Pennies Saved and Pennies Earned

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Featured, Pennies Saved & Pennies Earned

Published on June 26, 2012 with No Comments

Hanging Costs Out to Dry

Laundry day is no one’s ideal way of spending some free time, but have you ever stopped to think about just how much money you’re forking over to make sure you have clean clothes?

There’s the cost of buying a washer and dryer.  Then there’s the cost of water to fill the washer and, of course, the power to run the whole cycle.  And, as of January 2011, your dryer alone can cost between $.44 and $1.32 per load, according to

But what’s the alternative? Well, for those that want to stay green and hang onto green, the answer is to go old school.

Hang drying your laundry costs you absolutely nothing except time and effort.  For those who use a Laundromat dryer, the savings are immediate since you can pay up to $1.25 per spin there.  For others who forego the use of their home dryers, they should see the savings on their electricity or gas bills.

Ask yourself just how many loads of laundry you do in a month. Now add that up in dollars. Now multiply it by twelve. How would you like to put that much money in your pocket for the next year?

Saving money is all well and good, but what do you do with your wet clothes, especially if you don’t have a backyard or a balcony for fresh air drying? Well, there are a couple of different ways you can go about the drying process.  Depending on your resources and how much space you have, you’ll find that different solutions might work for you.

If you do have a balcony, patio, backyard or even open space in your home, string up a clothesline. Nothing’s the same as hanging up your sheets dry in a brisk, warm breeze and then locking in some of that summer sun for a rainy day. If you must dry inside, one good location is the basement.  String a line between support pillars or onto hooks that have been drilled into studs. Just be sure the line is strong enough to support the weight of the wet laundry.

If you don’t have the room for a clothesline, you could invest in a whirligig. These contraptions are made of wood and feature a number of stiff, foldout arms on which to hang the laundry. Functioning a lot like a coat tree (which is another cheap alternative that works quite well), all you have to do is set up the whirligig and then distribute the wet weight equally over the arms.

The cheapest, bargain basement way to dry laundry without investing in any additional equipment is to use hangers. Once you have your wet clothes on hangers, you can hang them almost anywhere that’s open and dry:  along the shower curtain rod, in an open closet, or even along a ridge of a support beam in the basement. No muss, no fuss and, best of all, it is completely free.

There are certain disadvantages to this process. Hanging your laundry to dry can take hours and it requires you sacrifice space for the entire whole drying time. That’s why it’s best to hang your laundry in the morning (before you leave for work) or at night (before you go to sleep).

Beside the financial benefit, air drying also has the advantage of keeping you ahead of the laundry curve, making it impossible to wait until the last minute – unless you want to sit around for a day or more in your last set of clean sweat pants, that is.  All in all though, it’s just a simple, common sense way to trim a little fat off your monthly expenditures.

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About Neal F. Litherland

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal:

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