp rag, followed by a dry rag to polish it out works very well. Start at the top and work down. This works on mirrors as well.

In the bathroom and kitchen, toilets, sinks, and tubs should be sprinkled with non-stratch Bon Ami and then scrubbed with a sponge, and finally rinsed and then wiped with a dry rag. Floors can be cleaned with a mixture of two cups water to two ounces of vegetable based soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s) to a few drops of essential oil of your choice if desired. Use it for kitchen and bathroom counters and floors. This all-purpose mixture can also be put into a Swiffer container. A washable pad can be used on a Swiffer instead of the throw-away pad. Remember to rinse thoroughly when using this recipe. Try vacuuming floors before you scrub them. It will go much easier that way.

For dusting, all you really need is a damp cloth and a dry cloth. This goes for hardwood floors as well. As for vacuuming, it is best to by a bagless model to begin with. But, if you already have one that needs bags, try searching online for discounts on bags. I would try to list them here, but this sort of thing is a moving target. As for the spider webs, you don’t need any product at all.

This only leaves the laundry. Most of the cleaning done in a washing machine comes from the rotation action, not the detergent. Which means you can cut way down on the soap or even leave it out on light loads. Or get a laundry ball if you just don’t trust your machine to do its job. Buy your detergent at the lowest price possible in the biggest size. It really doesn’t go bad. This is one of the places where I spend the slightly higher amount for the natural product, because I use so little and the effect on the natural world is so profound. I also don’t use any bleach, because it is absolutely awful for humans and the environment. I know my laundry is clean, and I don’t need whiter whites to prove it. But, if you feel differently, chlorine is cheap. Then, hang your clothes out if the weather allows for a fresh clean smell.

So, for equipment you need a Webber, rags, sponges, a spray bottle, either a mop and bucket or a Swiffer, a laundry ball, and a vacuum cleaner. For supplies, vinegar, Bon Ami, vegetable based soap, essential oil, detergent and chlorine. And that’s all.

Here are some links to help get started: you are there look at his other books too! is a discussion of laundry balls, pro and con. I personally think they are unnecessary. on all kinds of DYI cleaning. classic.

%d bloggers like this: