Thursday, June 12, 2008

Frugal Friday: Clothesline Tips

...Hang shirts upside down. If the clothespin makes a mark, it is on the bottom of the shirt and will be tucked in, or at least not near your face.

I’ve been using a clothesline on and off for eight years. Last year was the first time I had a “real” clothesline, though. Before, we had strung clothline between two trees or between a tree and a fencepost. I prefer the real clothesline, but a makeshift clothesline is a good option, and that is what I did for so long.. Here is a picture of my empty clothesline that hubby built for me.

I wanted to share a few things I have learned about clotheslines for those that are just starting to get into this.

1. If there is a breeze, do not try to conserve clothespins. Use plenty. On a windy day, I might use three clothespins on each item. It is not fun to run around picking up items that blew off the line.

2. With clothespins, you get what you pay for. If you go with the cheap plastic clothespins, it is common for them to break, even when brand new. I have some that have lasted really well. They cost a little more, but they ended up being worth it. Hubby tells me they probably contain a UV-resistant additive. Wooden clothespins are very nice and sturdy too.

3. At first, I tried keeping my clothespins outside in a little holder that stayed on the clothesline. They quickly got dirty, so from then on, I have kept them in the house. Clothespins have to be clean.

4. Hang shirts upside down. I got this tip from the book Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. If the clothespin makes a mark, it is on the bottom of the shirt and will be tucked in, or at least not near your face. Home Comforts has a very nice section on line-drying, check it out!

5. When I bring jeans and towels in from the line, I give them few minutes tumble in the warm dryer. If they are already completely dry, I throw a damp towel in with them, or mist them with a spray bottle of water.. After 5 or 10 minutes, they are much softer, and get less complaints. Cloth diapers also benefit from a few minutes tumble.

6. Fabric softener also helps combat the stiffness.

7. Plastic-coated clothesline is easy to clean. Your clothesline will get dirty, and you don’t want that to get on your clothes. You can usually clean plastic clothesline with a damp rag.

8. Hubby doesn’t want me to hang out underwear, that is embarrassing to him, so I machine-dry it. I also throw the socks in with the load of underwear, because socks are kind of tedious to hang out.

If you are thinking about using a clothesline, but afraid to do it, I do understand. If you are worried about what people will think, consider that many of your neighbors are gone all day most weekdays, and might never see your line full of clothes. My neighborhood is so quiet, especially from about 10am to 3pm, sometimes I never see a soul. Though rare, there are some places that don’t want you to have a clothesline, so it might be worth it to check to make sure you are not breaking a (very stupid) rule. I think this will change as more people are “going green.” It may still be okay to use a folding rack or two on your back porch, and that would be an option.


  1. I grew up with a clothes line, and a washboard! And I live in San Diego, not the boonies, it was just cheaper and your clothes turn out nice.
    Thanks for commenting on my WFMW. I'm so glad you buy from Mom4Life. Heather is so sweet. She just lost a baby very late in her pregnancy and could use all of our prayers. She has a blog on her website if you want to drop her an encouraging word.

  2. These are great tips I haven't considered- I have just started using a clothesline this season, and love it.

  3. Great information, thanks!

    Also thanks for contributing some great information over at my blog. I'll definitely check those sites out.

    Thanks for visiting. :)


  4. Your clothesline is beautiful! I have a simple one, just about 12 feet long. I agree with your husband about underwear. Fortunately, my yard is fenced in and private, so no one sees--but I still feel funny about it. Thanks for the tip about the jeans and towels! I try to remember to get them off in time, but now I know what do to if they dry all the way. I've been using a little white vinegar in my rinse cycle, which seems to help, too.
    I have a friend who made me a really cute clothespin bag. If I know it is going to rain, I hook it on one of the chairs inside our gazebo, so it doesn't get wet. (It's one of those canvas and net gazebos.)
    It's funny, before my husband hung my line for me, I didn't see anything about clotheslines--and now I'm finding articles everywhere!

  5. Under things get dry in the machine too. Vinegar in the rinse cycle helps the stiffness so you wouldn't have to tumble.