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The dryer quit working. Okay, so it didn’t exactly quit working. More like it made a funny clanking noise and produced a burning smell, so I purposely stopped and unplugged it so it wouldn’t burn down the house while we were sleeping.

Of course this happened on the eve of Labor Day weekend, which meant that any repair shops I’d want to call wouldn’t be open anyway. Laundry, however, doesn’t stop piling up simply because the dryer is on the fritz. A solution was in order.

This solution …

Clothes hanging on the line.

Clothes hanging on the line.

We have some heavy-duty metal clothesline poles that haven’t seen much use since we moved into the house, mostly because the clotheslines that were strung were metal and rusty, but also because Minnesota winters make it more convenient to use a clothes dryer.

I purchased some synthetic clothesline, which Hubby helped me string, and some clothespins, and we rigged up our old-fashioned clothes dryer. Love that fresh-air scent!

Until I started hanging the laundry, I had forgotten that we did this regularly when I was growing up. All throughout the summer, we’d hang clothes on the line to dry. We also had clotheslines strung up in the basement so we could hang clothes up in the winter. Dad was loathe to spend money on the clothes dryer much of the time.

There were a few other details about line-drying clothes that I had forgotten, like how the clotheslines sag under the weight of the clothing, how jeans take forever to dry, and how stiff the clothing becomes while drying. (Although on this latter point, it could have been that I used a little too much soap with my first load. The subsequent loads weren’t nearly as stiff.)

When you line-dry clothes, weather becomes of utmost concern, as does nightfall. Of course, trying to dry clothes outside when it’s raining is an effort in futility. Thankfully, it was gorgeous all weekend – perfect clothes-drying weather, sunny with a slight breeze. Nightfall is of concern for two reasons. Dew will develop overnight, hence extending the drying time, and someone might get the bright idea to swipe clothing in the darkness.

As you can see from the photo above, we strung two clotheslines. The poles allow for us to string four and I was itching to get at least one more in so I could have more than one load of laundry drying at the same time. Trouble was that those bushes you see in the pic had grown over to the clothes-drying area and we couldn’t get another line in without removing them. Also note the pile of wood below. That, too, had to be moved. Hubby and I got to work, hacking out the brush and loading it in the trailer. We removed the scrubby stuff and buckthorn all the way back to the fence line, leaving only the lilacs.

By the time we were done, we had opened up a nice section of yard and were able to move the wood pile out from under the lines. We also strung one more clothesline, which enabled Daughter to wash and hang a couple of loads of laundry. Quite the day’s work.

While I do miss the dryer, especially for its ability to remove cat hair, I like being able to hang clothing outside. I’m hoping it will save on the electric bill and I can’t wait to see how our sheets smell using this drying method.

On a related note, here is an article from MSNBC on people and industry using less electricity, which may result in lower electric bills.