Saturday, May 31, 2008

Clothesline Challenge

Browsing through some blog rolls, I came across Gift of Green's Clothesline Challenge, in which bloggers pledge to hang dry their clothes for the months of May, June and July. There's even levels you can pledge to to make it easier. The novice pledges to dry 10% of its wet laundry on a clothesline; intermediate dries 50% of its laundry on a clothesline; and advanced dries 90% of their clothes on a clothesline.
This challenge was made for me. I call my blog "The Clothesline" in part because hanging my clothes out to dry represents my commitment to taking care of our environment. Here is what the web site Tree Hugger has to say about how dryers harm the environment: "There are upwards of 88 million dryers in the U.S. alone, each emitting in excess of 1 ton of carbon dioxide per year. More than that, dryers consume approximately 6% of the total household electricity usage, adding up to nearly $100 in energy costs every year for most of us. The solution? Hang your laundry out to dry."
Pretty scary figures, but how do those numbers translate into day-to-day life? I have to say, there are a lot of environmental changes that I can't make for various reasons. I can't afford to buy energy efficient windows for my house, let alone solar panels and a gray watering system. I also can't give up my car, dish washer, computer or washing machine. But last year, on a whim, I started hanging my laundry out to dry, and I soon realized what a no-brainer this was to do.
I live in suburban Colorado, along the Front Range. Summers here get really hot--up to 95 degrees with little rain. Last summer, my husband suggested we hang our clothes out to dry. As a mom of two boys, I was nervous because we wash A LOT of laundry. But I went ahead and hung up a load on the clothesline in our yard. To my surprise, the laundry dried in 20 minutes. The clothes were a little crunchy, but hey, these are mostly cotton casual clothes--there's no need to impress.
Soon I hung every load I washed to dry in my back yard. In the heat of the summer, I could wash and dry 3 loads, what I would usually do in a day using my dryer. At first I thought I would hang dry my clothes through August, and then switch back to the dryer. But I liked hanging my clothes up so much, I kept at it until I had to stop in late October. By that time, I could only hang one load to dry a day.
This spring, I started hanging my clothes out to dry in March, as soon as I could. Even though we had some rain and snow, there were still enough nice 60 degrees days to make hanging up clothes to dry reasonable.
After doing this for a year, I would strongly encourage as many as possible to take up the Clothesline Challenge. If you're a SAHM with a back yard, you CAN fit this environmental benefit into your day with very little effort.


Kathleen said...

Good for you. I use to do ours a lot, but have been slacking on it, i need to get a new line and then get to it again. Just watchout for that sun damage!

the mama bird diaries said...

Wow.. very interesting. I had no idea dryer emitted so much Carbon Dioxide.

Well, I live in New York City so my air drying is limited but i do actually air dry a lot of my clothes because I'm paranoid about ruining them. Now I can feel a little more eco about it. :)

Anna said...

I've been hanging my clothes for about a month and experience a strange satisfaction each time I do. I even stay up on my laundry because I derive so much pleasure from hanging them...maybe it's the ability to get a benefit from all the hot and dry sun we have down here. :)

52 Faces said...

My boyfriend is SO for this! Then again, he lives in Las Vegas, so it's pretty much one large free dryer. :D

If I only did this more often maybe I wouldn't have two shrunken dresses right now. :P

Thanks for visiting my site and reading my work. It was an off the cuff response to his comment on my last oneword post.

EatPlayLove said...

When we lived in the canyon we had a tiny dryer so I always hung our clothes out.

With our ginormous trees, there is no place to hang my clothes outside that is out of the line of fire (bird poop)..I am soooo bummed about this.

The Cole Mine said...

Wow! I actually never thought of this before but it makes sense. This is really interesting.

My Mom hung clothes when I was a kid and I always thought they smelled so good...

Thanks for the inspiration - maybe we'll invest in our own clothesline!