Hanging Laundry in Winter

laundryJust because it is winter, doesn’t mean that you have to use your clothes dryer. Hanging laundry saves money by reducing your energy costs, extending the life of your dryer, and extending the life of your clothing (all that lint caught in the trap comes from the fibers that are wearing away from your clothing in the dryer–scary).

Invest in a Drying Rack

A fold-up drying rack can hold quite a few items of clothing, and will work well for items that have to be laid flat as well as those that need to stay flat to dry. Make sure that you choose a sturdy drying rack that will hold up over time and have enough surface to hold a good number of clothes.

Over-the-tub drying racks are great for small spaces. They keep drying clothes out of the way and keep anything really drippy from ruining your floors.

Get Creative with Hangers

Plastic hangers can turn almost any space into a drying room. You can hang most items on plastic hangers (wire can rust and stain clothing, and wood can break down over time when it gets wet) to dry. Even in the basement, during the winter, most clothing takes just a day. Heavier items may take a day-and-a-half to dry when hung. As long as you keep up on your laundry, the hanging clothes shouldn’t take up too much space in your home.

Want to know another nice thing about using hangers to hang your laundry? When the clothing is dry, it can go directly into your closets!

Go Outside When You Can

Pay attention to the weather forecast. As long as the temperatures are above freezing, and it isn’t raining or snowing, you can still hang your laundry outside to dry. In fact, winter winds can make quick work of it, cutting your drying time in half. Just make sure to get that laundry hung up early enough in case the temperature drops below freezing at night.

A clothesline or outdoor clothes drying rack placed close to your front or back door will be the most convenient, especially during the colder winter months.

Prioritize the Dryer

If hanging all of your laundry in the winter seems too daunting a task, set a goal of hanging up at least half of your normal laundry, and placing the other half in the dryer. In other words, run two loads of wash for every one load in the dryer. Go through your laundry and prioritize items to be hung. Delicate items, such as tights, lingerie or thin sweater should still be hung or laid flat of course. Jeans, towels and the like can go into the dryer. Alternatively, you can hang one load and place the second load in the dryer.

Use Whatever is at Hand

In a pinch, you may be able to hang some laundry on items that you already have at hand, as long as this won’t damage the laundry or the object. The back of a chair might hold a shirt to dry, tights can be thrown over the curtain bar in a shower, pants can be hung over tree limbs. Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures, right?