Any super dry tips?

This blog is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. For more info about my book Homemade Kids click here

Using hangers to dry in a small space (off the swing) and then move straight to the wardrobe saves time.

Like buses, good ideas always seem to come in quick succession.

I’ve been trying to find ways to keep my electricity costs down (do this and you can pretty much bet it’s also good for the environment) and save me time.  Reading the amazing American environmentalist, Sandra Steingraber’s new book, Raising Elijah (more on this in another post), she suggests that using clothes hangers to dry clothes outdoors, or in, saves time.

How?
Well it means you sort the clothes as you pull them out of the washing machine so that they are dried ready to go straight into a wardrobe. This is genius. Sandra also points out that it means your family’s clothes also last longer (no spoiling by the tumble dryer) and causes you less stress (because you don’t have to struggle to match stray socks, tangled jumpers or even need to iron shirts and blouses).

Hanging up the washing is hard for small people, so they can't help as well as I'd like.

I was just thinking about doing this when I had a house guest, Chris, to stay from Australia who has two children (now almost grown up). He saw my crowded drying line and noticed my “Is it going to rain?” panics. So as a leaving gift he presented me with 20 plastic hangers that can do the drying/hanging job. He also taught me the three-shake rule – to shake out the creases before you hang the garment up – and a clever technique with clothes pegs to stop the hangers being blown off the line.

Actually I can hang clothes up fine on a washing line, but my children and partner find it hard. This technique with hangers makes it much easier for shorter and (dare I say it) kack-handed people to hang up wet clothes.

What a result.

Bye bye tumble dryer
Another good tip – now long ago adopted at Mayhem Corner – is to use a yacht dryer to dry clothes in small spaces. It’s also a good way to dry cloth nappies, marry socks, keep underwear and hankies together and the fastest way of removing 20+ items if rain does threaten. Maybe take one along as a flat warming or new baby present…

Helps ease asthma too
Sandra Steingraber even advocates drying the washing indoors at night for health benefits. Damp, warm air is much more comfortable for an asthma sufferer to breathe (like her son Elijah) than centrally-heated dried-out air. As I normally put my washing machine on in the morning and then curse it for making me late (because I like to hang up the washing before leaving home), this new schedule could better suit my own timetable as well as ease my daughter Nell’s asthma symptoms.

Do you have any other clever household tips that have revolutionised a really dull task?

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5 Comments on “Any super dry tips?”

  1. Carmi Says:

    Thanks so much for including Sandra in this great post! Join us on our Facebook page dedicated to themes in Raising Elijah, plus keeping current on Sandra’s writings, speaking engagements and activities. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Raising-Elijah-by-Sandra-Steingraber/235112746509215

    • homemadekids Says:

      Carmi, thanks for this link. I’m just about to do a review of Sandra’s book on this blog. Let me know if she’s planning any UK speaking tour won’t you? I have heard her speak in London before. Best wishes, Nicola

  2. Matt Says:

    We have a fixed a cheap gazebo to the decking to cover our rotary washing line so that during the UK “summer” we don’t have to rush out every time the weather looks changeable …

  3. nicola baird Says:

    Some comments from my Facebook page

    Penny: We use the airing cupboard and have constructed lots of hanging planks – when the hot water boiler comes on, it dries the clothes.In our new place we have one of those amazing wooden drying racks on a pulley over the bath.

    Roger: I agree but I do miss our tumble dryer (which broke about three months ago) especially during those fortnights when the drizzle comes rolling in off the sea day after day.

    Diana: Never had a tumble dryer but love my pulley. Gets things dry and the finished off in airing cupboard.

    Caroline: Grew up with a huge airing cupboard and a pulley above the washing machine.
    Btw has anyone done any research on energy used ironing (say work clothes) against that used tumbling, shaking & folding?


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