Solar-powered dryer AKA the clothesline!
When we moved into our place, I vaguely noticed that there were clothesline posts in the yard (there was a beat up jungle gym between them). We removed the jungle gym and proceeded to work on gutting the back yard over the next year or so. I debated taking the posts out and either A) not having a clothesline… which didn’t feel very green or B) taking them out and putting in a retractable line that attached to the house. We’d always had a retractable line in the house I grew up in and I liked the idea of not having 2 posts in the middle of the yard just taking up room all the time.
But then I looked at the logistics of removing 2 posts set in concrete… after removing tree trunks and fence posts, digging more holes just didn’t seem like that much fun, so I tabled the idea for a while. When I started building beds, I realized I could put small 1′x2′ beds at the base of each post and then add trellis or something and let vines crawl up the posts. All of a sudden the eye sores had become useful! Plus 1 point for clotheslines (or at least the infrastructure). In April I added beds and planted cucumbers, zucchini, and squash and am planning on adding climbing material soon (now that the plants are getting bigger).
The beginning of June I finally(!!!) concluded that maybe I should at least TRY stringing clothesline rope in between the posts… Yes, it took me that long to decide that they might be useful for what they were built for. If I hated having the string out there all the time, I would be out $7 and could always get my expensive retractable line later.
So I tried it… my sheets and clothes are AWESOME! I’ve run my dryer ONCE this month, and that was only because we had lots of rain and I gave up waiting. Honestly I’m drying EVERYTHING on the line; towels, socks, underwear, jeans, hoodies, you name it. My husband points out that towels are kind of scratchy (as are socks), but his dress shirts are wrinkle free and smell great. I refuse to run the dryer for 2 measly towels… they can go out on the line with everything else I have to say that I get this weird sense of peace when I’m putting things on the line… it’s something you can’t rush and it’s very domestic feeling in a really nice and acceptable kind of way. I’m going to give clotheslines another 100 points for being really good at what they were built for!
I want to note that I bought some sort of poly-plastic line- it was cheap, mildew resistant and easy to work with. I have been using it multiple times a week and it stretches more than I would like; often my lines are hanging lower than I would prefer. However it unties pretty well and I just tie it back up where I want it. No big deal! Clothes pins were about $3 per 50.
While this all sounds awesome (and it is), the kicker for me was when I was out gardening last week listening to my cat yowl longingly that he wanted to come out and help. Divine intervention kept me from wanting to strangle him AND gave me the bright idea that the clothesline doubles really well as a cat tie-out. I flipped a 6′ leash over one of the lines, attached the harnessed cat and behold! Rhylan could hang out near the gardens with me, play with the dog and have a track approx 20′ long and 5′ wide to run around in without feeling too tied down or enclosed. Plus 1 million points for clotheslines being super versatile and keeping my cat happy! (I’ll make sure to get a photo the next time we’re out!)
The clothesline has become one of my favorite parts of my backyard and the cheapest, greenest, most multi-purpose appliance my house is equipped with!