Monday Monthly Mission #3

June 1st, 2009 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift, a habit, a source of inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.


Already our third mission!?  Time, she flies . . .

Just as with our first mission, I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I don’t yet do this. But, that’s what the Triple M is for, right? So this time around it’s a return to simple and sustainable, with line-dried laundry.

As I’ve written about in the past, I air dry a lot of the laundry, draped over chairs and shoji screens and strewn about our office. But it’s time to make a total commitment. It’s time to string up a clothesline, find some wooden clothespins, and track down an indoor drying rack – all secondhand of course! June is perfect to start this project, ’cause the weather does all the work for you! I aim to be 100% dryer-free in 1 month’s time. And I’ll expect you all to hold me to it!

Do you line dry your laundry? If you do, let us in on your method and any tips you’ve picked up.

If you’re not line drying yet, do you choose to accept this Mission?


  • sarah

    speaking of laundry… i did make your laundry detergent (lavender). and it is fabulous. i have been through two batches of it now almost. the cost is more up front to buy the big friggin box of borax and such (which i boiled with sugar and water to make my own ant killer – darn pests in my kitchen no longer!) but it works great.

    line drying… hmmm… i will have to think about a plan of attack for this… logistics would be a little tough at our home…

  • Homegrown Texan

    I started line drying a couple of months ago when I realized how much my archaic dryer was killing my electric bill. Also, it’s almost dead and I’m NOT in a financial position to buy a new one right now, so I’m trying to extend it’s life so I can have it when I really need one (like for emergencies).

    I bought this drying rack at Ikea for around $20: I’d like to put up a clothesline eventually, but I’m having issues with planning my back yard (a long story) and this was relatively cheap and quick.

    I didn’t expect to switch to 100% drying outside, but I turns out that I have. This rack will hold a load of clothes. I do hang my shirts on hangers on regular closet rods that I have hanging in my laundry room. I have a handful of hangers from the store that had pants/skirts on them that I use to hang pants and sometimes semi-folded up large items (like sheets and tablecloths). I fold them up enough to make them manageable, and then hang them outside on 1 or 2 of the hangers.

    I did have to change my laundry routine. I was doing most of my laundry on the weekend. Now every night I check and if a load is full, I run it and hang it out to dry overnight so it’s ready to take down in the morning (or mid-day). I don’t like standing out in the sun to hang laundry since it’s in the 100s here, so the overnight option works great for me!

  • Cari Kaplan

    I have line dried laundry for years – there are two great types of clothes line I like. In really hot weather a pole line works great. Pole goes into ground and ‘clothesline’ is on top looking like a giant spider web. This type does not work as well in humid climes as less air circulates between the spiders webbing!

    The other is a line across a space – usually a yard-attached to a pulley at either end so you can draw your laundry in when done.

    Try to keep your wooden clothes pins out of the rain as they will rot,mold and just generally disintegrate if you don’t.

    A bag with a hangar inside to hang on the line to hold clothes pins is awesome.

  • Kirstin

    Yay for line drying!
    I am really really proud to say, I end up using my clothes dryer about once month, if that. I actually live on a third floor apartment atm, and still manage to pull this off, so I figure anyone can! I have a wooden/plastic drying rack that is very light weight so it will not take the weight of denim, but is perfect for all underclothes, cotton t-shirts, socks, etc. I should also mention that my Husband and I live in the gold old Pacific Northwest too (Tacoma!) and even when we’re not in these glorious couple of months of sunshine, our dryer still collects dust more than it runs. I move the rack into our office during inclimate weather, and drape denim over the chairs and such. Right now, with all this bizarre “sunshine”, drying laundry is even easier! The rack moves to our deck, and denim, blankets, towels, etc. get hung over the railing
    I’m so glad you posted about this! My Husband is actually Norwegian, (we’re moving there in December, eek!), and I love that Europeans (generally speaking) think of dryers as a luxury item, and tend to always always air dry their clothes…

    Also, (and sorry for the novel I’m writing you!), I tried your laundry soap recipe too! I always buy the “green” soap because I have super sensitive skin and react badly to perfumes and such, and all those other obvious reasons. I was so excited to get your recipe! I made my own bucket too, with the recipe on the lid so I wouldn’t have to search for it…all was well until I went to use it about 20 min. after I made it…and it was like cement. I guess that whole, start with the vinegar thing was something I missed. ugh. I chiseled (yes, with a hammer, it was unbelievably hard) into crumbly pieces, then added a cup of water and stuck it in my blender on “smoothie”…
    This is a true story, and I hope by sharing this embarrassment I might help any other eager darlings who maybe skipped over the instructions and jacked up their first batch too…
    Anyway, it’s totally fine now,and I’ve been using about a 1/3 of a cup or heaping 1/4 to make sure that my bit of water didn’t dilute it too much.
    Don’t hate/judge me for my error, at least I managed in the end, and LOVE the result! I should definitely get the perserverance/inventive award, right?

    No really, it turned out fine, and I LOVE it. (I used Dr. Bonner’s peppermint, yum!)

    I love your blog, talk to you later!

  • Belinda

    I line-dry! [I'm in the UK, where it is far more common]

    I’ve found it works best for me to wash the clothes the night before, hang them on the drying rack overnight and then hang them outside on the line the next day. The ‘rest-period’ overnight is just enough to dry the excess wet and makes it far easier and faster to dry the clothes on the line (which is particularly useful when the weather isn’t 100% or when your line only gets about 5 hours of direct sunshine per day, like mine).

    Good luck!

    Now I need to read back and look at that laundry soap recipe :)

  • Becks

    I don’t remember a time where I haven’t line dried. I lived on a rural farm the first 19 years of my life and it’s kind of all I’ve known. I remember not being able to figure out why all my friends’ towels weren’t crunchy all the time like ours, but that’s what you get for having all your laundry come back smelling like the outdoors and strawberries when they’re in season…

  • Jenny B.

    okay a couple of questions about this….do you notice clothes fading from the sun? Also I have a four-year-old and more laundry than I know what to do with……I think it would take me an hour just to hang all the clothes, any suggestions? thanks.

  • Staar

    WE’ve line dried for as long as I can remember. During the winter and when it’s raining we have a bunch of folding laundry racks in our basement. I find that not only does it save you money BIG time it also helps your clothing last WAY longer because your clothings elastic is not exposed to high heat. You will find that your clothing won’t pill or stretch.

  • Anne

    Growing up in Denmark I’ve also only really used the clotheslines and indoor drying rack. It was simply too expencive to use the dryer for anything but the extreme emergency. Even in the dead of winter with frost and everything we’d hang clothes out to dry off, then move it ondoors in the warmer ‘mud room’ to dry completely. Now that I live in Los Angeles the weather definately works with me, I live in an apartment but we still have 2 outdoor clotheslines, and I have a smaller rack on my balcony. Big stuff hangs out where the wind and sun will do the job, and smaller stuff (and stuff I don’t want my neighbors to see such as bras and panties!) will go on the balcony. Due to the slightly cramped space on the balcony the drying takes a bit longer.
    Jenny B: if you really want to cut down on the time it takes to hang stuff, you can use just 1 clothes pin for each item. Your clothes will dry rather wonky but it’ll be dry none the less!

  • Meghan

    I dry all of my clothes on an indoor drying rack. I live in a 6th floor apartment, and we aren’t allowed to have any clothing on our balcony, so it is 100% indoors. It gets fairly humid here in the summer, but everything still seems to dry you just fine. It takes around 24 hours, maybe a little less, on average for one washerful of clothes to dry. It costs $1.50 per load to use the dryers downstairs (usually more, since we usually had to add extra time!) so the two drying racks I bought quickly paid for themselves.

  • Sayward

    OH MY GOD you guys are amazing! What an inspiring group of people you are! And so much great advice.

    Wow, I’m just humbled. *So* proud of this little community. =)
    To answer some questions . . .

    @ Jenny B – From what I hear, clothes last a lot longer with line drying, both in terms of fading and in terms of holding their shape. Apparently, the high heat of dryers is quite damaging!
    As far as time, I think that indoor drying racks would definitely cut down on time (as opposed to outdoor lines), if you have the space. Anne’s idea seems to be good, too.

    @ Kirstin – LOVE that blender story, thank you so much for sharing! You definitely deserve a perseverance award! =D

    All of you are amazing!