I always wanted a clothes line. I have vague recollections of my mom hanging our laundry out on the clothes line in the backyard and, after seeing what our electricity bill was going to run us in Hawaii, it just made me want one more. But the town association had strict rules and it wasn't feasible to run a clothes line in the garage (if you've ever seen our garage, you'd understand why). So no clothes line for me.
Until now. I bought a super fancy-schmancy clothes line but really don't have anywhere to hang it that makes any sense. I could put it up downstairs but the laundry room and our bedrooms are upstairs so it makes no sense to haul wet clothes downstairs, let them dry, and then haul them back upstairs to put them away. Instead, I've put up a shower curtain rod in the space between the cabinet and the wall over the dryer and am using the shower curtain rod in the kids' bathroom for overflow.
I only hang-dry tops, jammies, and lightweight pants. Towels, jeans, socks, and underwear still get tossed in the dryer. Just by drying the tops, jammies, and lightweight pants, I've cut back on our dryer loads by 1/2. I'm hoping to see a corresponding drop in our electricity bill! Thankfully the dry air means that the clothes dry quickly. I'm hoping to get to the point where I can run a line outside once it warms up and start drying jeans as well. We'll see. I suspect that drying the jeans on the line should cut back on our dryer loads and take us to a 66% cutback - or drying only 1 out of every 3 loads. Works for me!
In addition, I found a 'recipe' for homemade laundry detergent on Pinterest a short while back (I LOVE Pinterest!!!) and have been anxiously waiting for my current supply of store-bought laundry detergent to run out. I ran my last load of store-bought today and celebrated by blending up a batch of homemade laundry detergent. It's pretty simple and the hardest thing was busting up the clumps of washing soda. I love the smell and I'm hoping that it doesn't irritate our poor, dry skin. If it does, I'll make another batch, swapping out the Fels-Naptha bar for a bar of Ivory soap. If my calculations are correct, the homemade stuff will cost me about $0.02/load whereas the store-bought stuff was running me about $0.25/load. We average about 8 loads per week so we're talking a little less than $2/week worth of a savings. It's not much but it's something. And, if it works as well as the store-bought stuff, WHY NOT?
And I stopped using fabric softener a while back and switched to vinegar. Originally I had started adding vinegar to the stinky loads (PTs, soccer gear, workout clothes, hiking gear, etc.) and loved how it worked! It was magic at getting rid of the mustiness that seemed to invade our washing machine and any load left in the washer for more than 3 minutes after the cycle was done. Then I read that it can be used as a softener too and that was that! I've not really used softener in over a year. I do keep dryer sheets on hand for loads that will be staticky - especially here where it is so arid and dry.
Because I had the washing soda and Borax out already, I also whipped up a batch of homemade dishwashing detergent. Easy peasy and now it sits in a Snap-Ware container under my sink, just waiting for the next load of dirty dishes. Again, it should save us about $1-$2/week - not a lot but it's still $1-$2 I didn't have in my pocket yesterday!
So now I am left to wonder when I should stop shaving my armpits and go buy a pair or two of Toms shoes. Because I've obviously crossed over in to the crunchy side of life!